[2F02] Sideshow Bob Roberts

Sideshow Bob Roberts                              Written by Bill Oakley & Josh
                                                      Directed by Mark Kirkland
Production code: 2F02                        Original airdate in N.A.: 9-Oct-94
                                                  Capsule revision F, 12-Dec-95

Title sequence

Blackboard :- None due to shortened intro.

Lisa's Solo:- None due to shortened intro.

Couch      :- The family's eyes all run in in darkness -- and when the
              lights come on, the bodies run in after the eyes.  The
              bodies sit down on the couch and lean forward, sticking
              their eyes in their sockets with a popping sound.
              Recycled from 1F06.

Did you notice...

    ... one of the names on the voters list was "Stampy"?

Dave Hall:
    ... Carl leaves his stir stick in his coffee?
    ... Maggie doesn't have her pacifier at breakfast?
    ... Maggie doesn't want to eat what Marge was giving her?
    ... the huge map of the world at the Republican Party headquarters?
    ... the satellite dish on top of the Springfield Retirement Castle?
    ... one of the Retirement Castle's residents is waving an IV bag?
    ... Quimby needs someone to pick up the phone for him?
    ... sideshow Bob shakes a fish out of his hair?
    ... Springfield has a gallows?
    ... in the TV prison Ad, one of the prisoners looks like Richie
    ... the van with the satellite linkup in front of Springfield
        Community Center?
    ... even Quimby's body guards leave him when Quimby loses the
    ... the on-site outhouses in front of the Simpson garage?
    ... the error in the Hanna-Barbera copyright disclaimer (in the
        closing credits)?  (The 2nd "and" should be "are".)

Don Del Grande:
    ... the clocks behind Birch Barlow say (from left to right) Los
        Angeles, Springfield, New York, Boston (although the clock faces
        are not shown)?
    ... Bart was going to shoot off fireworks indoors?
    ... when Lisa is driving, she can't see over the dashboard?
    ... when Bob calls the radio, he says he's in South Springfield?
    ... Sideshow Bob's middle name is Underdunk?
    ... Birch Barlow, Rainier Wolfcastle (McBain), Dr. Hibbert, Mr.
        Burns, and Burns' chief lawyer are Republicans?
    ... Homer must be fatter than we imagined if he can absorb the
        weight of a wrecking ball trying to smash down his house?

Aaron Varhola:
    ... Maggie has Mr. Teeny, a Care Bear, and green Binky in her crib?

Matthew Kurth:
    ... even Joe Quimby listens to Birch Barlow?
    ... Quimby has a set of golf clubs behind the closet door?
    ... Quimby has a cannabis plant under a growing lamp in his closet?
    ... Lisa is at the "Gripe at the Mayor Night" at the Springfield
        Retirement Castle?  (she's right behind Jasper)
    ... Lisa calls Quimby "Uncle Mayor"?
    ... Jimbo once again imitates Beavis & Butt-Head?
    ... the prisoners released via the escalator and ski lift in SSB's
        commercial are cheering when they reached freedom?
    ... SSB keeps the floppy disks with the fraud records in his hair?

Tony Hill:
    ... Sideshow Bob wears a hard hat?
    ... Smithers doesn't exhale smoke?

Voice credits

- Starring
    - Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Quimby, Abe, "sexy dames" man, Barney,
      Krusty, coxswain)
    - Julie Kavner (Marge)
    - Nancy Cartwright (Bart)
    - Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
    - Hank Azaria (KBBL announcer, Carl, Skinner, Chinese principals,
      Marty, Moe, man in Quimby ad, man in Bob ad, Fred Flintstone, man
      in Hall of Records)
    - Harry Shearer (Lenny, Birch Barlow, Jasper, prison guard, Burns,
      senator, Dr. Hibbert, Ranier Wolfcastle, Kent Brockman, Smithers,
- Special Guest Voice
    - Dr. Demento (himself)
    - Kelsey Grammer (Sideshow Bob)
    - Phil Hartman (Lionel Hutz)
    - Larry King (himself)
    - Marcia Wallace (Mrs. Krabappel)
- Also Starring
    - Henry Corden (Fred Flintstone {rl})
    - Pamela Hayden (Jimbo, Milhouse, Kindergarten teacher)

Movie (and other) references

  + "Bob Roberts"
    - episode title
    - Bob campaigning at an elementary school and appealing to kids with
      stunts, like Bob Roberts playing guitar there {mk}
    - Sideshow Bob walks in wrapped in a US flag, just like movie poster
  + Rush Limbaugh
    - Birch Barlow an obvious takeoff: similar name, appearance,
      speaking manner, political views
  + Alcatraz {av}
    - Springfield prison looks like it
  + Disney's "The Little Mermaid" {mk}
    - Bob's hair and the design on his shirt right after the fish falls
      out is reminiscent of the ending of Ariel at the end of the "Part
      of Your World" number
    - note Mickey Mouse ears in cloud over his head
  + Arnold Schwarzenegger's Republican-ness
    - McBain (an Arnie takeoff) being at the Republican Headquarters
  + Bush's "Willie Horton" commercial {bwd}
    - Sideshow Bob commercial similar
  + First Nixon/Kennedy debate (1960)
    - logo on camera is early 1960's CBS logo {mk}
    - see comments section
  + Dukakis/Bush debate (1984)
    - see comments section
  + "Citizen Kane" {bwd}
    - "Bob" backdrop, just like "Kane" backdrop
    - Smithers appearing as "Deep Throat" {rl}
  + "All the President's Men"
    - overhead pullback of Lisa in Hall of Records
    - Smithers posing as man in shadows, Hal Holbrook
  + "A Few Good Men"
    - Bob: "You can't handle the truth!" just like Nicholson
  + Allenwood Minimum Security Prison {av}
    - it's called "Springwood Minimum Security Prison"

