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Undercover Burns

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"Undercover Burns"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 32
Episode 1
Directed byBob Anderson
Written byDavid Cryan
Featured music
  • "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War
  • "Bang the Drum All Day" by Todd Rundgren
Production codeZABF19
Original air dateSeptember 27, 2020 (2020-09-27)
Guest appearance(s)
  • David Harbour as Fred Kranepool
  • Phil Rosenthal as himself
Episode features
Couch gagThe family tries to sit on the couch, but end up on the floor and it turns out that they are on a green screen Nelson is using. Nelson then says "Ha-ha, green screen".
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Way of the Dog"
Next →
"I, Carumbus"
The Simpsons (season 32)
List of The Simpsons episodes

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"Undercover Burns" is the season premiere of the thirty-second season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and the 685th episode overall. It aired in the United States on Fox on September 27, 2020.[1][2] The episode was directed by Bob Anderson,[3] and written by David Cryan.[4]

David Harbour guest-stars as Mr. Burns' undercover persona Fred and Phil Rosenthal appears as himself.[1] This is also the first episode that Alex Désert voices Carl Carlson, taking over the role from Hank Azaria.[5] The episode's title is a reference to the television franchise Undercover Boss.[6]

The episode featured Mr. Burns going undercover at his company, the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, similar to the format of Undercover Boss. It received generally positive reviews and was watched live in the United States by 4.44 million viewers.


Lisa and Bart go to the power plant with Homer for "Take Your Child to Work Day", but Mr. Burns decides to change it into "Put Your Child to Work Day". All of the children are forced to work, but Lisa escapes and confronts Mr. Burns about the use of child labor laws. Mr. Burns decides to hide in the employee restroom. While in the restroom, Mr. Burns sees unflattering graffiti on the walls, and soon realizes that his employees don't like him very much, because of his pompous ways.

Smithers decides to help a distraught Mr. Burns go undercover as a man named Fred Kranepool. During his undercover operation, Mr. Burns plans to "infiltrate and kill" disloyal employees, but ends up befriending Homer, Lenny, and Carl. Smithers becomes jealous of all the time Mr. Burns is spending more time with the employees and eventually tells Homer that Fred is actually a disguised Mr. Burns. His scheme exposed, Mr. Burns reverts to his old, tyrannical self.



The episode was written by David Cryan, who reached out to showrunner Al Jean on Twitter, asking Jean to read some scripts he had written. Cryan was hoping to be given the opportunity to submit a script for The Simpsons, but Jean was impressed enough by Cryan's scripts, particularly those for Veep and Curb Your Enthusiasm, that he invited Cryan to join the show's writing staff. However, Cryan was unable to accept the offer, because Cryan, who lives in Canada, had his United States visa application denied. So, Jean instead offered him a freelance opportunity to write an episode. Cryan chose to write an episode surrounding his favorite character of Mr. Burns, it is Cryan's first television episode.[4]

Jean released a still from the episode on September 9, 2020, on Twitter.[7] Also on September 9, 2020, Fox released eight promotional pictures from the episode.[8]


David Harbour guest-starred in the episode as Mr. Burns' undercover persona Fred and Phil Rosenthal appeared as himself.[1] Rosenthal previously portrayed TV Dad in The Simpsons Movie.[9] This is also the first episode with Alex Désert voicing Carl Carlson, taking over from Hank Azaria who voiced the character since the first season.[5] This came after the producers of the series announced that "Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters."[10]


Viewing figures[edit]

In the United States, the episode was watched live by 4.44 million viewers.[11]

Critical response[edit]

Tony Sokol with Den of Geek, said "'Undercover Burns' makes for a fun and informative season premiere episode. Mr. Burns always delivers, except on any promises he's made."[12]

Kevin Melrose with CBR, said "those longtime critics who insist The Simpsons peaked in 1993 will no doubt point to the Season 32 premiere as only the latest supporting evidence. From the green screen couch gag to its parody of Undercover Boss, a reality series that's been on the air for more than a decade, 'Undercover Burns' is hardly cutting edge. And yet, the episode still surprises."[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "(SI-3119) "Undercover Burns"". The Futon Critic. September 2, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  2. Hipes, Patrick (July 22, 2020). "Fox Sets Fall Premiere Dates For The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob's Burgers, Bless The Harts". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  3. @AlJean (January 21, 2020). "Bob Anderson" (Tweet). Retrieved August 17, 2020 – via Twitter.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Garbutt, Herb (August 16, 2020). "'Simpson, eh?' GTA man writes episode for long-running show after pitching executive producer on Twitter". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Schneider, Michael (September 24, 2020). "'The Simpsons' Season Premiere: Here's Who Took Over Carl's Voice From Hank Azaria (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  6. Snlerson, Dan (December 13, 2019). "'The Simpsons' taps Cate Blanchett, David Harbour for guest roles". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  7. @AlJean (September 9, 2020). ".@TheSimpsons Mixing season 32 premiere today!" (Tweet). Retrieved September 10, 2020 – via Twitter.
  8. "The Simpsons". FoxFlash. September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  9. "The Simpsons Movie Cast and Crew". TV Guide. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  10. Petski, Denise (June 26, 2020). "'The Simpsons' Will No Longer Have White Actors Voice Non-White Characters". Deadline. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  11. Metcalf, Mitch (September 29, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.27.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  12. Sokol, Tony (September 27, 2020). "The Simpsons Season 32 Episode 1 Review: Undercover Burns". Den of Geek. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  13. Melrose, Kevin (September 27, 2020). "The Simpsons: Mr. Burns Goes Undercover in a (Kind of Filthy) Season 32 Premiere". CBR. Retrieved September 28, 2020.

Others articles of the Topic The Simpsons : Elizabeth Taylor, Dr. Nick, Three Dreams Denied, I, Carumbus, Now Museum, Now You Don't (The Simpsons), The 7 Beer Itch, Podcast News

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