Hey folks, it’s time for a Christmas episode of the Simpsons! We’ve just recently had the anniversary of when the original Christmas Special aired, so Christmas has always been pretty entwined with the show. So, of course, they decided to take a Christmas episode, and combine it with another type of episode that comes up pretty frequently. A Sideshow Bob episode! Sure, why not?!
The episode begins five weeks before Christmas, and we see Lenny buying a bunch of suspenders for people, causing a veritable army of delivery people to arrive, making sure his two day shipping gets there with plenty of time before the holidays. But, before he can get his package off of his porch, we see a shady van pull up, and a mysterious figure steal his gifts from him, much to Lenny’s horror.
We then cut straight to Sideshow Bob, living in a lighthouse where we last saw him, painting little ornaments of Bart getting murdered. And, as he’s minding his own business, a woman arrives at his lighthouse, clearly to flirt. Bob doesn’t seem interested, but when she says that she’s been talking about him in town, specifically about his voice, he freaks out, assuming someone will now find him.
And, find him they do. Two men arrive, and Bob freaks out, assuming he’s about to be arrested. But, apparently these guys run a Santa-themed amusement park, and they want to sign Sideshow Bob to a contract as a Santa, primarily because of his voice. And, because he’s missed acting, Bob agrees to become their Santa. I wonder where that’s going to lead to!
We skip ahead to the week before Christmas, where that sketchy van is still stealing all sorts of gifts. We also see that Homer and Marge are getting everything all decorated, before they decide that they’re all going to play hooky the next day, and go to the same amusement park that Bob is now working at. Shocker. The family, and apparently everyone else in Springfield, then head to the park, all while the Simpsons are singing that goddamned Baby Shark song.
And, when they finally get to the park, they find that it’s absolutely packed. There’s an 8 hour wait to even see Santa. There’s plenty of room at Hanukkah land though, and an absolutely terrifying Gnome in the Home ride that Maggie is forced to go alone on, leading to years of certain nightmares. But, Bart has no interest in waiting in this massive line, so he ends up sneaking through an employee’s only entrance, getting into Santa’s house.
Which is when he finds that Santa is Bob. And, because this is apparently an intimate meet and greet with Santa behind closed doors, no one sees as Bob is about to strangle Bart to death. But, he cant bring himself to do it, because he’s apparently a Method actor, and has fully embraced the ethos of Santa Claus, keeping him from murdering Bart. But, Bart still ends up taking Bob to the security, where everyone just seems fully aware that he’s a wanted killer, and nothing happens.
Meanwhile, Lenny has absolutely snapped regarding the mail-thefts, and has decided to combat them by building a goddamn mail-bomb. But, it ends up backfiring, and hurting Lenny himself. He is able to catch sight of the thief though, and he’s able to write the initials of the thief, which ends up being SB. This becomes city-wide news, and Bart obviously thinks that it’s Sideshow Bob, but no one seems to believe him.
So, Bart decides to sneak into Santa’s Village alone at night, hoping to catch Bob. He gets there by bus, and finds a book of plans that Bob has written. But, they turn out to be just general life goals, because Bob is innocent. He captures Bart, and decides that to clear his name, and save the spirit of Christmas, Bob will team up with Bart and solve this case of parcel thefts.
Bob and Bart then head back to the Simpsons’ house, and concoct a plan. Bob is basically going to use his clown training to fold himself up into a box, and then plan on getting abducted, at which point the Simpsons will follow the thief. So, they box Bob up, Homer tosses him onto the porch, and they wait. And, eventually the thief down arrive, and the Simpsons begin following the van off into the wood, quietly singing Baby Shark.
And, when they get to the warehouse that all of these gifts are being held, they learn that SB actually referred to Smithers and Burns. Bob reveals himself, and the Simpsons come barging in, much to Burns’ shock. He tries to pass this off as general Scrooge behavior, but Lisa takes a stab at psychoanalyzing him, and finds that he’s actually super depressed, and hates Christmas.
We then learn that when Mr. Burns was a kid, in the 1930’s, he asked a mall Santa to give him very simple gifts that would make his parents happy, and actually appreciate him. But, when Christmas arrived all he got was shipped off to boarding school, cementing the idea that he never got a good relationship with his parents. And thus, he hates Christmas, and now wants to make everyone else’s Christmas terrible.
But, at this point Bob starts acting like Santa again, giving Burns a quick little therapy session that actually ends up working. Bob tells him that his parents loved him, because their cruelty made him stronger. At which point Burns’ heart grows three sizes, and he and Smithers race out to deliver Christmas presents to everyone, making their Christmas jolly again.
At which point, you’d think the episode was over. But this thing just won’t quit. We first see the Simpsons opening gifts, only for Homer and Marge to attempt to sneak away and have sex after saving Christmas. We also see Bob back in his lighthouse, having a lovely date with that lady from earlier, singing a crazy version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” that’s all about consent, before they start making out. And, finally, we see this insane moment where Burns and some real rich guy named Steve Ballmer meet at an airport and talk about positivity, and the importance of being good during the holidays. At which point, it mercifully ends.
This is a weird one, folks. Primarily due to the fact that I really didn’t think we needed another Sideshow Bob episode. The last one that we had really sent the character off in a great way, and I assumed that that would have been the last we heard of the character. Sideshow Bob had had a bunch of terrible episodes in recent years, but suddenly we had a really strong farewell. Then we got this one. It’s fine. I like the Gnome in the Home gag, and the whole Santa’s North Pole park is a funny gag. I don’t know about all of you, but where I grew up had one of these parks, and even as a kid I was shocked at how low-rent it was, and how specifically designed it was to steal my parent’s money. But, it also has a lot of really lame gags, like the Baby Shark nonsense, and just a pretty boring plot. It’s not really anything special, and really struggles to find any sort of logical conclusion by the end of the episode. I mean, we got three different dangling endings, none of which really worked. Hell, even the whole Mr. Burns of it all came completely out of left field. It just felt a little slapdash, which is disappointing way to potentially end the saga of Sideshow Bob.
“Bobby, It’s Cold Outside” was written by Jeff Westbrook and John Frink and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2019.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons