A ‘Simpsons’ Writer Revealed ‘Who Shot Mr Burns?’ Could’ve Ended Differently

Twitter, as we all know, is good for only two things: Devouring other people’s drama on the TL like a $10 buffet, and drooling over behind-the-scenes titbits shared by former Simpsons writers.

Josh Weinstein, who wrote for the series during its golden era between 1992 and 1997 and served as showrunner during seasons seven and eight, is one of the more prolific sharers of good shit getting about at present, and his latest morsel of information is one of those most saliva-inducing yet.

Weinstein, along with writing parting Bill Oakley, were the brains behind the legendary Who Shot Mr. Burns? double episode that served as a cliffhanger between seasons six and seven.

But while we all know that the bastard culprit who shot an innocent octogenarian was Maggie Simpson, the criminal baby, it turns out that the episode could’ve ended very, very differently.

Weinstein shared the original pitch document for the episode on Twitter earlier today, which revealed that in the episode’s very early stages, they had someone else in mind for the role of attempted murderer: Barney.

There it is, sports fans. In the original story notes from 1994, Weinstein and Oakley considered that the gunman “could be Barney, who has been driven to madness by the imminent destruction of Moe’s bar,” and that “maybe he could be sent to jail for a short period of time for attempted murder,” which definitely puts a much darker spin on Springfield’s usual proceedings.

Would a stint in Springfield Penitentiary have cleaned up Barney’s alcoholism for him? Or would the brief incarceration send him even further off the deep end, spiralling down a sinkhole from which he’d never truly recover?

As the story goes, that’s a possibility we’ll never know, given that the decision was made to have Maggie shoot the old man in cold blood and completely escape prosecution in the process.

But still, Barney as the murderer? It’s not as if he hasn’t exhibited violent tendencies before.

Put Barney in jail IMO.