BURNS’S LAWYER, the nasty blue-haired guy in glasses, was inspired by Roy Cohn, the horrible man who sent the Rosenbergs to the electric chair and defended Donald Trump. (Why couldn’t it be the other way around?)
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I’d gone to visit Chernobyl, for Simpsons research—yes, it’s their hottest tourist attraction, in every sense of the word. Afterward, I went to a park in Kiev that was filled with statues of Scrat, the Ice Age squirrel who’s always pursuing an acorn but never quite getting it. I asked a Ukrainian woman why they loved Scrat so much. She said, “He teaches children that life is hopeless.”