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Posts tagged ‘Sideshow Bob’

We have to capture this on film

Treehouse of Horror XXVI

Couch gag: The kids are trick or treating when a horde of souls descends. The monstrous soul of Frank Grimes takes over Homer’s body.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voice:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob

Synopsis: The annual Halloween episode, divided into three acts.

Discussion: Yay! It’s another installment of THOH, where The Simpsons parody popular culture and turn the event into a long-lasting memory. (Spoiler alert: epic fail)

Wanted: Dead Then Alive It’s what everyone has been wanting to see (apparently): Sideshow Bob finally kills Bart. Several times, too. He kills Bart, doesn’t know what to do with his life, reanimates Bart and keeps killing. It’s a total anticlimax for this scenario.

Homerzilla Homer as Godzilla in a parody. What? We’ve seen this before? Surely you jest! This time the parody focuses on Godzilla’s reboots, spin-offs and sequels that no one wanted to see. Just a heads up, it’s likely no one wanted to see this either. It seemed like the writers wrote 3 minutes, then realised they had 7 more minutes to fill and just wrote random words on the paper to make a “plot”. It was nonsensical and booooooooooooring.

Telepaths of Glory is apparently based on something called Chronicle, which I haven’t seen. Milhouse, Bart and Lisa are out hiking, Milhouse falls down a hole, Bart and Lisa follow, and somehow Lisa and Milhouse end up with telekinesis (not telepathy). It was interesting for about two minutes.

Unfortunately this episode SUCKED. It was badly thought-out, badly executed and the writing was lazy, returning to a bunch of characters expositing what just happened. It was non-sensical drivel that will be forgotten in minutes. Lazy effort from all involved. Yawn.

It doesn’t make me pee my pants

Blazed and Confused

Couch gag: The couch is a chair lift. The family return, everyone’s injured except Maggie.

Director: Rob Oliver

Guest Voices:
Willem Dafoe as Jack Lassen
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob

Synopsis: Bart has a new teacher and vows to make his life hell.

Discussion: Welcome to another steaming pile of excrement from The Simpsons. I don’t know how low they can possibly go with this show, but this comes pretty close. My major problem with this episode is the high levels of exposition, where every character explains to the audience exactly what is going on, just in case you’re blazed and confused yourself.

Apart from that, the other problems contained within the episode are the terrible writing, awful execution and complete lack of coherence. Are the writers having some sort of competition to see just how bad they can get each episode?

Let’s start at the beginning. Bart’s class gets a new teacher. It’s a brilliant idea since the late, great Marcia Wallace left us over a year ago. Cue someone with an instantly recognisable voice and matching personality: Willem Dafoe. His voice work can be incredible e.g. Finding Nemo. Here, he’s given stupid lines and practically no screen time during the entire second half of the show bar a few moments at the end where he inexplicably meets up with Sideshow Bob. OK, so bringing in a fantastic actor as a new teacher is a great idea. The execution sucks hairy monkey balls. This is a brilliant opportunity for Bart to pull out the big guns and play every prank on this newbie, yet all he can come up with is a literal skeleton in the closet. Bart then goes on to explain all the minute details of his upcoming plans to the viewer, because apparently we’re brain dead children who can’t read Flame Retardant on the side of a canister.

Then there’s some shit about Homer forgetting to make a camping reservation, Marge drinking some weird tea (I can only speculate the writers were drinking the same tea when writing this episode) and Lisa hanging out with desert weirdos (including a cameo by David Silverman- did they bribe him to come back to this shadow of a show?). Bart’s grand plan, predictable from the start, works a charm and no one cares. Boo frigging hoo.

It’s poorly done episodes like this that I want to see fan fiction made. You’ve got a good, solid premise with nothing to back it up. I bet fans of the show (if there are any left) can come up with some wickedly funny scripts that bust this shit out of the water. How about allowing fans to write for the show? You know it makes sense.

I never plan more than four seconds in advance

Clown in the Dumps

Billboard: Jimbo: Send me your lunch money online

Spoiler Alert: Unfortunately my dad doesn’t die

Couch gag: A time travelling Homer ends up in a future episode, 10,000 years in the future. Directed by Don Hertzfeld

Guest Voices:
Sarah Silverman as herself
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Jackie Mason as Rabbi Krustofsky
David Hyde Pierce as himself
Jeff Ross as himself

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Synopsis: Krusty is devastated when his father dies, and Lisa worries about Homer’s health.

Discussion: Welcome to Season 26, which premiered after almost a year of hype over which character would die. Let me just say that there was no hype whatsoever in Australia and the only mention I saw of a character being killed off was thanks to Dead Homer Society a couple of months ago. The day the ep aired, there was exactly one article over here about the disappointment at which character dies. Did anyone really think it would be a Simpson?