Previous episode references

- [7G12] Bob framing Krusty for robbery
- [7G12] Sideshow Bob's evil laugh before second commercial {av}
- [7F01], [1F01] Citizen Kane is referenced {av}
- [7F19] Lisa makes a comment about "the lowest common denominator" {av}
- [7F20], [9F03], [1F16], [1F17] Simpson children driving cars {av}
- [8F01] Lisa exposes political corruption {av}
- [8F20] Bob attempting to murder Selma
- [1F03] "No Fat Chicks" appears {av}

Freeze frame fun

- Mayoral seal: "Mayor of Springfield - Corruptus in Extremus" {mk}
- The flag on the right in his office has nothing visible on it {mk}
- Some people at the Republican Party Headquarters: Burns, Smithers,
  McBain, Birch Barlow, a demon, Burns' lawyer, Dr. Hibbert, Antoine Tex
  O'Hara, Sideshow Bob {dh}
- Sign: {mk}
 Mayoral Debates
 Mass Wedding of
  Cult Members
- At the debate: {ddg}
    - Mr. & Mrs. Van Houten, Lenny, Carl
- The Flintstone phone characters: {mk}
    - Fred, Wilma, Dino
    - Betty, Barney, Hoppy
    - Bamm-Bamm, Pebbles, Mr. Slate
- Sign: {mk}
Springfield  Hall of Records
Not the Good Kind of Records,
     Historical Ones
- The sign says "Pay & Park & Pay" {mk}
- Springfield Courthouse seal: "Liberty and Justice for Most, 1932" {mk}
- When SSB gives his speech at the trial, the clock to his left reads
  4:55.  {mk}
- Sign says "Springwood Minimum Security Prison" {mk}

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

KBBL is now a talk radio station and is at about 960 on the AM dial.
(What happened to Bill and Marty?)  {ddg}

Why are there (at least) two clocks behind Barlow with the same time?

The radio in Homer's car only goes up to 1400 on the AM dial.  {av}

Lisa says that Sideshow Bob was arrested for framing Krusty in 1990; in
"Krusty Gets Busted", Maggie is in the audience with Lisa when Bart
exposes Bob, which is a pretty good stunt as Maggie, who's "currently"
one year old (as always), wouldn't have been born for another three

After Bart yanks the radio's plug out of the wall, the radio keeps
playing.  {av}

Quimby's aide starts writing "Matlock" on the expressway map before
Quimby comes up with the name.  {ddg}

Since when does a mayor have pardon ability?  And since when is
Springfield Prison on an island (especially since Maggie ran into it
once with the car)?  {ddg}

The "Springfield Shopper" that calls for Bob to be freed mentions a "No
Fat Chicks" ordinance, yet the only levers in the voting booths are for
the mayoral race.  {ddg}

Bart & Lisa move from the front to the back row during the schoolground
debate.  {dh}

The SSB ad violates campaign laws because neither his voice nor image
appears in it.  {th}

Bart gets sent back four grades, yet Lisa (who, if anything, was more
responsible for sending him to prison the first time) stays in second
grade.  {ddg}

Why does Smithers need a ride home?  How did he get to the garage if not
by car?  {th}

There are no lap belts in the car.  {th}

Lisa's backpack disappears.  {dh}

The phone book Bart reads has names Gaines, Getty, Gordon, and "A
Gorilla" (not "Gorilla A", like it should be); it's hard to believe
there's only one family in Springfield whose names fall between Gaines
and Gordon.  {ddg}

Why would the Springfield phone book have Springfield beside each name?

In [9F04], Snowball's gravestone was flat; here it is upright.  {av}

Bob holds up two binders but puts four on the judge's table.


Mark Harpt: The latest episode of the Simpsons was terrible.  Why the
    rip on Republicans?  Someone's very afraid of the upcoming
    elections.  The media is back to their spreading of propaganda and
    misinformation.  No wonder nobody trusts them anymore.

Shane C. Erstad: All in all a fairly good episode -- not quite as good
    as last week but better than the rest of the season.  [...] The
    Limbaugh stuff was done perfectly -- down to the tapping of the
    fingers and pauses.

Eduardo Romo: No matter who wants to flame me, or this episode...I still
    loved it.  Liberal, or conservative...it doesn't matter...it is
    still the most hilarious program on television these days (although,
    as someone posted earlier, Animaniacs is edging closer).

Vaughn Jett: I was delighted with the first season 6 episode that didn't
    suck.  I think Homer himself might have best described my opinion of
    the first 4 episodes of the season when he said, "THE DREAM IS
    OVER!!"  [...] But now I'm relieved to see that the show isn't
    ruined forever.

Jeff M. Lodoen: I wonder what the writers were intending.  Was it good-
    natured ribbing or serious discourse.  Are people who take it
    seriously and use the episode as a way of judging Republican (whew!)
    taking the correct view?  But it was so overblown, that I _do_ take
    it as a joke.

Irwin Bailey: Although I've enjoyed the show, it's been well over a year
    since I missed huge chunks of an episode because I was literally on
    the floor, paralyzed with laughter.  Until tonight, that is.  I was
    laughing so hard when I watched it on tape the SECOND time that I
    missed parts.

Brian Phillips: The Simpsons seemed to give each side their lumps and
    was, for me, the funniest episode this season.

Carl Mueller: SUCKED really, really, really bad.  Without a doubt it was
    the worst episode ever.  The Simpsons new 'direction' is clear, and
    I don't like it one bit.  I'm really starting to feel stupid taping
    this show.  Grade: E-

Carl Frank: What can you say.  .  .by far, the best of the season.  Even
    though I am a registered Republican, the parody was excellent.  [...
    ] Overall grade: A-.  Perhaps there's some hope for this season
    after all.

