5

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 '16 at 16:56
  • 1
    Maybe a reference to Bumblebee Man. – cde Oct 14 '16 at 17:26
  • Or an example of tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RacistGrandma Old Timey Racism is funny (not really) – cde Oct 14 '16 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 '16 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. – SZCZERZO KŁY Mar 29 '18 at 12:29
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 This is also an outdated analogy, but it was so ingrained in my great grandmother's vocabulary that she never changed it.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 '18 at 19:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .