Lifetime of Simpsons

S12 E03 – Insane Clown Poppy

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Hey everybody, want to see what happens if Krusty had a kid? It worked for Apu! Let’s go!

The episodes begins with the auspicious opening of Homer and Bart hanging out in the backyard, filling a watermelon with firecrackers. They celebrate after blowing it the hell up and Marge decides to rain on their parade by telling them they have chores to do. But obviously they’ve established that the two idiots have firecrackers, so they have to use them to accomplish their chores. Which they do by opening a stuck drawer, demolishing Santa’s Little Helper’s doghouse, and getting a VHS out of Lisa’s VCR.

And that last idea has some disastrous consequences, because they basically blow up Lisa’s room. But this isn’t going to be an episode about Lisa feeling unappreciated or Homer dealing with the repercussions of blowing up his daughter’s room. Nah, he offers Lisa some reparations by letting her pick what they’re going to do that weekend, and she calls his bluff and demands they go to some sort of book faire.

So they head down to the book fair and we get a mix of sight-gags and straight up cameos of authors. We see Tom Wolfe, Stephen King, Christopher Walken, and a panel comprising of Tom Clancy, Maya Angelou, and Amy Tan as the family wanders the fair. It’s not a particularly funny scene, but it does lead to an actual plot developing when Bart gets in line to get Krusty to sign his latest autobiography, which was written by John Updike.

And while in line for the half-assed signature, Bart meets a girl named Sophie, who seems strangely nervous about meeting Krusty. And we learn why when she gets up to the front of the line and she proudly proclaims that she’s Krusty’s long-lost daughter. Uh oh! So he obviously has to check this out to make sure that this little girl isn’t scamming him, and she has a pretty good story. Her mom was a solider fighting in the Desert Storm war, and Krusty apparently slept with her while visiting the troops. He then stopped her from assassinating Saddam, so she’s a little irritated with him. That and the whole child out of wedlock thing.

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So it seems legit, and all Sophie really wants is a relationship with her father. Unfortunately Krusty is pretty much a scumbag, and does his best to shirk this basic gesture. But he eventually relents, and agrees to go to the beach with Sophie to attempt some sort of father/daughter relationship. And he promptly starts ignoring her when they get to the beach. But Krusty actually wants to better himself, so he starts looking around the beach at all sorts of other, better fathers, like Apu, Ned, and Kearney, and still chooses Homer as his guru.

Krusty then starts hanging out with Homer, trying to get his advice on parenthood while Bart and Lisa play with Sophie. And, shockingly, Homer gives Krusty some pretty good, albeit simple, advice, and it actually starts to work. Krusty and Sophie start to have a great time, and a relationship actually starts to bloom, as shown by the two of them watching the sunset while Sophie plays some old folk song on her violin that reminds Krusty of childhood.

But all that goodwill quickly wilts when we cut over to some shady poker game happening at Moe’s between Homer, Moe, Krusty, Snake, and Fat Tony. And when Krusty gets four aces, he decides he needs to bet big and win, but realizes he’s out of money. So he runs to his car, looking for something to bid, and ends up finding Sophie’s violin. Unfortunately Fat Tony has a killer hand, and manages to win, getting Sophie’s violin in the process.

So Krusty is forced to eat crow, and goes back to Sophie to let her know that he accidently lost her prized violin. And shockingly, she’s not cool with this turn of events, and is completely crushed. Homer then does what everyone in Springfield does when they’re in a bind, and comes to ask the Simpson’s for their advice. And once again, Homer puts his two cents in and recommends that they sneak into Fat Tony’s mobster compound and steal the violin back.

And because no better ideas got floated, they actually do that. Homer and Krusty sneak into the compound, which just so happens to be hosting some sort of mobster summit, and they start looking for the violin. Which they actually find pretty quick. Unfortunately it’s in a room filled with violin cases holding machine guns, so they just decide to steal all of the cases and figure it out later. But on the way out they run into the mobsters and start a crazy gun-fight, while Krusty starts looking through the cases, finally finding the violin. So he and Homer flee, and Krusty is able to deliver the violin to Sophie, along with some money that was lined in the case, and everything’s better. Oh, and we also see Homer getting chased by the mobsters, because we apparently can’t end of a sweet moment anymore.

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I don’t know about this one. I really love Krusty as a character, and in general I’ve loved the Krusty episodes, but this may be the weakest yet. I just didn’t like seeing Krusty as a shitty dad. It wasn’t really that explored, and from what I remember it’s never mentioned again, which seems a little weird. And you could kind of tell. This wasn’t a new character, it was a cameo voiced by Drew Barrymore. She wasn’t going to stick around. So why should we care about her? She’s clearly just a single-issue excuse for a plot, and becomes less a character, and more a plot contrivance. Which is pretty lame. There are some okay jokes in the episode, but that weird lack of honesty really hampered the episode. Plus, I really hate that these episodes from the last couple of weeks just seem dead-set against ending on a sweet note. Yeah, I didn’t buy the relationship between Krusty and Sophie at all, but seeing them make amends and hug at the end of the episode could have been a cute little button. But instead we have this weird tag where Homer comes running in getting shot at by mobsters, because you have to end on a laugh? I don’t know, it just seems fakey, and undercuts what little emotion the episode managed to mine.

Take Away: Don’t be a deadbeat dad, and don’t play poker with mobsters. Roulette is okay though.

 

“Insane Clown Poppy” was written by John Frink & Don Payne and directed by Bob Anderson, 2000.

 

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