Tom Celentano: I was a little offended by the attacks on Rush and
    'Republicans' at first, but then realized this is not to be taken
    seriously.  What bothered me more is that this episode was no
    funnier than the others this season.  It had amusing moments, and
    the satire was good as always.  But there were almost no LOL lines
    or gags.

James Hempel: BEST OF THE YEAR.  It was timely, fitting in nicely with
    the current election season.  I am a staunch Republican, but still
    found the humor unoffensive and hilarious.  I thought the Rush
    Limbaugh character was right on the money.

Rich Haan: Well I must say I was a bit disappointed with this episode.
    Not so much for the political portrayals (I'm Libertarian), but
    because, with a name like _Sideshow Bob Roberts_, I expected great
    things.  [...] Overall grade: B.

Mark Graban: Count me in as another republican who found the show
    hilarious!  Maybe I've been brainwashed by the liberal university

Tiare L. Williams Hey, you guys aren't alone.  I'm a Republican, and I
    wasn't offended, as untrue as the show was.  I mean, it's only
    obvious, and it's only humor - Remember humor, folks?  The Archie
    bit was weird.  I liked it.

Marc Singer: "Sideshow Bob Roberts" was the first *really* good Simpsons
    episode in a looooooong time...god, I hope the rest of Season Six is
    like this one and not the first four (since only one of those first
    four was a "real" Season Six episode, I'd say chances are good that
    we're in for one hell of a season).

Don Del Grande: B - it was a good episode, but just didn't seem that

Eric Perozziello: The really sad thing is that the episode had no humor
    value, and was a blatant attack on political views...in a cartoon!
    Welcome to sleazy politics in the nineties.

Aaron Varhola: An instant classic.  Just on the rung below "Moaning
    Lisa" and "Last Exit to Springfield".  Snappy lines, clean
    references, mostly good gags, probably the most banal Grampa story
    ever, deadly political satire, and a lot of subtle touches that
    work, such as proper timing of the scenes.  A+

Matthew Kurth: Sideshow Bob saves The Simpsons!  Everything was
    absolutely on-target with this one.  I can't list enough
    superlatives, so I won't.  Bob's not attempting to kill Bart was
    conspicuous by its absence, though.  Near perfection. 10/10!

Tony Hill: Not up to the level of the other SSB episodes.  The political
    jabs were quite keen, but the comedy was a bit muted.  There seemed
    to be too much disjointed lampooning.  The more subtle political
    refs we get from time to time are more clever.  I give it a B-.

Yours truly: A strong showing, and different from the other Sideshow Bob
    shows -- perhaps better.  If I lived in the US, I'd be a Democrat,
    but I don't think the painting of the Republicans was unfair.  It's
    just a cartoon, people.  An amusing, exaggerated satire.  Grade: B+.

Comments and other observations

Famous people in this episode

Tony Hill explains:

    - Birch Barlow is an obvious takeoff on Rush Limbaugh.  Limbaugh is
      the current reigning conservative talk show host, having displaced
      Morton Downey Jr. from that role.
    - Oliver North was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice
      in the Iran-Contra scandal.  He is currently running as a
      Republican for the U.S Senate from Virginia.  [he was defeated -
    - Stacey Koon was convicted of conspiracy to violate the civil
      rights of Rodney King.  He was fired from the Los Angeles Police
      Department.  [they call him "Koons" incorrectly in the episode -
    - Joe Camel is a cartoon character under constant fire from anti-
      smoking groups.  As a result of his activity, Camel Cigarettes are
      now a top seller in the U.S. for the first time in 60 years.

"Gung Hay Fat Choy"

Don Del Grande says this translates as "Happy New Year".

Archie Comics

Tony Hill notes, "Moose, Archie, Reggie, and Jughead tossed Homer out of
    Archie's jalopy.  They and their friends have been students at
    Riverdale High for some 50 years."

Debate similarities

Keith Smith writes, "Quimby looked sweaty and haggard in the debate with
    Bob.  In the first televised 1960 debate between Nixon and Kennedy,
    Nixon `lost' the debate in many viewer's eyes because of his
    appearance.  He had just got out of the hospital and the camera and
    his makeup made him look haggard.  He also sweated quite a bit and
    Nixon himself has said that his appearance may have cost him the
    He continues, "The Rush Limbaugh character asked Quimby if he would
    have the same views on crime if his own family were victims.  During
    the 1988 debates, Bernard Shaw challenged Dukakis' soft views on
    crime by asking him if he would feel the same way if his wife were
    the victim.  Dukakis' seemingly emotionless answer made him appear
    somewhat cold and callous."

Smithers' sexual orientation

Yes, it seems certain now.  Smithers speaks of ultra-conservative
    conflict with his "choice of lifestyle".  Looks as though he's gay.

Groening quotes Internet!

