A Krusty/Homer episode? Jeez Simpsons, you’re spoiling me! This is seriously one of the funniest episodes the show ever made, and I’m so pleased to see it hold up so well.
Things start off by having the kids watch Krusty’s show, which features him doing some stunt where he rides a miniature bike through a loop before eating the tiny bicycle, which leads to Bart’s wonderful line “he can take a simple everyday think like eating a bicycle and make it funny.” But as soon as the bicycle stunt is over, the focus shifts away from the kids and we start to follow Krusty behind the scenes of his show as he makes a series to stupid decisions with his money, including lighting cigarettes with hundred dollar bills. Krusty is apparently blowing all his money on terrible bets and stupid purchases, like a real celebrity, and his accountant is there to tell him that he’s in deep trouble. And that’s apparently worsened by the fact that he’s being sued by George Carlin and Steve Martin for stealing their bits. But the real problem is that Krusty owes money to Fat Tony and the mob, which spurs him to try and actually make some cash. He asks the accountant about selling more crap with his face on it, but Krusty has already sold out as much as humanly possible, even selling a line of woman’s razors shaped like his face that’s sold by Johnny Unitas. So, desperate for money, Krusty decides to open a Clown College to train more Krusty’s.
We then jump over to Homer, who apparently stops at every billboard on the highway to see what he should buy, causing a lot of traffic problems. He’s all on board for English Muffins and steak sauce, but when he sees the billboard for Krusty’s college, he doesn’t think much of it. Although it turns out that the billboard really is sitting on his subconscious, and it begins to subliminally mess with him, entering his thoughts. He’s sitting in his office at the Plant, daydreaming and the billboard just smashes itself into his thoughts, complete with wonderful music and animation. He then sees Lenny and several dying Plant workers as clowns as they beg him to help with a fire. But things really get crazy when he goes home and starts making a circus tent with his mashed potatoes like Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And it escalates even further when he starts to see the family as clowns, which ends with the truly spectacular scene that goes like:
Marge: Yes, Homie?
[starts humming the Circus theme]
Homer: [no longer from his viewpoint] That’s it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!
Bart: I don’t think any of us expected him to say that.
So with that insane outburst, Homer enrolls in Clown College, and we’re treated to several scenes of his education. He has issues fitting into his baggy pants, he learns silly city names like Walla Walla and Seattle, that he should kill wealthy dowagers, and how to do that tiny bike trick from the beginning, which he’s terrible at. And after some vaguely defined amount of time, it’s graduation day! Homer and the rest of the clown line up to get their diplomas and get zapped by Krusty’s joy-buzzer, and he’s officially a clown. And thus begins Homer’s career as a clown, which doesn’t start off well. He has to go be Krusty as a Krusty Burger that’s celebrating the launch of a new burger, and he ends up falling from an airplane without a parachute and beating the “Krusty Burglar,” to a pulp, which results in one of my favorite Simpsons lines of all time, some random little kids yelling “Stop, stop! He’s already dead.”
And things don’t get much better from there. He has to go entertain at Milhouse’s birthday party, which seems to revolve around him dancing and getting pelted with food. He’s also apparently working so many clown gigs that he has to wear the costume at the Plant, since he has to go host the Ace Awards with Dick Cavett. But things finally start to look up for Homer when he gets pulled over after the award-show, and finds that Chief Wiggum lets him skip a ticket because he thinks he’s Krusty. So Homer immediately starts taking advantage of this idea, telling everyone that he’s actually Krusty to get free stuff.
But being Krusty isn’t that good of a thing anymore, because we find out that Krusty took all the money from the college, and bet against the Harlem Globetrotters to Fat Tony. And when the Globetrotters shockingly win, he realizes he’s in deep to the mob, and flees the country. The mobsters take over the clown college and start teaching people how to steal stuff, and begin scouring the town for Krusty. And wouldn’t you know, they come across Homer trying to get a free car by claiming to be Krusty. And after some shoddy sniper-fire from Louie, which just creates speed-holes for the car, the mobsters speed off to get more ammo, letting Homer survive. Not that he realized he was getting shot at. And while this is all going on we see that Krusty has fled to Europe and gotten plastic surgery, which didn’t do anything but make him look a little younger. And now he has breasts, but he wasn’t really complaining about that.
Back in Springfield, Legs gives the sniping thing a try, and just keeps hitting Ned, before they decide to stop that plan and just grab “Krusty.” So they grab Homer and drag him to their Club, while Homer keeps trying to pick new identity that won’t piss the mobsters off, to no success. So Homer meets the Don of the mob, who tells him he’s going to die, unless he can do the little bike trick, which the Don loves. So with his life on the line, Homer gives it all he’s got, and still fails at the trick, which pisses the mobsters off even more. But right as they’re about to shoot him, the real Krusty shows up and throws a monkey-wrench into the whole thing. Krusty tries to confuse the mobsters and get them out, but Homer’s stupidity ruins that plan, and the Don announces that he’s going to kill them both…unless they do the bike trick together. So they pile on top of the tiny bike, and attempt to do the loop trick. They fail almost immediately, but end up doing something far more impressive, zipping around the whole club before doing dozens of rotations of the loop, ending with Homer eating the tiny bike. And with the trick complete, the mobsters are placated, since it brought “great joy to this old Italian stereotype.” Krusty then pays the outstanding debt, which was apparently $48, and everything returns to normal!
This episode is bonkers. I’ve expounded many times before on how much I love Krusty the Klown, and it’s so great to see him sharing the screen with Homer. I’ve heard before that there was this weird idea back in the first season to reveal that Krusty was actually Homer, which would have been terrible, but it’s still funny to see the two characters interact. Everything with the subliminal billboard was hilarious, as was all the classes Homer took to be a clown. And of course the only thing that could make a story about Krusty teaching Homer to be a clown would be to add Fat Tony and the mafia into it, which was just icing in the cake. This episode is just a perfect piece of comedy, full of tremendous lines and gags, and one of my all time favorites.
Take Away: “Clown are funny.”
“Homie the Clown” was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by David Silverman, 1995.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons