Someday, when Mr. Burns fires Smithers once and for all, you know it's going to end up going down a lot like how Viacom chief Sumner Redstone's firing of Tom Cruise went down: The crazy old coot will go into a self-congratulatory frenzy for offing the young whippersnapper with the, um, unusual lifestyle. "His behavior," Mr. Burns will say, as a bewildered Smithers stews in a corner, "was entirely unacceptable."
2) Sumner Redstone vs. Tom Freston
You know what else is entirely unacceptable? Not buying MySpace! ("What in blue blazes is this MySpice geegaw? Rupert Murdoch wants it, you say? Well, then I want it!") And so Mr. Burns, er, Mr. Redstone, summoned Viacom CEO Tom Freston to his estate. "Sic the dogs on him!" Mr. Redstone said, turning to Tom Cruise to do the deed. Only he'd already fired Tom, so poor Mr. Redstone had to do it himself.
3) Les vs. Howard
After Howard Stern departed CBS radio for Sirius, CBS chief Les Moonves suddenly sued Howard for turning the waning days of his CBS radio show into one big extended commercial for his jump to satellite. Howard made gazillions for CBS, remember, before filing for divorce and moving on. But no matter. Long after Howard was gone, Les woke up one day and screamed, "Howard Stern screwed me!" Poor, defenseless Les!
4) Howard vs. Les
Somehow over the years Les failed to learn that it's a really bad idea to piss off Howard. After Les filed his revenge suit, Howard took to Letterman wearing a "I HATE LES MOONVES" T-shirt. Not only did he tell Dave, "I believe you are working for one of the biggest jerks on the planet," but said of former thespian Moonves, "CBS took a third-rate 'Love Boat' actor and made him CEO." Double burn!
5) The Donald vs. The Martha
Remember last spring when The Martha told Newsweek that she thought she'd get to fire The Donald at the start of her (failed) "Apprentice"? The Donald's head exploded (his hair, thank God, survived the blast) and wrote an open letter to The Martha that included this review: "Your performance was terrible in that the show lacked mood, temperament and just about everything else a show needs for success." Also, he doesn't like her hairdo.
6) Time Inc. vs. the Internet
Once upon a time, a baby named Shiloh Nouvel Jolie Pitt was born -- a baby so important that People paid $100 trillion to buy the U.S. rights to shots of her. Only problem? A little thing called the internet. And the fact that British OK put Shiloh on its cover -- which website Gawker showed. Which caused Time Inc.'s lawyers to freak, demanding Gawker take down the cover of a magazine it doesn't even publish! (Huh?)
7) Mel Gibson vs. Jewish Law Enforcement
"I don't want to be that monster," Mel Gibson recently told Entertainment Weekly. Wait, which monster? Maybe you're talking about the monster who said to his arresting officer, after getting caught drunk driving in Malibu, "You mother f -- -er, I'm going to f -- k you. ... F -- -ing Jews. ... The Jews are responsible for all the war in the world. Are you a Jew?" Yeah, you definitely wouldn't want to be that monster, Mel.
8) Jared Paul Stern vs. The Billionaire
After supermarket magnate Ron Burkle organized a sting operation to capture "Page Six" gossip Jared Paul Stern on videotape seemingly extorting big bucks in exchange for, well, not trashing Burkle on "Page Six," Stern did a bizarre guest stint on Gawker, showering Burkle with shade. Burkle was labeled an "opulent clown!" And "fat kid!" And his La Jolla mansion a "monstrosity!"
Oooooh! See what happens when you refuse to pay protection money?
9) Shareholders vs. "The Times"
Call it a slow-motion, slow-burn hissy fit: New York Times Co. shareholders just couldn't shut up, all year long, about how much they hate the way this family-controlled corporation is run. Morgan Stanley, which owns 7.6% of the stock, put it this way: "The company's current corporate-governance practices deviate from what is widely considered to be best practice." That's Wall Street-speak for "You guys suck!" Stay tuned on this one.
10) Michael Richards vs. His Worst Self
Welcome to the age in which a hissy fit, recorded in grainy cellphone video, and broadcast around the world shortly thereafter, can completely, utterly do in a man's career. "Seinfeld" star Michael Richards comedy-club hissy fit-in which he attacked hecklers by attacking them racially-blew up even bigger than Mel Gibson's equally racist meltdown. Can he recover a bit, like Gibson has? Good luck. Richards' offense is inedible and unspinnable, because viral video is forever.