One poster on alt.tv.simpsons, Paul S. Galvanek, felt the entire episode
    was an unnecessary attack on the Republican Party.  His posts were
    voluminous, scathing, and badly spelled; Matt Groening actually
    quoted many of them directly in his 28-Oct-94 "Life in Hell" strip.
    The strip is reproduced here.  Thanks to Mike Worden for typing this
    Panel 1:
    Groening bunny sits at his laptop.  Thought balloon - "I feel
    depressed and listless today.  Think I'll check out the ol'
    Panel 2:
    (tap tap tap)
    Read my newsgroups.
    Select alt.tv.simpsons
    Read new messages.
    Panel 3: (Reads message) In one of the most obscene efforts at mass
    character assassination in television history, the entire thirty
    minutes of last night's "Simpsons" episode were dedicated to
    expressing every false and liberal-inspired misrepresentation of the
    Republican Party ever created by a Democratic spin doctor.
    Panel 4: (message continues) You have no clue how riled up I am, but
    the companies that sponsored the pile of garbage last night might be
    getting a hint this week.  Dirty lying scumbags like Groening need
    to be confronted by their hypocrisy and slanders.
    Panel 5: (continues) There is nothing amusing, no satire, in
    attempting to smear the Republican Party with the actual and very
    serious crimes known to have been committed by the Democratic Party.
    Panel 6: (continues) Despite the best efforts of the Groenings of
    this world and the losers who support them, to slander their
    opponents every chance the get, they're just five short weeks away
    from finding out the hard way that people are wise to their crap.
    Panel 7: (continues) Don't let the sleaziest least ethical elements
    of the left wing in television get away with slandering the
    Republican Party and its members.  Attacks on you and the values you
    represent should not go unanswered.
    Panel 8: (continues) I would get such a kick right about now in
    seeing Groening writhing in pain as he dangled by a section of his
    intestine from a tree.  At the very least I'm hoping for a sloooooow
    painful death via some horrible illness of his nervous system, on
    that allows him to remain fully aware until his very last breath.
    Panel 9:
    Groening bunny smiles.  Thought balloon - "Why do I feel so suddenly

Quotes and Scene Summary

[Syndication cuts are marked in curly braces "{}" and are courtesy of
Ricardo Lafaurie.]

The scene opens with a shot of the KBBL radio building.

No sports, no rock, no information,
For mindless chatter, we're your station!
-- KBBL radio's jingle, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

The scene shifts to Homer eating donuts at the power plant.

Announcer: KBBL talk radio.  And now Springfield's favorite conservative
           and author of the well-selling book, "Only Turkeys Have Left
           Wings."  Ladies and gentlemen, Birch Barlow.
     Carl: Ecch!  That Barlow's a right-wing crackpot.  He said Ted
           Kennedy lacked integrity!  Can you believe that?
    Lenny: Yeah, switch the station.  I consider myself politically
           correct, and his views makes me [shivers] uncomfortable.
    Homer: Nonononono, guys...I'm not very political -- I usually think
           people who vote are a bit "fruity" [Lenny and Carl walk off]
           -- but for some reason this Birch Barlow really speaks to me.
           [chomps, chews]
            [scene shift to inside KBBL; Birch chows on donuts too]
   Barlow: Good morning, fellow freedom-likers.  Birch Barlow, the
           fourth branch of government, the fifty-first state...
-- Less-than-subtle parodies, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Barlow: You know, there are three things we're never going to get rid of
        here in Springfield: one, the bats in the public library --
         [scene switch to man opening card catalog and screaming as bats
        fly out]
        -- two, Mrs. McFierly's compost heap --
         [scene switch to huge compost pile and Mrs. McFierly rocking
        nearby with a shotgun, cackling]
        -- and three, our six-term mayor,
         [scene switch to Quimby watering a marijuana plant]
        the illiterate, tax-cheating, wife-swapping, pot-smoking,
        spendocrat Diamond Joe Quimby.
Quimby: Hey: I am no longer illiterate.
-- Slow but steady self-improvement, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Barlow: Now, why are we doomed to this Quimby Quagmire, you ask, oh
        reasonable listener?  Because this town is under the
        stranglehold of a few tie-dyed tree-huggers who would rather
        play hackeysack than lock up the homeless.
-- Those wonderful conservative theories, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

The scene shifts to Simpson kitchen with Bart eating, Lisa taking notes,
and Marge feeding a resistant Maggie.

   Marge: [hearing radio] Mmm...this sounds awfully controversial.
          Lisa, you _know_ I don't like controversy in this house.
    Lisa: I don't like him either, Mom, but I'm doing a report on local
          politics for my school project.
    Bart: You think you're so big because your class always gets to do
          projects.  [condescending] Well, um, I'm doing a school
          project on, er, fireworks.  [displays a bundle]
   Marge: Mmm...Bart, I wish you wouldn't lie like that.  [takes bundle,
          douses it in sink, throws it away]
           [at school]
 Skinner: And now, as a special sendoff and a way to say "Gong Hei Fatt
          Choy" to our visiting Chinese principals, Bart Simpson has
          promised us a fireworks display.  [motions to Bart]
           [Bart looks at Edna and groans as she gives him "F"]
Princ. 1: All week, he promise big firework display.
Princ. 2: Bad student.
Princ. 1: Uh-uh...bad principal.
-- "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Homer and Lisa drive in the car with the radio tuned to KBBL.

Barlow: So, my friends, let's just junk those Dumbocrats and their
        bleeding-heart smellfare program.
  Lisa: Dad, I had to listen to this jerk all morning.  Can we listen to
        something else?
 Homer: When _I'm_ driving the car, _I_ get to choose the radio station.
        When _you're_ driving, we'll listen to _your_ radio station.
         [scene switch to Lisa driving and smiling as she listens to
        John Parr's "St. Elmo's Fire" theme]
 Homer: [moans] I can't take this any more!  Let's switch back.
-- Springfield, where the driving age is eight, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

They do indeed switch back as Barlow takes a phone call from a listener.

