Recap / The Simpsons S 3 E 21 Black Widower

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Episode - 8F20
First Aired - 4/9/1992

The Simpsons are getting ready to have dinner with Patty, Selma, and Selma's new boyfriend. Of course, one can imagine their surprise when he turns out to be none other than Sideshow Bob, freshly released from his stay in prison after the events in "Krusty Gets Busted." While everyone is impressed at how much Bob has changed due to The Power of Love, Bart still fears that Bob is planning to kill him — or someone close to him.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Appointment Television: Selma and MacGyver.
  • Bait and Switch: The hotel room exploding wasn't caused by Selma smoking, it was caused by Chief Wiggum having a cigar outside the room... and then tossing the lit match.
  • Big "NO!": Bart gives one, warning Selma not to light her match as the room is filled with gas.
  • The Bluebeard: Sideshow Bob.
  • Brain Bleach: Sideshow Bob's reaction to sex with Selma is to thoroughly scrub himself ("Even murder has its ugly side").
    • Bart imagining Homer (or a Homer clone) as Selma's new boyfriend.
  • Brutal Honesty: Played with. Sideshow Bob is unable to hide his hated for MacGyver, a show he knows Selma loves. When he voices his disdain after being forced to sit through an episode, it reduces Selma to tears and nearly results in the wedding being called off. Oddly enough, it's Homer who gets the pair back on track.
  • Chair Reveal: Bob, thinking his plan to kill Selma with a gas-explosion has succeeded, goes to his now-wrecked room, only to find Bart sitting in Selma's chair.
    Bart: Sideshow Bob, the only victims here are the good people at Best Western Hotels!
  • Dark Reprise: Bob, thinking Selma to be dead, playfully sings a rather twisted version of "Somethin' Stupid", the song he and Selma sang earlier in the episode.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Sideshow Bob.
  • Dying Alone: Patty claimed fear of this as the reason Selma entered a prison pen pal program.
  • Eureka Moment: "Tonight On MacGyver! (Echos) MacGyver! MacGyver! MacGyver!"
    Bart: Aunt Selma has one hour to live!
    Homer: Hey, down in front!
  • Evil Laugh: Sideshow Bob does one as he drives himself and a sleeping Selma to their honeymoon.
    Sideshow Bob: That's right, dear. Enjoy your rest. The wedding was very tough on you. And the honeymoon is going to be... murder. *Cue Evil Laugh*
  • Falling in Love Montage: Set to Sideshow Bob and Selma singing Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra's "Somethin' Stupid"
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Bob considers having his Daytime Emmy taken away by the prison guards to be his lowest point. This compared to being thrown in prison in the first place for armed robbery.
    • Had Bob not been in prison when he received his Emmy, it'd not have been taken from him. Therefore, Bob sees it as additional punishment.
  • Foreshadowing: To Bob's plan: Selma's honeymoon footage not only shows him assaulting a bellhop due to their room not having a gas fireplace (which was in the brochure), but also shows him fiddling with it near the end.
    • There's also Selma mentioning that she lost her sense of smell (and taste) after a bottle rocket incident when she was younger.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: This episode has a goodly amount of innuendo: Sideshow Bob's line to Bart, "If I'd wanted to murder you, I would have choked you like a chicken," Krusty's reference to Prison Rape when Bob wins an Emmy ("Just don't drop that thing in the shower, Bob!"), and Krusty trying to tell the joke about the 12-inch pianist.
    • Bob plays a violin while conjugal visit trailers rock back and forth.
  • Guess Who I'm Marrying?: Non-parental variation.
  • How About a Smile?: A variant occurs when Sideshow Bob is chewing out a hotel bellboy:
    Sideshow Bob: I WANTED A ROOM WITH A FIREPLACE, YOU BRAINLESS LUGGAGE MONKEY! Like the one in your brochure! (realizes Selma is capturing him on camera) Oh, Selma dear... I was just chatting with my good friend... (looks at his name tag) Dennis! Now, smile for the camera, there's a good lad! (Dennis struggles to produce a nervous smile)
  • Imagine Spot: Bart has one during the wedding. He sees Sideshow Bob as the Grim Reaper when he says "I do."
  • It's All About Me: Sideshow Bob has a moment of this when he and Selma have to rush back to Patty and Selma's place to watch MacGyver. Bob says this when they get there: "Selma, I thought I was the only man in your life." Selma simply snaps at him: "Sit down and shut up!"
  • Kid Has a Point: Gotta listen to Bart.
  • Lame Rhyme Dodge: As Sideshow Bob is rubbing Selma's feet at the hotel, he quietly mutters his plans to kill her, before Selma gets confused, and he quickly counters by replacing his plots with foreign languages for how lovely her feet look.
  • Lethally Stupid: Chief Wiggum at the wedding reception accidentally leaves his gun next to the wedding cake, within easy reach of where kids could pick it up. Luckily, no one does.
  • MacGyvering: Discussed at the end of the episode Patty, Selma, and an annoyed Bob watched.
    Man: Thank you, Señor MacGyver. You saved our village.
    MacGyver: Don't thank me. Thank the moon's gravitational pull.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Selma prepares the match she's going to use to light her cigarette with unusual slowness and drama. The way the scene plays out, it looks like she's doing a yoga move.
  • Noodle Incident: Sideshow Bob appears on Krusty's telethon and apologizes for sending him to jail, to which Krusty replied, "Hell, if they ever open the books on this telethon, I'm right back in there!"
  • Power of Trust: Spoofed; Marge congratulates Bart for not losing his mistrust in Sideshow Bob.
  • Serious Business: MacGyver, of course, for Patty and Selma. Selma's love for the character is so strong that Bob proclaiming how much he hates the show drives her to tears and makes her consider calling the marriage off. In a weird way, Selma's faith in the character actually proves to be beneficial to her, as it's what provides Bart with the last piece he needs to figure out Bob's plan. Bob's disdain for the character counts as well since he'd rather jeopardize his plans regarding Selma than say he loves MacGyver.
  • Shout-Out: An Expy of Frank Sinatra reuniting Bob and Krusty parodies when the real Sinatra reunited Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
  • Special Guest: Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
  • Take That: To Dinosaurs (which also took a dig at The Simpsons for being the reason why every family sitcom in the 1990s has a Bumbling Dad):
    Bart: It's like they saw our lives and put it right there on screen!
    • While being taken away, Bob says they can't keep Democrats out of the White House forever and, once they get in, he'll be back on the streets with his fellow convicts. According to Groening, this wasn't a knock on Democrats (who are perceived to be weak on crime) but a knock on the Republican allegation that Democrats are weak on crime. Of course, this ended up backfiring on the writers, as Bob was released from prison less than a year after Bill Clinton became president.
  • Toilet Seat Divorce: Selma and Sideshow Bob's near-breakup over MacGyver.
  • To the Batnoun!/Thememobile: Once the Simpson family learn of Bob's plan to kill Selma, Homer shouts out, "To the Simpsonmobile!"... which is actually their car.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As mentioned above, when it looks like the wedding will have to be called off, Homer is the one who suggests to Bob going out for a walk when Selma watches MacGyver, unknowingly helping Bob out with his plot, as then he can be out of the room when the blows Selma up.
  • Villain Love Song: "Somethin' Stupid" may count in this context, as it is a duet between Sideshow Bob and his current Love Interest, Selma. It's not really needed to seduce her, as they're already engaged.
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