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The Bob Next Door

Billboard: Springfield Retirement Castle: New vacancies every flu season

Batman is not “nothing without his utility belt”

Couch gag: A baby draws the living room scene, and the Simpsons sit on the drawn couch. Homer asks the baby to draw him a beer.

Director: Nancy Kruse

Guest Voice:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob

Synopsis: The Simpsons have a new neighbour, who sounds suspiciously like Sideshow Bob.

Discussion: I’m just gonna say this now: this is the best Sideshow Bob episode, and also the best episode of season 21.

Regular readers will know that I’m not a Bob fan. I think the character is limiting and lacks depth as well as being inanely repetitive. The plot of this episode loosely follows that of Face/Off, which admittedly I haven’t seen for about 10 years or so, although I remember it to be a fun film- Travolta and Cage looked like they had a lot of fun making it. Anyhoo, Springfield is broke (again) and to save money, all the petty criminals are released from prison. This part is important because it sets up the loophole exploited by Bob to allow him to escape.

What follows is another murder plot against Bart, with an improbable premise by Bob that if he pulls the trigger in one state and Bart dies in another, no single action is against any of the state laws. Well, OK, I’m willing to overlook that minor blip in logic because the rest of the ep is just so good. The improbability is heightened at the junction of the five states because the law enforcement officers have distinct accents that don’t join geographically; that is, the accents of the cops are from states that aren’t joined in real life.

After Bob is arrested, the house is sold again… to Ned Flanders’ cousin Ted. I seriously cannot think of a better way to end that episode.

Everything about this works. It has a solid plot the whole way through, a plot point you forget is there until it becomes the most important plot point in the whole episode, plus there’s a musical interlude of Gilbert & Sullivan, which never goes astray. Walt Warren is a good character and I wonder what happened to him?

If you’re a Bob fan, this is one of the best. Also… I just learned about Harold and the Purple Crayon.

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