The ep begins with a Roast of Krusty, which I’m sure has been done before and like every other roast in history, is just plain mean and completely unfunny. You can’t hide your truth about someone behind “comedy”. Feeling down, Krusty seeks advice from his father but his father dies unexpectedly after approximately one minute on screen. Worst. Death. Ever. At least Maude Flanders had a tangible death. No sign of Homer “helping” Krusty move on from his loss, so that’s a positive. Then there’s some lame plot about Lisa worrying that Homer is about to die due to his obesity. What?

This is hardly a stellar introduction to yet another season which will likely rely on flab jokes and explaining said jokes. Shoving in a bunch of famous people in the first five minutes will not save the episode nor make one excited to see what the hell happens. Makes me wonder if the writers plan more than four seconds in advance.

And now the girls will yay it

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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.

You TV fat cats have plenty of money

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Funeral for a Fiend

Couch gag: A magician uses his cape to make the couch and family appear.

Director: Rob Oliver

Guest voices:
Keith Olbermann as himself
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
David Hyde Pierce as Cecil
John Mahoney as Dr Robert Terwilliger Sr

Synopsis: The Simpsons are lured into another murder plot by Sideshow Bob, but will Bart make it out alive?

Discussion: Firstly, didja miss me? I’ve been away for a week without internet. Well, there was internet, but it was slow and expensive.

Secondly, this episode harks the return of Sideshow Bob, who hasn’t been seen since his Italian adventure in season 17. The premise to Bob’s return is some garbage about batteries, TiVo and not watching ads, making the Simpsons see a TV commercial specifically aimed at them to draw them into another murderous plot by Sideshow Bob. The plan works nicely until Lisa uncovers the true plot but are they in time to save Bart?

Sideshow Bob is one of those characters that gets better as the seasons progress. He’s now got a family as well as revenge to think about, so 87 years in jail is a nice long time to think about them. This episode has very average moments, but also moments of laugh-out-loud funny, which is missing too often from these episodes. One standout moment of sheer comedic silliness is Homer coming out of the bathroom with a DIY home perm. Unfortunately the moments of funny aren’t enough to save the episode; Krusty’s parody of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind from Diana, Princess of Wales’ funeral could have been tweaked to have a funeral for the show in general… Anyhoo, I digress.

This ep follows standard formula whenever Sideshow Bob is present: he’s trying to kill the family, there’s a fantastic scheme foiled at the last minute (usually by Lisa) and Bob ends up in jail. This gives the viewer a narrative framework to work from and also gives the show a chance to embrace continuity and enhance the Bob character. These aren’t bad things, by the way. It’s just something to remind us of why we loved the show and why the die-hard fans (and bored bloggers) continue to watch.

More kudos for the guest voice cast: it was a brilliant move to engage David Hyde Pierce as Bob’s brother Cecil back in season 8 as Pierce and Grammer played brothers on Frasier. Dr Robert Terwilliger Sr, crucial to Sideshow Bob’s evil plan, is voiced by John Mahoney, who played Frasier and Cecil’s father on Frasier. There’s nothing like keeping it in the family, even if the family are fictional characters on TV.

Slice, dice and serve on rice

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The Italian Bob

Couch gag: A hand deals cards, which land on the couch. Each card is a Simpson.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest voices:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Maria Grazia Cucinotta as Francesca

Synopsis: The Simpsons are sent to Italy to pick up Mr Burns’ new car, but find Sideshow Bob is Mayor of a Tuscan village.

Discussion: Sideshow Bob is back, baby! This time he’s mayor of a Tuscan village AND is married with a son! Whoa!

The premise to sending the Simpsons to Italy is stupid, but in a good way. It’s like the writers thought of the dumbest reason ever to get the family over there and used their A stuff for the main plot. I don’t mind; Lisa can finally use that Italian she learned from Milhouse in the previous episode.

But is Bob a changed man? His new life in Tuscany means that no one there knows his criminal past in America, until Lisa gets tipsy on wine and spills the beans. Bob’s wife Francesca is hurt that this accusation is true, but Bob’s son Gino is ready for vendetta (in English, that means “vendetta”).

Without the scheming, Bob is a pretty boring character but he sure can sing. Throw in Krusty for more villainy and there’s the best episode so far of season 17.

Don’t stare at his famous wang

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The Great Louse Detective

couch gag: When Homer presses the remote control, the family (and couch) are transported to prehistoric times, Roman times and then back to the present.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voice:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Synopsis: Someone is intent on murdering Homer, and it’s up to Sideshow Bob to find out who. 

Discussion: Well, this is a breath of fresh air! Instead of Bob plotting to kill Bart yet again (yawn), Bob is hired by the police dept to find who is trying to kill Homer. Only a sick, twisted mind could find another sick, twisted mind. 

