In episode 253 of the Simpsons TV show, "Homer vs. Dignity", Mr. Burns has Homer play a prank on Comic Book Guy wherein Homer buys a rare comic book and eats it in front of Comic Book Guy. Before the prank, Mr. Burns says:

"Look at that comic book fellow, calmly eating candy like a Spaniard."

What is the origin of Mr. Burns calling him a "Spaniard"? Was that ever a real world insult or just meant to sound like something a 100+ year old person would say?

  • 5
    I can't find any source on this, but that's hardly the only time Mr. Burns racism has been expressed in opaque, inexplicable ways. I always thought it was a running gag that his racism takes these forms that seem to come from nowhere at all.
    – Longspeak
    Oct 14, 2016 at 16:56
  • 1
    Maybe a reference to Bumblebee Man.
    – cde
    Oct 14, 2016 at 17:26
  • Or an example of tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RacistGrandma Old Timey Racism is funny (not really)
    – cde
    Oct 14, 2016 at 17:31
  • 3
    Spanish-American war c. 1898? Mr. Burns once yelled into a megaphone "I want to see less Franklin Roosevelt and more Teddy Roosevelt" while wearing a Yale sweater. I understand he was class of 1914.
    – Yorik
    Oct 14, 2016 at 19:25
  • 1
    Today I learned that "eating like a Spaniard" means eating in silence because you are focusing on food rather than on interaction with fellow consumers. I seriously googled that term. Mar 29, 2018 at 12:29

1 Answer 1


In the show, Burns is repeatedly shown to use references that are archaic and no longer understood in today's context.

This is actually quite analogous to something my great grandmother used to say:

  • He knocks so loudly [on doors] that you'd think he's German.
  • [After a loud bang] The Germans are at the door again.

She was referencing how the Nazis pounded on doors during World War II. This is also an outdated analogy, but it was so ingrained in my great grandmother's vocabulary that she never changed it.

Burns is doing the same here. He's relying on an old Spanish stereotype that people used to believe, but doesn't make sense in today's context.

This doesn't mean it's necessarily referring to a real stereotype. Senior citizens in the Simpsons have a habit of bringing up weird things about the past (think of Abe Simpson's many unbelievable stories).

  • 2
    You don't say what the stereotype is in this case.
    – sirjonsnow
    Mar 29, 2018 at 19:36

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