Barlow: All right, my friends, let's go to the phones.  First up is Bob
        from South Springfield.  Welcome to you, sir.
   Bob: Hello, Birch.  Long-time listener, first-time caller.  Kudos for
        bringing the public back to the Republican party.  It's high
        time people realized we conservatives aren't all Johnny
        Hatemongers, Charlie Bible Thumps, or even -- God forbid --
        George Bushes.
  Lisa: [gasps] That sounds like Sideshow Bob!
 Homer: Yes, ma'am.  Sideshow Bob, yakking it up on the old yak box.
  Lisa: Dad, I'll spare you the embarrassment of admitting you don't
        know who Sideshow Bob is.
 Homer: Phew!
-- Lisa, making it easier on Daddy, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Lisa explains, with the help of flashbacks, who Sideshow Bob is.

 Lisa: Sideshow Bob used to be Krusty the Klown's sidekick.  In 1990 he
       framed Krusty for armed robbery and Bart got him put in jail.
Homer: Uh huh.
 Lisa: When he got out, he married Aunt Selma and tried to murder her.
Homer: Oh, Side_show_ Bob.
-- Placing the emphasis carefully, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

At home, Lisa enters Bart's room.

 Lisa: Bart, your mortal enemy is on the radio!  [turns it on]
Marty: It's time for more deeee-mentia with Dr. Demento.
 Bart: Aah!  [tosses radio out window]
Marty: And now, "The Funny Five"!
 Lisa: I meant your _other_ mortal enemy.  Sideshow Bob.
 Bart: [gasping] Sideshow Bob?  Oh.  I'm only ten and I already got two
       mortal enemies.
-- It's not clear which is more frightening, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Quimby holds "Gripe at the Mayor" night at the Springfield Retirement
Castle.  He motions at a board with a layout for a new expressway.

Quimby: And this proposed expressway will bring increased commerce to
        our local merchants.
         [people gab amongst themselves]
   Abe: What's in it for us?
Jasper: Yeah, give us something we like or we'll ride you out of town on
        a rail!
Quimby: Ahem, well, uh, what do you people like?
Jasper: Sleep.
   Man: Sexy dames, and plenty of 'em.
   Abe: Maaatloock!
         [murmurs of assent]
Quimby: Well, I suppose I could name it the "Matlock Expressway".
         [everyone cheers]
-- His honor polls the electorate, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Bart listens to a walkman in class.

   Bob: [on the radio] But it would be terribly myopic of me to blame
        all my current woes on one spiky-haired little simpleton.
Barlow: Mm hm, myopic.  Or to say the least, intransigent.  Now you
        mentioned some woes there.
   Bob: Well...you see, Birch, I'm presently incarcerated.
         [scene switch to prison where a riot is taking place]
        Convicted of a crime I didn't even commit.  Hah!  Attempted
        murder?  Now honestly, what is that?  Do they give a Nobel prize
        for attempted chemistry?  Do they?
         [Bob ducks as a toilet smashes overhead]
        Oh, really, now!  This _is_ a personal call.
-- Inconsiderate rioters, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Barlow: My friends, isn't this just typical?  Another intelligent
        conservative here, railroaded by our liberal justice system,
        just like [reads lists] Colonel Oliver North, officer Stacey
        Koons, and cartoon Smokespeson Joe Camel.
         [scene switch back to Bart listening to walkman in class]
        Well, I've had it!  I am going to make it my mission to see that
        our friend Bob is set free.
  Bart: Nooo!  [class stops, looks at him]
  Edna: Well, _despite_ Bart's objections, the people of South Africa
        can now vote in free democratic elections.
-- Bart's secret pro-apartheid agenda, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

The scene switches to Moe's, where everyone listens to the radio.

Barlow: [on the radio] My friends, Bob is a political prisoner.  I want
        every loyal listener to do everything they can to get him out of
   Moe: All right, you heard the man.  [pulls out a box] One grenade
        each.  [hands them out]
Barney: Moe, I think he meant through nonviolent, grassroots political
   Moe: Aw, geez, really, you think so?  [pause] All right, give 'em
        back.  [everyone moans] C'mon, everybody, give 'em back.  Hey.
        Hey!  Who pulled the pin on this one?
-- Fire in the hole, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

The headline on the Springfield Shopper reads, "Bob Pardon: #1 Local
Issue", with a subheading, "Edges Out 'No Fat Chicks' Ordinance".
Quimby puts his fist down.

Quimby: Very well.  If that is the way the winds are blowing, let no one
        say I don't also blow.  [dials phone]
         [scene shift to Bob leaving prison]
        By special order of the mayor of Springfield, you are hereby
        granted a full and complete pardon.  Congratulations, Robert
        Underdunk Terwilliger.
   Bob: Aah!  [falls off cliff into water]
 Guard: [calling down] Boat's on the other side.
   Bob: Yes, thank you.
-- By the way, he was being sarcastic, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

[End of Act One.  Time: 6:29]

The scene opens at night with the camera moving towards a sinister-
looking castle with a sign, "Republican Party Headquarters".  Inside, a
group of men sits around a table in a large room with a fireplace.
Smithers hands out martinis to Ranier Wolfcastle, Birch Barlow, and a
ghoul, who takes his bloody martini and slurps it down.  Mr. Burns walks

  Burns: Hail, brothers.  Coranon Silaria, Ozoo Mahoke.
          [everyone answers "Mahoke"]
         Now, then, gentlemen, the mayoral campaign is upon us.  And if
         we hope to defeat this Joe Quimby, we need a candidate with
         name recognition and media savvy -- a true leader who'll do
         exactly as he's told.
 Barlow: Monty, I'm way ahead of you.  If you'll just open that door
         you'll see the next mayor of Springfield.
          [door opens to reveal a water cooler; everyone applauds]
          [the cooler bubbles]
Senator: What'd it say?
 Barlow: No, no, no, Bob.  Bob, come in!
    Bob: [enters wrapped in a US flag] A fine "Mahoke" to you all.
Hibbert: Why, he's even better.
 Ranier: I agree.  I like the human touch.
-- At the Republican Party headquarters, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

At Springfield Elementary there's a "The Candidates Speak on Education"
event.  Skinner lectures the students who are assembled out on the lawn.