Who can forget Frank Grimes? He was a new employee at the power plant but was disgusted to see Homer getting away with pretty much everything. Attempting to demonstrate an act of stupidity, Grimey was unfortunately killed in a workplace accident. Turns out, he liked hookers and has a son who is now attempting to murder Homer.

It’s actually a really good plot and takes the focus off the Bart-Bob relationship. However, the writers did address this at the end by having Sideshow Bob attempt to murder Bart but bursting into song instead. There’s little to dislike about this episode even though it never really reaches the heights of previous seasons. I like that the focus is switched from Bob trying to kill Bart, one of Homer’s many enemies is out to kill him and everyone loves a good detective story- all the clues are right there in front of you. The show should have a few more whodunnit eps.

 

God bwess you, Kwusty

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Day of the Jackanapes

The hamster did not have “a full life”

Couch gag: The family run in, Homer lies on the couch and says to the psychiatrist, “Oh doctor! I’m crazy!”

Director: Michael Marcantel

Guest voices:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Gary Coleman as himself

Synopsis: Krusty quits TV and Sideshow Bob takes the opportunity to exact revenge and kill Krusty once and for all, using Bart as a hypnotised boy-bomb.

Discussion: It’s been a while since we’ve had a Bob episode, and this one isn’t bad. Krusty, fed up with the network big wigs telling him what to do, quits show business for the fifth and final time. Sideshow Bob thinks this is a great opportunity to finally be rid of both his nemeses, and trains Bart under hypnosis to kill Krusty.

It’s probably only the fact we’ve not seen Bob for a while that makes this ep interesting. It’s much the same theme as every other Bob episode- trying to kill Bart and/or Krusty. Using hypnosis is a novel idea but I’m not entirely sold by it, especially as he’s foiled his own plan by getting all sentimental after Krusty’s tribute.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Kelsey Grammer’s Bob work is fantastic and it’s nice to have recurring voices after the retirement of Phil Hartman’s characters due to his death. It’s just… well… where do you go with the Bob character, especially after so many episodes about the same thing?

Gotcha, you TV hatin’ mutant

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Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming

Wedgies are unhealthy for children and other living things

Couch gag: The family are sea monkeys who sit on clams and watch an open treasure chest

Director: Dominic Polcino

Guest voices:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
R. Lee Erney as Colonel Hapablap

Synopsis: Sideshow Bob threatens to detonate a nuclear warhead on Springfield if they do not turn off their TV signals.

Discussion: Cue the obligatory Bob episode for the season. Here we see Sideshow Bob planning to destroy Springfield because he’s sick of television and wants it gone forever. Krusty has taken over the Emergency Broadcast System to stay on the air. The nuke was a dud so Bob’s new plan is to kill Krusty, Bart and himself in a kamikazee mission.

Yawn.

This ep parodies many films about the Cold War so younger viewers (as well as those not familiar with Cold War flicks) will miss most of the references (Thank God for Wikipedia, eh?) The ep was written by a freelancer but extensively re-written; perhaps this is the reason it feels disjointed. Bob is far too wordy this time, his plan is even more stupid than his other ventures, but there is enough jokes to keep the ep moving. There are a couple of highlights such as Milhouse pretending to fire a plane’s weapons at his parents and Lisa’s sneaky plan to let the police know Bob was hiding in the Duff Blimp.

Overall, this isn’t the best Bob episode. It feels forced, especially when Bob and Bart are in the Wright brothers’ plane which can be caught at walking pace. It feels very much like a last minute rush to get an episode- any episode- on the air (despite the several months of production it actually takes).

 

I’m only 10 and already I got 2 mortal enemies

Sideshow Bob Roberts

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest voices:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz
Larry King as himself
Dr Demento as himself

Synopsis: Sideshow Bob is paroled from prison and runs for mayor. Bart and Lisa, acting on a tip-off, find out the electoral fraud and put Bob behind bars yet again.

Discussion: Politics- *snore*. In the interests of actually watching every episode of the series, I pressed on and watched the whole episode, even though it A) bored me and B) I’ve seen it a thousand times. So you’d better appreciate it!

As previously mentioned in other posts, I am not politically minded. Quimby and Sideshow Bob running for mayor is a good premise, but the premise is flawed. Bob doesn’t really have a reason to run for mayor, he’s just doing it because he can. He gets there by committing fraud, which ultimately sends him right back to prison. The highlight of the episode is Smithers’ undercover tip-off to Bart and Lisa about how the fraud was committed.

This ep is also unusual because it has neither a chalkboard gag nor couch gag. In most episodes, there’s one or the other but usually both. This one skips straight to the credits on the TV and launches into the story.

Overall, I don’t love it. It seems like the writers wanted another Sideshow Bob episode (and there’s nothing wrong with that), and there are good elements (the fraud of having dead people and pets voting is a great idea) but overall, it falls flat for me.

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