Lifetime of Simpsons

S15 E06 – Today, I Am a Clown

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It’s been a real lackluster week here on Lifetime of Simpsons. Not really the best way to come back from my week off. But what can you do? The show has its ups and downs, and we sure are getting a lot of downs lately. But let’s end the week on a goofy-as-hell episode about Krusty having a bar mitzvah.

The episode starts off with Homer waking up in the morning and singing a song about toilets to the tune of “Ring of Fire.” Unfortunately when he goes out to the hallway bathroom, instead of the one in the bedroom for some reason, he finds that the rest of the family are also waiting for the bathroom. Which seems a little strange, since someone appears to be in the bathroom, but it’s none of them. Not a good sign.

It takes a while, but they realize that the only missing Simpson is Maggie, and figure out that she’s locked in the bathroom alone. They obviously then freak the hell out, and start trying to free her. Homer’s idea is to try and unlock the door with a coat hanger, but all that does is almost kill Maggie. Next up they use Homer’s head like a battering ram and try to break the door down. But that doesn’t work.

Luckily though Lisa tries the coat hanger again, and gets it to work, freeing Maggie. But none of that matters, because as they’re celebrating freeing Maggie they hear a knock at the door and head downstairs to see who is visiting them. And surprisingly, it’s Dr. Hibbert. But it’s not a house call; it’s a social call, because Hibbert is there to yell at the Simpsons for Santa’s Little Helper’s behavior. Apparently Santa’s Little Helper has knocked up his poodle, giving birth to a littler of weird little poodle/greyhound puppies, and Hibbert is dumping the dogs on the Simpsons.

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They take the puppies, and are a little confused since Santa’s Little Helper was supposed to have gotten neutered when he had puppies last time. Lisa even checks that old Simpson’s Episode Guide that I had as a kid to make sure that that was canon. But Homer reveals that when he drove Santa’s Little Helper to the vet, he got sorry for the dog and decided not to get him neutered and instead treat him to some sort of bachelor party complete with dog prostitutes.

So that explains that. But now they have a new issue, a box full of weird looking dogs. So Bart and Lisa take to the streets of Springfield with a box of puppies, trying to get rid of them. They drop off puppies to Willie and Snake before making their way to Krusty’s mansion with the last one. And they’ve come at a good time, because Krusty is hung-over and depressed as hell. But the sight of the little puppy warms his heart, and he immediately loves the little thing.
Krusty now has a little dog, and the two begin spending all their time together, going on a long walk. And the dog apparently has magical powers, because it just happens to guide Krusty to the old Jewish district of Springfield where he grew up. Krusty reminisces about his childhood for a while, before coming across a Jewish walk of fame. Krusty being a narcissist, he decides that they’re going to follow that road until he finds his star.

And he fails. He walks the entire sidewalk and never finds his star. Which obviously means he has to storm into the office of the Walk of Fame to complain. And the guy he talks to is actually pretty open about the complaint, and is all ready to give Krusty a star. But there’s a slight snafu. It turns out Krusty never actually got a bar mitzvah, so they apparently can’t give him a star because he’s not a man. So Krusty has to just leave, depressed, and inform Bart and Lisa (who of course are there) that he never had a bar mitzvah.

This is kind of strange, as Lisa points out, since Krusty’s father was a rabbi. Krusty had not thought of that wrinkle, so he and the kids go find Rabbi Krustofski, and ask why Krusty never got a bar mitzvah. And the answer is pretty weak. Apparently Rabbi Krustofski was worried that Krusty would make a laughingstock of his bar mitzvah since he never took anything seriously, so he just kept a crucial part of a Jewish man’s life from him. That’s weird. But, as Lisa points out again, adults can get bar mitzvahs, so Krusty decides to get one.

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He then goes to the studio and tells them that he’s going to need time off to embrace his faith and study for the bar mitzvah. However for some reason Krusty needs to find a replacement for his show, and decides to just give Homer his show temporarily. Because of course he does. However, against all reason, Homer just doesn’t keep doing the Krusty show, instead he makes his own weird talk-show with himself, Lenny, Moe, and Carl.

Homer’s new show is primarily four middle-aged men sitting around complaining about things, which quickly turns off the children, but oddly gets quite the following from the men in the city. Lisa had told Homer that he should use his chance to reach the people to say something wise, but he just complains about mundane things, which really speaks to the people of Springfield, quickly making Homer’s show massively popular.

But that popularity quickly goes to Homer’s head. He becomes extremely controlling of the show, and starts being really annoying. He even fires Lenny after a slight inconvenience, and then replaces him with Barney. That doesn’t last long though, and Disco Stu takes over. But the behind-the-scenes drama doesn’t distract from the fact that the people love the show so much that they decide to cancel Krusty’s show, and just give Homer the time-slot permanently.

Krusty is obviously not pleased with that news, but he really does take it in stride, being too focused on getting ready for his bar mitzvah. But he needs a show, so he begins shopping around his show to different networks, and ends up meeting with Fox. They aren’t really interested in his show, but they do strike up a deal to host a live bar mitzvah for Krusty, and turn it into a ridiculous extravaganza. Krusty accepts.

Oh, and around this point Homer’s vanity gets the best of him, and he starts trying to smarten up the show, quickly losing his audience before the show gets cancelled. So that’s over. Let’s go talk about Krusty’s bar mitzvah! It’s ridiculous. It’s in a stadium and has fireworks, acrobatics, the cast of the Broadway Lion King, and of course, Mr. T. But, in the end, Krusty successfully completes the bar mitzvah and he’s now a man. But when Krusty sees how disappointed his dad is in the ridiculous bar mitzvah, he agrees to have a sensible one in the Temple too, with the Simpsons of course.

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This episode is odd. It’s another one of those episodes that have a really strange feeling between their A and B plots. Because they really feel like two episodes that got smashed together rather than following the A and B plot structure. The episode basically abandons the bar mitzvah plot for a while to get the Homer plot going, and then ends that so we can return to the Krusty plot, there’s not much connection or feeling of the stories being intertwined. But, whereas this usually turns me off the episode, I kind of liked this one. The idea of Krusty needing to have a bar mitzvah was fun, even though the logic behind him not getting one was pretty weak, and I thought that it was a good story with Krusty and his father. And I really like the Homer plot. I’m not sure if it’s referencing anything in particular, but the idea of Homer and his stupid buddies getting their own talk show, and having it become a massive hit is a lot of fun. It just felt weird with the bar mitzvah plot. They both seemed like they could have been full episodes on their own. Which I guess is a good sign if I likes both stories enough that I want to see more of it, but it’s just odd to see them stitched together.

Take Away: Maybe don’t withhold ceremonies from your children for petty reasons. Oh, and if you try to go high-brow people will stop caring.

 

“Today, I am a Clown” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Nancy Kruse, 2003.

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