Skinner: Now, students, I want you to be on your best behavior for this
         carefully-choreographed media event.  Now this means there is
         to be no wising-off, no face-making, and no grass-eating.  This
         means you, Ralph.
  Ralph: [through a full mouth] Yes, sir.
-- The candidates speak at Springfield Elementary, "Sideshow Bob

   Bob: Hello, children.  [with malice] Hello, Bart.
  Bart: Eep.
   Bob: Young friends, my opponent, Joe Quimby, is confused about your
        school system.  Do you know what he does?  He flip-flops.
         [does backflips; children marvel]
        Sometimes he doesn't know whether he's coming or going.
         [walks funny; children clap and cheer]
        He wants to sell your future short.
         [shrinks, walks sideways; children clap more]
  Lisa: Hmm.  Bart, we can't let Bob steal the spotlight.  We're going
        to have to stoop to the lowest common denominator.
  Bart: I can do that.
         [they jump into Quimby's arms]
Quimby: Aah!  Help!  I'm being attacked by...things!
         [cameras turn from Bob juggling to Quimby]
  Lisa: [chilidishly] [giggles] Uncle Mayor was just saying that us kids
        are the most important natural resource we have.
  Kent: More important than _coal_?!
Quimby: [uncertain] Uh, yes.
-- Kent "living in the 19th century" Brockman, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Someone grabs Bart from Quimby's arms and drags him into a limousine.
Inside, Bart struggles as two men hold him.  Bob sits across from them.

Bob: That was a _big_ mistake, Bart.  No children have ever meddled with
     the Republican Party and lived to tell about it.
-- Bob chides Bart for his stunt, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Bob snaps his fingers.  The two men next to Bart reach inside their
suits menacingly as Bart frets.  They pull out a red, white, and blue
elephant and a "Vote Bob" button and put them on Bart, then toss him out
of the limo on his front lawn.  The limo speeds away as Archie's jalopy
pulls up in front of the Simpson house; Homer is tossed out by Moose who
warns him, "Duh, stay out of Riverdale."

A TV commercial for Quimby is shown.

Singers: Without a Mayor Quimby, our town would really sink,
          [a garbage truck with a "Vote Quimby" ad empties a bin]
         We wouldn't have a tire yard, or a mid-size roller rink.
          [Quimby grins next to burning tires, then roller skates]
         We wouldn't have our gallows, or our shiny Bigfoot trap,
          [Quimby grins through noose, then smiles next to trap]
         It's not the mayor's fault that the stadium collapsed.
          [Quimby surveys damage sadly, then shrugs and smiles]
  Voice: Quimby.  If you were running for mayor, he'd vote for you.
         Paid for by the "Mayor Quimby for Mayor" Mayoral Committee.
-- A campaign ad for Diamond Joe, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Bart and Lisa do their part, handing out bumper stickers outside.

    Bart: [to passers-by] Hey Four-eyes!  Vote Quimby.  Hey Beardo!
          Vote Quimby.
    Lisa: This time he's the _lesser_ of two evils.
   Jimbo: Uh, yeah, yeah.  I love Grimby.  Uh, can I have some more
          bumper stickers, please, dude?
           [Bart gives him some]
           [Jimbo walks back to shopping cart with Milhouse inside,
          taped up with bumper stickers, and covers Milhouse's eyes with
          All right!  The mummy's ready for his mystical journey.
           [Kearney pushes the cart down a hill]
Milhouse: Aah!  What's happening?!
-- Moe Grimby for mayor?, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

{Sideshow Bob listens to gripes at the Springfield Retirement Castle.}

Abe: {That Quimby fellow promised to build us a Matlooock Expressway.
     How're you going to top that, smart guy?}
Bob: {Hmm.  Well, how's this?  I'll not only build the expressway, I
     will spend the rest of this afternoon patiently listening to your
     interminable anecdotes.}
Abe: {Hot ziggety-zam!  Me first.
      [old people surround Bob, grinning]
     Not many people know I owned the first radio in Springfield.
     Weren't much on the air then, just Edison reciting the alphabet
     over and over.  "A!" he'd say, then "B".  "C" would usually follow
Bob: {[groans] Oh...}
-- A tough promise to keep, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

A TV commercial for Sideshow Bob is shown.

       [scene shows prisoners going in a revolving door and coming out
Voice: Mayor Quimby supports revolving door prisons.  Mayor Quimby even
       released Sideshow Bob -- a man twice convicted of attempted
        [scene shows prisoners leaving on escalator and ski lift]
       Can you trust a man like Mayor Quimby?  Vote Sideshow Bob for
-- A campaign ad for Sideshow Bob, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

The Springfield Community Center holds mayoral debates.  The camera
descends towards the table of panelists.

King: The League of Uninformed Voters presents the Springfield Mayoral
      Debates.  I'm your moderator, Larry King.  Now, a word to our
      audience: even though we're being broadcast on...Fox, there's no
      need for obnoxious hooting and hollering.
       [audience hoots and hollers]
King: Oh...
-- Enacting the status quo, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Offstage, Bob gets a blowdry and comb.  He glances at some cue cards,
then tries on a couple of smiles before selecting one and walking out.
Quimby, meanwhile, looks terrible.  He sneezes into a hanky.

Quimby: [with a cold] I shouldn't have shaken hands with those old
         [Bart hands him some pills; Quimby eats a handful, then
        stumbles on stage]
  Lisa: I hope that flu doesn't affect his performance out there.
  Bart: Don't worry...he's taken a million of these capsules.
         [box says "Extra-Drowsy Formula"]
-- Eep, indeed, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

First question goes to Birch Barlow.

