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"Krusty Gets Busted" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' first season, and originally aired on April 29, 1990. The episode was written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky, and directed by Brad Bird. In the episode, Krusty the Clown, a famous TV comedian, is convicted of the armed robbery of the Kwik-E-Mart. Bart and Lisa investigate, convinced that Krusty has been framed.

This episode marks the first full-fledged appearance of Kent Brockman, and Kelsey Grammer makes his first guest appearance on the show as the voice of Sideshow Bob. The episode was well received by critics, and it was the highest rated show on the Fox Network the week it aired.

Plot

Homer stops by the Kwik-E-Mart on the way home from work and witnesses a robbery committed by a masked clown, resembling Krusty. He positively identifies the clown as Krusty to the police, and Krusty is arrested, convicted and sentenced to jail. With Krusty now in jail, Krusty's sidekick Sideshow Bob becomes the new host of The Krusty the Clown Show, which he renames Sideshow Bobs Cavalcade of Whimsy. Bob promises the viewers that the show will still retain the popular Itchy & Scratchy Show series, but will also become a more educational program. Devastated and feeling that his hero could not have committed the crime, Bart enlists the help of Lisa and they set out to prove Krusty's innocence.

Bart and Lisa return to the scene of the crime to search for clues. They reason that Krusty could not have used the microwave as depicted by the hidden camera footage from the store because he wears a pacemaker, and that Krusty would not have been reading at the magazine rack, because he is illiterate. They conclude that Krusty was framed. The next day, Bart, Lisa and Maggie meet Sideshow Bob at the studio to ask him for input. A suspicious Bob dismisses their investigations and gives them tickets to his show.

At the live broadcast, Bart realizes the final link to the mystery. Bob had the most to gain from Krusty's downfall. He has feet large enough to fill Krusty's clown shoes, unlike Krusty who has small feet like everyone else, and therefore he yelled when Homer stepped on his feet during the robbery. Bart contends that the real robber is Sideshow Bob to the audience, and demonstrates the fact by smashing the end of Bob's shoe with a croquet mallet, causing him to scream in pain. Exposed, Bob confesses that he framed Krusty out of frustration for being constantly on the receiving end of the clown's humiliating gags. He is taken off to jail, swearing revenge on Bart, and the charges are dropped against Krusty. Grateful to be free, Krusty thanks Bart for standing up for the truth and sticking to his convictions.

Production

Brad Bird wanted to open the episode with a close up of Krusty's face. The staff liked the idea and he then suggested that all three acts of the episode, defined by the placement of the commercial breaks, should begin with a close up shot. Act one begins with Krusty's face introducing the audience at his show, act two begins with Krusty's face being locked up behind bars, and act three begins with Sideshow Bob's face on a big poster. Krusty's character is based on a television clown from Portland, Oregonmarker, called Rusty Nails, whom The Simpsons creator Matt Groening watched while growing up in Portland. The original teleplay, written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky, was 78 pages long and many scenes had to be cut. One scene that had to be cut down was the scene were Patty and Selma show the slideshow of their vacation; it originally contained images of them being detained for bringing heroin into America.

Sideshow Bob's first major appearance on The Simpsons was in this episode, but he first appeared in the background of a scene in the season one episode "The Telltale Head". In that appearance, his design was more simple and his hair was round in shape. Bob's design was updated for "Krusty Gets Busted", and the animators tried to redo his scenes in "The Telltale Head" with the re-design, but did not have enough time. The script for "Krusty Gets Busted" called for James Earl Jones to voice Bob, but the producers instead went with Kelsey Grammer, a cast member on Cheers at the time. Kent Brockman and Scott Christian make their first appearances on The Simpsons in this episode.

Cultural references

The close up shot of Krusty's face behind bars in the beginning of act two is a reference of the closing credit motif of the British television series The Prisoner from the 1960s. The background music in that scene resembles the theme of the television series Mission: Impossible at one point. The song "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" by Cole Porter is featured in the episode. Following Sideshow Bob's arrest, he mutters: "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!", which is a reference to the famous line from Hanna-Barbera's animated television show Scooby-Doo.

Reception

In its original American broadcast, "Krusty Gets Busted" finished thirteenth place in the ratings for the week of May 23–29, 1990, with a Nielsen rating of 16.4. It was the highest rated show on the Fox network that week. The episode received generally positive reviews from critics. Series creator Matt Groening listed it as his ninth favorite episode of the The Simpsons and added "I have a peculiar love of TV clownery". Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, praised the episode: "The invention of the Simpsons' arch enemy as a lugubrious yet psychotic Englishman in dreadlocks succeeds wonderfully in this super-fast, super-funny episode that works by constantly reversing the audience's expectations." In a DVD review of the first season, David B. Grelck gave the episode a rating of 3/5. Colin Jacobson at DVD Movie Guide said in a review that "throughout the episode we found great material; it really seemed clear that the show was starting to turn into the piece we now know and love. It’s hard for me to relate any deficiencies" and added that "almost every Bob episode offers a lot of fun, and this episode started that trend in fine style."

References

  1. "Krusty Gets Busted" The Simpsons.com. Retrieved on August 29, 2008
  2. Krusty Gets Busted BBC.co.uk. Retrieved on August 31, 2008


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