|The Seemingly Never-Ending Story||
The Seemingly Never-Ending Story is the thirteenth episode of season 17. It is also an Emmy-nominated episode. The title is a take-off from the novel The Neverending Story.
On a family outing inside a cave, Homer causes a stalactite to crash into the ground, and he ends up stuck in the hole; while Marge, Bart, and Maggie look for a way out, Lisa stays behind and tells Homer a story about how she was chased by a ram and ended up in Mr. Burns' attic...where he tells the story of how he loses everything to the rich Texan and has to work his way back up from the bottom, starting at Moe's...where he discovers Moe's story of how he met the perfect woman - Mrs. Krabappel - but the only way he could afford to start a new life with her is to steal a bag of gold coins discovered by the archaeologist who would be Snake.
While the family visits a cave, Homer meddles with a very fragile stalactite, causing the whole family to fall into a hidden cavern below the main tour—Bart and the girls land on the ground while Homer is stuck in the narrow hole that brought them there, halfway out of the cavern. To pass the time, Lisa begins to tell a story.
Lisa tells how, the week before, she had been out for a walk when a big-horned goat inexplicably chased her; she rushed to the nearest shelter, Mr. Burns' mansion, The ram bursts in, and she and Mr. Burns wind up in the attic. There, Lisa finds a photo of Burns as an employee at Moe's, and he tells her the origins of it.
Mr. Burns explains that once, he had belonged to a club of rich men which had Wolfcastle and Kent in it,then one day the Rich Texan came to join. He and Burns were involved in a scavenger hunt, the winner of which would get all the possessions of the loser. Mr. Burns was unable to find the last item on the list—a picture of himself with a smiling child. Because every child was terrified of Mr. Burns (Milhouse called him the Boogeyman's grandfather and Nelson said that he was going to drink their bones), the Texan won, and Mr. Burns had to try to start from the bottom to get back to the top (again) and work at Moe's. While there, he found a note to be opened when Moe died, which leads to Moe's story of a hidden treasure.
Apparently, the summer before Mrs. Krabappel was to begin teaching, she and Moe met and fell in love, albeit without her knowing he owned a bar (she hates bar and nightclub owners since her ex-husband was a drunkard). So he threw Homer, Barney, Lenny and Carl out of his Taveran (literally). He and Edna start dating, one night the guys confront him about it later he tells them if they ruin his date he will out the one of them that is gay which makes them run in terror (unidentifiable).Scared that Edna would find out the truth about him, Moe wanted to leave Springfield with her but had no money. He then discovered that Snake—who used to be an idealistic archaeologist—had discovered a large batch of Mayan coins he was going to donate to the museum. Moe ended up stealing them, turning Snake to a life of crime. Moe was then about to leave town with Edna, but when she went into the school to explain that she was quitting, she saw Bart. (This leads to her story.) Bart explained he had all-summer detention, and felt he was a lost cause because no one believed in him. Edna declared that come the next year, when she was to teach fourth grade, she would help him to succeed, and explained this to Moe. (It turns out, however, that Bart was actually just distracting Edna while he and Nelson were stealing microscopes and computers, as he explains to Marge.) Furious, Moe insanely screams at her and drives away to his tavern, even though neither of them wants their relationship to end.
Positively depressed, Moe puts priceless coins in his jukebox, playing their love theme over and over again. Burns (here ends Moe's story) opened the bag up and gave the coins to the Texan to buy back his possesions, but the Texan demanded that Burns produce a picture of himself with a smiling child before he could get the Plant back. (The Texan, he explained, has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or perhaps just because it's the reason why he lost it in the first place thus feeling the need to complete the scavenger hunt.) End Mr. Burns' story—he explains to Lisa that he cannot get the plant back.
Just then, the goat bursts into the attic and hurts Burns, who leaps to defend Lisa; however, it turns out that it doesn't want to kill them—in its story (which lasts but a few seconds) it explains that it found Lisa's pearl necklace and was simply trying to return it. Lisa, in gratitude to Mr. Burns for his attempted rescue, takes a photo of the two together with her smiling so Burns can get his plant back. This exits to the cave scene.