Barlow: Sideshow Bob, councilman Les Whinen says that you're not
        experienced enough to be mayor.  Sir, what do you have to say
        about that?
   Bob: I'd say that Les Whinen ought to do more thinking and less
         [audience laughs and claps]
  Lisa: There's no councilman Les Whinen.
  Bart: [chuckling] Good line, though.
Barlow: Mayor Quimby, you're well-known, sir, for your lenient stance on
        crime.  But suppose for a second that _your_ house was ransacked
        by thugs, _your_ family tied up in the basement with socks in
        their mouths, you try to open the door but there's too much
        _blood_ on the knob --
Quimby: What is your question?
Barlow: My question is about the budget, sir.
-- The Springfield Mayoral Debates, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Quimby groans and drips sweat.  Lisa and Bart watch, aghast, then turn
to a TV broadcast of the Mayor.  A ring of fire appears around Quimby's
head with a caption that reads, "Flames added electronically by Channel
Six".  Quimby's hair, coincidentally, points up in two places, giving
him the appearance of having horns.

It's election day.  Homer steps behind the curtain in front of a voting

 Homer: [looks at ballot information] Hmm...I don't agree with his Bart-
        killing policy, but I do approve of his Selma-killing policy.
        [votes for Bob]
Krusty: Well, he framed me for armed robbery, but man, I'm aching for
        that upper-class tax cut.  [votes for Bob]
-- Springfield voters, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

At Quimby's headquarters, everyone watches anxiously as the results come

Kent: And the results are in.  For Sideshow Bob, 100%, for Joe Quimby,
      1%.  And we remind you there is a 1% margin of error.
-- The election results, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Everyone moans and leaves.  A cleanup man sweeps for a bit, then grabs a
couple of bottles of champagne and runs out.  The news goes live to Bob
headquarters for his victory speech.  Bob laughs uncontrollably as Kent
observes, "And just look how happy he is!"

[End of Act Two.  Time: 13:29]

Home and Marge are asleep in bed when a loud banging awakens them,
shaking the whole house.

Homer: Aah!  It's the Rapture!  Quick, get Bart out of the house before
       God comes!
-- Homer is awakened by construction, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Maggie and her stuffed toys are bounced around in her crib to the sound
of loud thudding.  Homer runs out in his pyjamas.

  Bob: So sorry, Mr. Simpson.  Your house is blocking construction of
       our new Matlock Expressway.
        [camera pulls back to show expressway looming overhead]
       Now, I am a fair man.  You will have 72 hours to vacate.  At that
       time we will blow up your house and any remaining Simpsons.
Marge: Homer, we've got to stop them!
Homer: I know what you're up to, Mayor Terwigiger.  And no one in my
       family's going to stand for it.
        [Abe honks horn from atop expressway]
  Abe: Move your goldurn house, son!
-- No one except him, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

At Springfield Elementary, Bart opens his locker as Skinner approaches.

Skinner: Bart, by special request of the Mayor's office, you are going
         to be left back.
   Bart: Oh.  You mean I have to repeat the fourth grade?
Skinner: Well, yes, but not for four or five years.  Bart, you're going
         to kindergarten.
   Bart: Kindergarten?!
   Edna: [pops champagne cork] Hah!
-- A cause for celebration, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

On Bart's first day in his new class...

Teacher: [slowly] Now, boys and girls, who knows what this is?
   Bart: [cocky] Triangle.
Teacher: Very good, Bart!  You have first choice of toys for free play.
   Bart: Cool!  I call the Flintstone Phone.
          [dials it]
   Fred: Yabba dabba do, I like talkin' to you!
-- I'll bet you do, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

At dinner, Homer laments the construction of the new highway.

Homer: We're going to lose our house and end up living under a bridge
       like common trolls.
 Lisa: I don't think Bob won that election legally.  I can't believe a
       convicted felon would get so many votes and another convicted
       felon would get so few.
-- Sound reasoning, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

So Lisa heads off to the Springfield Hall of Records.

 Man: [carrying large stack of paper] Here you go: the results of last
      month's mayor election.  All 48000 voters and who each one of them
      voted for.
Lisa: I thought this was a secret ballot.
 Man: Ehh.
-- Secret, schmecret, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Lisa lugs the list off to a table and begins going through it.  "OK,
Aaron A. Aaronson voted for...Bob.  Aaron L. Aaronson voted for...Bob.
Arthur B. Ablabab voted for...Bob."  But she groans, tiring quickly, and
falls asleep.

A shadow approaches her and leaves an envelope in front of her.
Awakening, she notices the envelope, looks around, and seeing no one,
opens it and reads.  She gasps.

 Bart: So whoever it is who wrote that note wants to meet us here
 Lisa: This is so cool, Bart.  We're just like Woodward and Bernstein.
 Bart: Yeah, except their dad wasn't waiting in the car reading Archie
Homer: Stuck-up Riverdale punks...think they're too good for me!
-- Homer's greatest failing, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

The children approach a shadowy figure with a cigarette.

     Man: You're on the right track.  Follow the names.
    Bart: How the hell do you know?
     Man: [takes a drag] I can't tell you who I am, but I worked on the
   Homer: [pulling up in car, shines headlights] Hey, Mr. Smithers!
Smithers: Well, you might as well give me a ride home now.
           [in the car]
          I've never gone behind Mr. Burns' back before but Sideshow
          Bob's ultra-conservative views, er, conflict with my...choice
          of lifestyle.  All I can do is give you one name: Edgar
          Neubauer.  Find him, and you'll find your answer.
-- At long last, the truth about Waylon J., "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

So Lisa and Bart grab the phone book and look for him.  But they come up
blank.  (Well, Bart, at least, finds someone called "A.  Gorilla" and
laughs to himself.)  They check the library in the NEU-NEZ card catalog
(and are surprised by the bats that fly out), but nothing turns up.

