Classic episode guys. Let’s dive right in! So right off the bat, there’s a pretty great chalkboard gag. “They are laughing at me, not with me.” Jesus that’s harsh. What a messed up thing to make a kid write about himself.
The episode proper starts with the kids watching an episode of the Krusty show. Now, I never had anything like Krusty when I was a kid. Some sort of live, daily kids show? I guess Krusty is supposed to be like, Bozo the clown, but yeah, Krusty has always seemed like a foreign concept to me. I guess my version of Krusty was the Simpsons, that the show that I was excited to watch every night after school when it played in syndication. Krusty’s show is also nuts. He asks the kids what would they do if the show ever got canceled, and all of them, including Bart and Lisa at home yell out in unison “We’d kill ourselves!” Krusty is apparently a cult leader. We also hear Krusty say “don’t blame me, I didn’t do it,” like that’s his catchphrase, even though in a future episode it’ll be Bart’s. There’s also a scene of Krusty shoving Sideshow Bob into a cannon and just straight up blowing him up. Sideshow Bob really is treated like shit.
I love the meta joke Lisa makes when Marge complains about Itchy and Scratchy, claiming that “If cartoon’s were meant for adults, they’d out them on at primetime” The Simpsons was probably the first place that I ever even came across the concept of meta-humor. I’m sure as a kid I just thought that that was a weird thing for Lisa to say, but it’s really emblematic of the weird humor the Simpsons thrived on. We get into the heart of the episode when the family finds out that Patty and Selma are coming over that night to show the family their slides from their recent trip to Mexico, and Marge sends Homer to the Kwik-E-Mart to get some ice cream. While in the store Homer chats to Apu, and doesn’t seem to notice that there appears to be Krusty standing in the corner, reading a magazine with a mask on. But they finally do notice it when he pulls out a gun, and robs the Kwik-E-Mart, making Homer dive into a display of chips to hide. So, in college I worked at a relativly sketchy Best Buy, and I was held up once when two dudes came in to rob the place, and I had a gun pointed at me. Not fun. But I love that Apu is so used to it that he doesn’t even seem intimidated. Homer tells the cops that it was Krusty, and they quickly arrest him. It made me laugh really hard when Wiggum just started saying “blah, blah, blah” during the Miranda rights. Homer then fingers Krusty in a lineup of sad clowns, and he’s sent to jail to await trial.
Homer comes home, eager to tell the family of his heroics, but has a moment where he tries to save Bart from the realization that his hero is a criminal, which was pretty sweet. But it didn’t work, Bart sees that Krusty has been arrested on the news, and is crushed. The expose on Krusty also brought up something that’s always confused me. Krusty is a nationally known entertainer, and I assume his show is nationwide, but he lives and works in Springfield? I know it makes narrative sense, but it’s weird.
Krusty’s trial stars, and the kids go to see how weird he looks without his clown makeup, especially how small his feet look. The town jumps on the Krusty-hate bandwagon, even having a mass burning of Krusty memorabilia. I love that Marge calls Krusty an insane criminal genius, because he robbed a convenience store. We also learn that Krusty is illiterate, because he can’t even identify Exhibit B.
We then peek in on what’s become of Krusty’s show in his absence, and Sideshow Bob has taken the foreground. Man Kelsey Grammar is great on this show. His voice is so great for Sideshow Bob. Bart yells at Lisa and Maggie for watching Sideshow Bob’s show, and convinces them to help him investigate the robbery, and prove Krusty innocent. They go to the Kwik-E-Mart, where Apu is now super jittery, and scared of the kids. Pretty easily they realize that the man who robbed the Kwik-E-Mart used a microwave even though Krusty had a pacemaker, and the man was also reading a magazine, even though Krusty is apparently illiterate, leading the kids to realize he was framed. They then head off to ask Sideshow Bob if Krusty had an enemies who would want to frame him.
They meet Bob and find out he has huge grotesque clown-sized feet, but when they tell him they think Krusty was framed, he deflects them, and gives them tickets to the show. I think it’s funny that Bob’s show, which he’s called “Sideshow Bob’s Cavalcade of Whimsey,” is such an intellectual show now, but Bob still wears his grass skirt look. Bob calls Bart up to the stage because Bart looks sad, and slowly as they begin talking about the pressures of adolescence, Bart realizes that it must have been Sideshow Bob who framed Krusty. He smashes Bob’s feet on air, and gets Bob to admit his crime. I love that Bart had the line “big shoes to fill” echo in his head, and that’s what made him put everything together. And because the cops apparently watch this kids show in the station, they race down to the studio, arrest Bob, and free Krusty, who thanks Bart for his help, and everything returns to status quo.
This is a pretty great episode. It sets up Sideshow Bob as Bart’s nemesis, and is pretty loaded with great jokes. Bart has such a naive love for Krusty, even though this episode it turns out that it was well founded. Krusty is one of my favorite characters, and even though he’s not quite the guy that I would come to know and love, he’s still really funny. It’s also kind of sad to see the trail scenes, and realize that it’s not too far off from reality. I studied some criminology in college, and had whole classes about the concept of wrongful conviction, and boy does this episode not really go too far in showing how easy it is to wrongfully convict someone of a crime. It was a fun little mystery and made for an enjoyable episode.
Take-Away: I guess the big thing I learned from this episode was that your hero’s can let you down. True, by the end of the episode Krusty is redeemed, but still, I think it’s an important lesson to learn that no one is infallible, even your heroes.
“Krusty Gets Busted” was written by Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky and directed by Brad Bird
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons