Like Father, Like Clown
I will finish what I sta
couch gag: The family sit down and Bart flops across their laps
Directors: Jeffrey Lynch with Brad Bird
Jackie Mason as Rabbi Hyman Krustofski
Synopsis: To thank Bart for helping clear his name when he was framed for burglary, Krusty promises to have dinner with the Simpsons, but keeps cancelling. Bart becomes disillusioned and Krusty’s personal assistant demands Krusty keeps the date. At the dinner, it is revealed Krusty is Jewish and estranged from his father, who disapproved of his son’s chosen profession. Lisa and Bart encourage a reconciliation.
Discussion: Here we discover Krusty’s background. His real name is Herschel Krustofski and he’s Jewish, like so many other entertainers (“Mel Brooks is Jewish?”) Paying homage to the 1927 film The Jazz Singer, which also deals with a father disapproving of his son’s career choice, this episode is also quite intellectual and deals with Judaism in an appropriate way.
So often on The Simpsons, religion is dealt with a little left of centre; whilst it’s not made fun of, there are characters who bend the steadfast notions of organised religion. For example, Ned Flanders. Being devoutly Christian, he takes it to a whole other level when he calls Reverend Lovejoy in the middle of the night with a moral dilemma. The character is not a stab at Christianity, it’s an exaggeration. Here, we see Krusty’s faith has lapsed and his father is steadfastly adhered to it, obviously, since he is a practicing Rabbi. I understand the episode was carefully researched, particularly the part where Lisa and Bart are convincing the Rabbi to meet with his son, going so far as to quote a line from Sammy Davis Jr’s autobiography. The whole storyline was appropriate without being condescending or offensive to Jews- even when Krusty was creating balloon objects such as the Star of David and a menorah.
I thought the animation in some parts, such as the dinner at the Simpsons’ resembled the animation from season 1. It was darker than the rest of the animation plus it was a bit sketchy. My favourite line is from the diner where Bart and Lisa are hoping to arrange a “chance” meeting for Krusty and his father. Bart orders another complementary plate of pickles and the waitress replies, “Watch how fast I go.” That one line cracked me up, it was inspired hilarity!
All in all, it’s a good episode. It continues the family togetherness theme not only with the reconciliation of Krusty and his father but also Lisa and Bart, who are typical brother and sister: they fight occasionally but can really pull together when they need to.
Oh, and for people playing Simpsons Logo Quiz: Hyman Krustofski.