Lisa: This is hopeless.  They're going to demolish our house for sure.
      We're going to have to move into a Motel Six.
Bart: But Dad can't afford six dollars a night!
-- The quest for Edgar Neubauer seems hopeless, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Bart looks up, then runs off excitedly.

Bart: Lis!  Lis, come here, I found him!  I found Edgar Neubauer.
       [points at a tombstone: "Edgar Neubauer: Beloved husband and old
      grouch (1831-1909)"]
      Oh my God...the dead have risen and they're voting Republican.
Lisa: [gasp] No, Bart, don't you see?  Dead people can't vote.
       [pulls out list, looks at another tombstone]
      Prudence Goodwyfe, died 1641.  She voted for Bob too.  [gasps] So
      did Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper.
       [walking] Even the pet cemetery voted for Bob, look!  Mr. and
      Mrs. Bananas, Humphrey Boa-Gart...oh, my poor dead kitty, please
      not you too...
       [checks list, sees "Snowball I"]
       [angry] All right, Bob, now it's personal!
-- The Mayor crosses the line, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

The Springfield Shopper headline reads, "Call for Probe in Bob Flap",
with an editorial on "Why Not Let Dead Pets Vote?"  The bulldozers close
in on the Simpson home.  Marge threatens them with a rolling pin, and at
the last second they pull back.  Homer holds onto a wrecking ball and
gets smashed into a wall.

At the Town Hall, court is called into session.  Lionel Hutz waits for
Sideshow Bob to be led into the room.  The Mayor walks in as everyone
gasps, and he glances sideways at the Simpson children, who look away

Hutz: Mr. Mayor, is it true you rigged the election?
 Bob: No, I did not.
Hutz: [pause] Kids, help.
       [the judge shrugs]
 Bob: Oh, I don't mind.  We want these children to feel justice has been
      served.  That way they can sleep soundly tonight on their hard,
      feculent motel pillows.
-- I'd have preferred the term, "Unsoft, somewhat rotten motel head
    rests", "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

 Bob: Well Bart, Lisa...here I am.
Lisa: I have a plan.  I think we can trap him.
       [they walk up; Lisa takes a sip of water]
      You know, Sideshow Bob, I believe you when you say you're
 Bob: Indeed I am.
Lisa: Because we all know you're a naive pawn -- puppet, if you will --
      of the most diabolical political genius Springfield has ever
      known: Birchibald T. Barlow!
       [Barlow stammers incoherently]
      You don't have the intelligence to rig an election by yourself, do
Bart: You were just Barlow's lackey.
Lisa: You were Ronny to his Nancy!
Bart: Sonny to his Cher!
Lisa: Ringo to his rest of the Beatles!
-- Ringo "Excuse the lateness of my reply"?, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Bob can't stand it any longer.

  Bob: Enough!  Lies, lies, lies!  I did it!  I did it all!
        [everyone gasps]
 Bart: We want the truth!
  Bob: You want the truth?  You can't handle the truth.  No truth-
       handler, you.  Bah!  I deride your truth-handling abilities.
Judge: Will you get to the point?
-- "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

  Bob: Only _I_ could have executed such a masterpiece of electoral
       fraud.  And I have the records to prove it!  Here, just look at
       these -- [pulls out binders and floppy disks] each one a work of
       Machiavellian art.
Judge: But why?
  Bob: Because you _need_ me, Springfield.  Your guilty conscience may
       force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside you secretly
       long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize
       criminals, and rule you like a king.  That's why I did this: to
       protect you from yourselves.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a
       city to run.
Judge: Bailiffs, place the mayor under arrest.
  Bob: What?  Oh yes, all that stuff I did.
-- Mayor Bob digs his own grave (and saves), "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

Lisa is jubilant as Bob is handcuffed.

Lisa: Bart, we did it!  Now we get to keep our house and you get to go
      back to the fourth grade.
Bart: Oh, tomorrow we were going to find out who the dish ran away with.
Lisa: The spoon, Bart.
Bart: [gasps, smiles] Of course!
-- Lisa wrecks the ending, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

The next day's headline reads "Toddlers Topple Mayor", with a subheading
showing Abe's picture with "Expressway Halt Rankles Elderly".  Bob
crumples the paper in disgust.

     Bob: Someday I'll have my vengeance -- someday, when I find my way
          out of this savage, roach-ridden cesspool --
           [camera pulls back to "Springfield Minimum Security Prison"]
     Man: Say, Terwilliger's a Yalie.
           [shot of men in sculling boat]
Coxswain: Bob!  Come along.  We need an eighth to row against the
          Princeton alums.
     Bob: Princeton?!  [groans]
Coxswain: Stroke!  Stroke!  Stroke...
-- No more teatimes with Snake, "Sideshow Bob Roberts"

[End of Act Three.  Time: 20:58]


   {ddg} Don Del Grande
   {bwd} Benjamin W. Dreyfus
   {dh}  Dave Hall
   {th}  Tony Hill
   {mk}  Matthew Kurth
   {rl}  Ricardo Lafaurie
   {av}  Aaron Varhola
This episode summary is Copyright 1995 by James A. Cherry.  Not to be
redistributed in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes
themselves, of course, remain the property of The Simpsons, and the
reproduced articles remain the property of the original authors.  I'm
just taking credit for the compilation.)