Pardon My Zinger is a television program airing on weekdays at 3:00 p.m. on Comedy Central in Springfield. The show played a major part in clearing Smithers as a suspect in the attempted murder of Mr. Burns.
At the town meeting just before Burns was shot, Smithers said that after being fired, he spent his days drinking cheap Scotch and watching Comedy Central. He added that he never missed Pardon My Zinger.
After learning of the Burns shooting, Smithers had a drunken memory of shooting someone, figured that he must have shot Burns, and went to the downtown cathedral to confess and get it off his chest. However, instead of a priest, Chief Wiggum was sitting on the other side of the confessional's screen, apparently waiting for someone to come in and admit to the shooting: "Boy, this thing works great."
When Smithers was taken to jail, Kent Brockman asked him how he felt, to which he replied, "About as low as Madonna when she found out she missed Tailhook." Sideshow Mel saw Smithers on TV, heard him quoting the Madonna line, and realized that the line was from the Pardon My Zinger episode that was being aired at the exact time that Mr. Burns was shot. This meant that Smithers must have seen that episode and therefore couldn't have shot Burns.
Mel went to the police with this information, and they talked to Smithers again. He memory now clearer, Smithers remembered that he saw the entire show -- in fact, he left the town meeting early to hurry home and watch it, when an old man (not Burns) got in his way and Smithers shot him. The man Smithers shot turned out to be Jasper Beardly. Because Smithers hit Jasper in his wooden left leg, he was unharmed -- much to Smithers' relief.
Because Mr. Burns was shot at 3 p.m., and it was solidly established that Smithers was at home watching Pardon My Zinger at the time, he was cleared as a suspect and was free to go. The police, however, remained baffled as to the identity of the shooter.
- Episode – "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)" (Mentioned)
- Episode – "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)" (Mentioned)