|"Mmmm... 64 slices of American cheese..."|
Mr. Burns has a dream one night - perhaps a nightmare - where he remembers his time as a young child, playing with his beloved teddy bear Bobo, when suddenly a "twisted, loveless billionaire" pulls up and offers "Happy" Burns a chance to live with him instead of his natural, seemingly poor parents. The choice is obvious, and the young lad goes off with the billionaire, leaving behind his bear, his parents and his brother George Burns.
The memory of Bobo depresses Burns in the current day, leading up to his next birthday. Homer is chosen to be a stand up comic at the mandatory party (as Burns noticed people laughing at his antics, though they were just laughing at Homer having coat hangers stuck in his back and ass). With Burns already despondent over the bear, Homer's crude attempts at a roast only anger him further. Homer gets conked on the head, and the party is violently ended.
As Marge asks Bart to get a bag of ice for Homer's head, we see the journey of Bobo the bear since Burns let him go. Melting snow allows it to access a river, and it flows right into the hands of Charles Lindbergh just before his flight over the Atlantic in 1927. Upon reaching Paris, he throws the bear in celebration, right into the hands of Adolf Hitler. In 1945, in the days leading up to his death, Hitler blames the bear for what has happened, and tosses it aside. Apparently its picked up by American forces, as in 1957 its ontop an American submarine... as it submerges near the north pole. It freezes at that point, and in
Burns makes the search for his bear public, and Homer (eventually) realizes that Maggie has possession of it. The family agrees to give the bear to Burns in exchange for some good money, but when Homer tries to take the bear from Maggie, she refuses, and starts crying once Homer succeeds in giving Burns the bear. Not willing to see Maggie so sad, Homer cancels the deal, giving Maggie Bobo back and earning Burns' wrath. After a pair of attempts to steal the bear fail miserably, Burns decides to just make Homer's life miserable. Soon, he takes control of all of Springfield's TV and prevents any alcohol from entering town in hopes to not just break Homer, but the rest of the TV-and-beer-loving town as well. Sure enough, an angry mob breaks into the Simpsons house to grab the bear for Burns but, much like Homer before them, are quickly disgusted with themselves when they realize they just stole from a baby, and give Maggie the bear back.
With that plan having failed, Burns has Smithers beg for the bear, but Homer reiterates that its Maggie's bear. Frustrated, Burns goes to Maggie herself to get the bear, being unable to rip it from Maggie's grasp. Defeated, Burns finally allows Maggie to keep it under the promise that she not lose it like he did, but in an act of kindness Maggie decides to let Burns have Bobo after all (with the family now receiving no financial reward, of course). Happy, Burns promises to never lose Bobo again, until glimpses into the far future reveal that even as a head-in-a-jar cyborg he still loses the bear every century or so.
Rosebud is yet another excellent episode in a streak of many. There were plenty of great moments in this episode, especially the bits when Burns and Smithers try to steal the bear (via a poorly readied zip line and then using suction cups in the ceiling only to be permanently stalled when Homer enters the kitchen to eat cheese all night), and that sitcom Burns and Smithers act out while Burns has control of TV. It all pans out to be another superb entry to this season.
Final Score: 9.3