Lifetime of Simpsons

S21 E22 – The Bob Next Door

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Well folks, we’ve made it through another week here on Lifetime of Simpsons. And what better way to end a surprisingly decent week than with an absolutely insane Sideshow Bob episode that just gets more and more absurd as it goes? Fun times!

The episode begins with a Town Hall meeting where the people of Springfield have to accept the fact that they’re in the middle of a massive budget crunch. Springfield is apparently almost broke, so they’re going to have to start cutting back on things. There’ll be no more dead animal pickup, education budgets will get slashed like crazy, and the penitentiary is going to have to release a whole lot of low-level offenders.

Which is great news to Homer. He assumes that because of all of these budget issues the police won’t have the funds to stop his minor shenanigans, and he just starts ignoring traffic laws. But not everyone feels the same as Homer. The cities sudden lack of public funds is really starting to grate on a lot of Springfield citizens, and they begin moving out of the city en mass, leaving a whole lot of vacant houses in town.

And one of the houses that are up for sale is the one next to the Simpsons that used to belong to the Powers family. That’s right, the Simpsons are going to get a new neighbor! So they begin stalking around the house, wondering what type of person is going to move in. Realtors then begin showing the house like crazy, pumping in the smell of baking cookies to drawn people in. Homer almost falls for it and buys a second house, but before he can finish off the paperwork he’s informed that someone has actually a purchased it.

The family then eagerly watch as moving vans arrive, bringing their new neighbor to the house. They’re all very impressed by the quality of his furniture and his hybrid car, which convinces them that this is going to be a decent person. However, when the man comes over to introduce himself as Walt Warren, there’s something odd about him. His voice sounds exactly like Sideshow Bob’s. And this instantly convinces Bart that Walt is actually Bob, despite him looking nothing like Bob, and having normal human feet.

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Walt seems to be a really great guy, instantly ingratiating himself with the rest of the neighborhood, but Bart just cannot get over his suspicions. Which means that he’s going to have to start testing things out. So Bart begins pestering Walt, trying to draw out the truth. First he and Milhouse loudly begin singing some Gilbert and Sullivan in the treehouse while Walt is nearby, figuring that Bob would be unable to not join in. But Walt just ignores them.

We then see that Walt is hosting a party for the neighborhood so everyone can get to know him, which is a perfect time for Bart to start snooping around his house. But after Bart begins investigating he finds nothing suspicious, and just keeps coming across evidence that Walt Warren is the most bland and boring person on Earth. But Marge catches Bart snooping around the house, and realizes that this Sideshow Bob obsession is really bothering Bart, and decides to do something to fix it.

So Bart and Marge head to the recently downsized Springfield Penitentiary, with the purpose of finding Bob inside and proving to Bart that Walt is innocent. They head into the jail, and get lead to the solitary confinement cell that Bob is trapped inside. And, lo and behold, Sideshow Bob is inside the cell, manically writing a message on the walls of the cell about killing Bart Simpson while holding a pen in his mouth. So, that solves it. Walt isn’t Bob.

And with this mystery finally solved, Walt offers to take Bart to a baseball game to formally bury the hatchet. Bart agrees, and the two head off to the game, when something confusing happens. Sideshow Bob escapes from prison, and ends up arriving at the Simpson’s house. Homer and Marge are obviously terrified, but do notice that Bob has a very goofy voice. And that would be because he’s not Sideshow Bob. He’s the actual Walt Warren.

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Turns out that Walt Warren was Sideshow Bob’s cellmate in prison, and when it was announced that all minor offenders were going to be released from prison, like Walt, Bob came up with a plan. He taught himself plastic surgery and pulled a goddamn Face/Off, removing Walt’s face and replacing it with his own so that when “Walt” was scheduled to be released it would actually be Bob getting out into the world, while the real Walt would be assumed insane, and locked up. And the feet? Well, apparently Bob folded his feet in half and stuffed them in shoes. Whatever, they’re on a roll.

So Bob reveals himself to Bart, and drives off to kill him, while filling Bart in on all of this. But things are really happening over at “Walt’s” house. He’s completely convinced Homer and Marge about what’s going on, and he helps them break into Bob’s house. The trio begin investigating, and they end up finding a secret murder room that Bob has, full of threatening images and information about a place near Springfield call Five Corners where five state’s borders meet. So it looks like that’s where Bob is planning on taking Bart.

Which is correct! Bob and Bart are heading to the Five Corners, and after making a pit-stop where Bob flirts with a waitress, they head out. And as soon as Bob and Bart leave the diner Homer, Marge, and Walt show up and end up getting the wrong information from the waitress. She says that Bart and Bob headed to Mexico, and Homer and Marge decide that she wouldn’t lie. Walt isn’t so sure though, and decides to keep going to Five Corners.

Bob and Bart then arrive at Five Corners, where Bob explains what’s going on. Apparently he’s figured out that a murder committed in this area is a jurisdictional nightmare, because he’s be in one state and Bart will be in another. However, before he can pull the trigger Walt shows up and begins fighting with Bob. Bob ends up getting control of the situation though, and threatens to kill both Bart and Walt. However the police then arrive, from all five states. Turns out Bart was always suspicious of Walt, and asked Chief Wiggum to follow them to the baseball game, so the police from all five states are ready to capture him, saving Bart.

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This is a rather fun episode. I’m always a sucker for Sideshow Bob episodes, and while this episode didn’t have a traditional mystery component that Bart had to solve, it was still a whole lot of fun. Yeah, things get absolutely insane by the end, what with the whole face-swapping nonsense, but that doesn’t really ruin things. It’s just a fun and dumb Sideshow Bob episode. Kelsey Grammer is always great as Bob, and the character is just delightful. Plus, the whole Five Corners thing is actually pretty clever. It may not be overly realistic, but do yourself a favor and research that area of Yellowstone National Park where murder is theoretically legal for the same jurisdictional issues. Not an overly great episode, but it’s a perfectly fun little episode to end the week on.

Take Away: Face surgery is incredibly simple.

 

“The Bob Next Door” was written by John Frink and directed by Nancy Kruse, 2010.

 

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