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Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)
Radioactive Man
Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily


This article is about the episode. For other pages, see Radioactive Man (disambiguation).
Anyway, uh, Hollywood Studio has decided to film the Radioactive Man movie here in Springfield.
Principal Skinner
My eyes! The goggles do nothing!
Rainier Wolfcastle

"Radioactive Man" is the second episode of Season 7.

Synopsis

A movie based on comic book character Radioactive Man is filmed in Springfield. Much to Bart's chagrin, the coveted part of the hero's sidekick, Fallout Boy, goes to not him, but to his best friend Milhouse.

Radioactive Man movie poster

Full Story

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Bart and Milhouse are thrilled to hear that a film version of their favorite comic book, Radioactive Man, is coming soon. Rainier Wolfcastle, the star of the McBain films, is chosen to play Radioactive Man, and even more excitingly for the Springfield Elementary School children, the production moves to their town after seeing a small poorly spelled advertisement in Variety Magazine. A search is launched for a young actor to play Radioactive Man's sidekick Fallout Boy, and Bart auditions. Bart does well, but is rejected because he is an inch too short. Bart leaves and acquires high shoes and a vertical stripe suit (among other attempts to look taller), but by this point, Milhouse has already taken the part, albeit reluctantly and his parents forced Milhouse to be an actor. Kirk and Luann immediately begin purchasing expensive objects when Milhouse becomes an actor. 
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A disappointed Bart is told by Lisa that he is still needed as a star's friend and confidant, and Bart eagerly accepts this new role. However, Milhouse finds his own job intolerable and disappears during the filming of the most expensive scene in the movie. The film is suspended while the townspeople search for Milhouse. Eventually, Bart finds him in the treehouse. Bart tells Milhouse that he'll be a hero, but Milhouse retorts that the real heroes are the people fighting heart disease and world hunger.

Bart scoffs at this, saying that those 'loser' real heroes aren't winning their fights, and to find heroes that actually accomplish something, you have to turn to action movies. Despite this and encouragement from former child star Mickey Rooney, Milhouse gives up on his acting career. Mickey Rooney tried to take over as the new Fallout Boy, but all production on the film is aborted, with the project going bankrupt thanks to price gouging and other unscrupulous conduct by the people of Springfield (i.e. Mayor Quimby inventing new taxes on the fly to take every red cent they have). Mickey Rooney scold them for doing this. However, Mayor Quimby and the others refuse to give the money back. The directors then return to Hollywood, "where people treat each other right."

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Rainier Wolfcastle says: "My eyes! The goggles do nothing!"

Behind the Laughter

Production

The episode was written by John Swartzwelder, and directed by Susie Dietter. Dietter was not a comic book fan, so she got most of her inspiration for the episode from Batman: The Animated Series.

"Radioactive Man" is the first episode of The Simpsons to be digitally colored. The task went to USAnimation, who would later animate "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular". Digital coloring would not be attempted again until Season 12's "Tennis the Menace", and again when the show permanently switched to digital coloring in Season 14 since "The Great Louse Detective".

Reception

The episode finished 51st in the ratings. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.5. It received positive reviews from critics. The authors of I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide said it reminded them of Tim Burton's "Batman" films, and that Milhouse was the perfect choice to play Fallout Boy.

Citations

Season 6 Season 7 Episodes Season 8
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)Radioactive ManHome Sweet Homediddly-Dum-DoodilyBart Sells His SoulLisa the VegetarianTreehouse of Horror VIKing-Size HomerMother SimpsonSideshow Bob's Last GleamingThe Simpsons 138th Episode SpectacularMarge Be Not ProudTeam HomerTwo Bad NeighborsScenes from the Class Struggle in SpringfieldBart the FinkLisa the IconoclastHomer the SmithersThe Day the Violence DiedA Fish Called SelmaBart on the Road22 Short Films About SpringfieldRaging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"Much Apu About NothingHomerpaloozaSummer of 4 Ft. 2