Just then, Homer breaks free of the hole, and suddenly reveals that he knew about the coins before the family came to the caves. He tells a story, explaining that while in the woods (he was hiding from babysitting Maggie), he saw the Texan hide the gold coins in the cave, and brought the family so they could search for the gold, and then they would use the gold to pay for an operation for Bart. Just then, the Texan shows up (revealing to be behind them the whole time), and the gold is is found just in time for Mr. Burns (who has been hiding behind a stalactite) to take the gold, then Moe comes to take the gold back, then Snake comes to get back his gold at long last and brings his son Jeremy with him. The various parties present enter a Mexican standoff over possession of the gold, although it is really just between the Texan, Burns, and Snake because Moe brought a baseball bat as opposed to the others' guns. Marge grabs the bag and threatens to drop it down a deep pit if they don't end their standoff. When she discovers the depth of their greed, she drops it—and instantly, everyone realizes how greedy they had been, and go out to a diner at Shelbyville (as a suggestion of Snake) to volunteer as a way of atoning for their sins. (Except Burns, who attempts to climb down to get the gold.)
Suddenly, it is revealed that the whole episode has all been a story by Bart, being told to Seymour Skinner as an explanation for why he didn't have time to study for his geography test. Skinner finds this ridiculous—until he sees Moe and Edna kissing outside, meaning they've finally gotten back together. It is possible that they break up, though, because of Moe's sexual problems, and due to the fact they are never again seen together.
Lisa's Story 1
- Lisa was walking home from school when a goat came up to her. She ran to Mr. Burns' mansion and he let her in. The goat got through the window and chased them through Mr. Burns's house. They run up the stairs and go up the attic. Lisa finds out that Burns worked at Moe’s tavern.
Mr. Burns' Story 1
- Mr. Burns was a member of a club. A new member (The Rich Texan) came in and he challenged him to a duel. They both get a list of ten items. The first person to get all the items is the winner and gets all the other person’s objects. Burns went on the bus to get a picture of him with a smiling child, which backfires because the children are scared of him. The Texan wins all Burns' belongings. Then Burns started working at Moe’s as a bar boy. He wasn’t getting enough money. He later found Moe’s letter.
Moe's Story 1
- Moe was walking downtown and was hit by a bus. Edna came out and helped him. After closing the tavern, Moe and Edna plan to leave town. Edna goes to the school to tell them that she wouldn’t be teaching there in the fall.
- Edna went into the school and found Bart with detention all summer. She chooses to stay at Springfield Elementary School as a fourth grade teacher.
Moe's Story 2
- Edna tells Moe that she is staying in Springfield to teach the children. Moe gets offended at Edna and drives off.
Mr. Burns' Story 2
- Burns finishes the letter and steals the money out of the jukebox. He then goes to the Texan and gives him the money but the Texan won’t give the plant back until he gets a photo of Burns with a smiling child.
Lisa's Story 2
- The goat gets up to the attic and attacks Mr. Burns. The goat gives Lisa her pearl necklace.
The Goat's Story
- The goat was walking one day and found Lisa’s pearl necklace on a tree.
Lisa's Story 3
- Lisa gets the camera and takes a picture of her with Mr. Burns; Mr. Burns gets his plant back.
- Homer discovers that the Texan has hid the gold in the caves and brings the family with him so they can help him search for the gold to pay for an operation for Bart.
- Bart explains the story as a reason for why he didn't study for a geography test.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in 2006 for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour).
- 1st Airdate: Sunday, March 12, 2006
- 2nd Airdate: Sunday, May 21, 2006
- 3rd Airdate: Sunday, August 20, 2006
- 1st Airdate: Sunday, April 2, 2006
- 2nd Airdate: Friday, April 7, 2006 (Encore Screening)
- 3rd Airdate: Sunday, June 4, 2006
- 4th Airdate: Friday, August 4, 2006
- 5th Airdate: Wednesday, August 23, 2006
- 1st Airdate: Tuesday, July 4, 2006