The whole idea of this episode is a spoof on the 1991 episode of Dallas entitled: "Conundrum (1)." The character, J.R., is shot and the episode ends as a cliffhanger. The catchphrase "Who Shot J.R.?" was used all summer. This is where the episode title "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" alludes from. There were also many other elements of the story which are similar to the ones found in the classic TV series Dallas: Mr. Burns gets everyone angry by stealing the school's oil, as JR gets people angry by shutting down someone else's oil field to make his own. Smithers is afraid that he shot Mr. Burns in a drunken stupor, like Sue Ellen was. Homer's fingerprints were found on the gun, like Sue Ellen's were, and the search is narrowed down to someone close to the Ewing family, like it was with the Simpson family. Also, Smithers' dream sequence in which Mr. Burns is in the shower is taken from an episode much later in the Dallas series where Bobby is brought back from the dead and the entire previous season turned out to be a dream.