Recap / The Simpsons S 3 E 6 Like Father Like Clown

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Episode - 8F05
First Aired - 10/24/1991

In the second (and last) episode directed by Brad Bird, Krusty the Clown has dinner with the Simpsons as a "thank you" for Bart clearing Krusty's name (as seen in the season one episode "Krusty Gets Busted"), but the laughs turn to tears when Krusty's Hebrew blessing brings back memories of growing up with a rabbi father who disowned him after finding out his son wanted to be in showbiz. And when Krusty's personal life begins affecting his career, it's up to Bart and Lisa to track down Krusty's father and make amends.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Berserk Button: Rabbi Krustofski hates it when someone keeps calling him and doesn't say anything and just hangs up. It was his son, Krusty, trying to call him but chickens out.
  • "Billy Elliot" Plot: Krusty's father doesn't want his son to be an actor and, as a result, the two are estranged from each other.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Bart takes Rabbi Krustofski's impassioned declaration that he has no son a bit too literally.
    Bart: Oh great. We came all this way and it's the wrong guy.
    Krustofski: [opens door] I didn't mean that literally! [slams door again]
  • Cultural Translation: In one scene, Lisa names several Jewish entertainers and concludes with Mel Brooks, whom Homer ironically never suspected to be Jewish. In the Portugese version, Lisa names Woody Allen, rather than Brooks.
  • Continuity Nod: To "Krusty Gets Busted".
  • Creator Breakdown: In-Universe example. The day after Bart's dinner, Krusty breaks down during his show after an episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show that depicts the duo playing with their children.
    Krusty: (as his eyes slowly get redder and redder) Didn't Itchy Jr. look happy playing with his father? And didn't Scratchy Jr. look happy playing with his dad until they got run over by a thresher?
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Krusty keeps cancelling his dinner appointments with Bart, despite the boy helping him out several times in the past. Bart feels disillusioned about being rejected again and again and sends back his "Krusty Buddy" badge in disgust. This motivates Krusty's secretary to force Krusty into going anyway.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Rabbi Krustofski didn't know about Jewish comedians until Bart told him about them, which inspires him to reconcile with Krusty. A bit justified, since he initially didn't believe that comedy was a worthwhile career choice.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: When Krusty is told he doesn't have to be "in-character" at Bart's dinner, he tells a monkey on roller skates (who may or may not be Mr. Teeny) to wait in the car, much to Homer's disappointment.
  • The French Love Krusty: Implied In-Universe when Bart and Lisa trick Krusty into going to the meeting they arranged between him and his father by saying that the French government wants to induct him into the French Legion of Honor.
  • I Have No Son: Provides the page quote.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: After showing a father-son-themed Itchy & Scratchy short, Krusty breaks down sobbing live on TV and begs the channel to cut to a commercial. Bart and Lisa see this and try to do all they can to reunite Krusty with his father.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Homer's reaction to Krusty's bracha.
    Krusty: Baruch atah adonai / eloheinu, melech ha'olam / hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz.
    Homer: (giggles) He's talking funny talk!
  • Man Hug: Krusty and Rabbi Krustofski have one when they finally reunite at the end of the episode. Especially heartwarming since it's the first time in twenty-five years they've seen or spoken to each other.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Rabbi Krustofski leaves the restaurant moments before Krusty arrives, thinking he's meeting the President of France.
  • Missing Mom: Krusty's mother is not seen or mentioned at all and flashbacks only depict Krusty with his father.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Bart and Lisa finally convince Rabbi Krustofski to reconcile with Krusty, he has one of these, lamenting all the times of joy that he has lost because of his stubbornness. It's so bad he's practically crying, causing Lisa to console him and tell him that it's not too late to reconcile with Krusty.
  • Pie in the Face: Rabbi Krustofski gives Krusty one in the end.
  • Quote-to-Quote Combat: Between Bart (with Lisa's assistance) and Krusty's father.
  • Recognition Failure: Homer finds the idea of a "Jewish entertainer" ludicrous. Lisa then names several entertainers who are Jewish: Lauren Bacall, Dinah Shore, William Shatner and Mel Brooks. Out of all these names its ironically the last one that surprises Homer: "Mel Brooks is Jewish!?!" (in the Portuguese dub, "Mel Brooks" was replaced with "Woody Allen").
  • Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: "What? Saul Bellow? The Nobel prize-winning Jewish novelist? He wants to have lunch with me?"/"The French government wants to give me the Legion of Honor?"
  • The Reveal: This was the first episode in which Krusty is identified as being Jewish.
  • Sad Clown: Krusty, a very literal example. He's reduced to tears twice over the course of the episode due to thinking about his estranged father, the second time on live TV, and towards the end of the episode, he is so depressed he can barely get through his act.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Moe when he sees Krusty and Rabbi Krustofski sing "O Mein Papa" on TV post-reconciliation.
  • Shave and a Haircut: Krusty marks his entrance at Bart's dinner this way.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Photos of Krusty with The Beatles and Alfred Hitchcock can be seen.
    • The Springfield-X porno movie marquee shows films like "For Your Thighs Only" (reference to For Your Eyes Only), "Crocodile Done Me" (Crocodile Dundee) and "Doctor Strangepants" (Dr. Strangelove).
    • Krusty plays the "Concert For Bangladesh" record while he's at the Simpsons' home.
    • When Krusty arrives at the restaurant, thinking he'll be given the Legion of Honor, he says: "Fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong", which is a reference to a 1927 song of that title, written by Willie Raskin, Billy Rose and Fred Fisher.
    • At the end of the first Krusty show, Krusty tugs on his ear similar to the way Carol Burnett did at the end of her shows to say "Hi" to her grandmother who raised her.
    • Krusty and his father sing "O Mein Papa".
  • Shown Their Work: The portion of the episode where characters quote the Bible in support or opposition of clowning were carefully researched. Cited passages from the Bible include Exodus 20:12 and Joshua 1:8. The quotations from the Talmud were also researched, and two rabbis, Lavi Meier and Harold M. Schulweis, were credited as "special technical consultants". Schulweis was asked to take a look at a draft of the script. While not a fan of the show, he felt "it was profound" and added some corrections. He later commented, "I thought it had a Jewish resonance to it. I was impressed by the underlying moral seriousness."
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Rabbi Krustofski disapproves of Krusty smoking because he calls it a filthy habit. Krusty's reaction causes the two to recognize each other.
  • Something Completely Different: This episode is one of the more dramatic ones, and is one of many of the early episodes where Bart and Lisa work together to do something that would be more suited for adults/is too dangerous for kids. This is also one of the earliest episodes centric to a character outside the Simpson family, along with "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish" and "Pricipal Charming".
  • Special Guest: Jackie Mason as Rabbi Krustofski
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: Near the beginning, Krusty dials a sex party hotline, but when the screen splits, the sections are all filled with men.
    Apu: This is not as hot a party as I anticipated.
  • Time Marches On: Rabbi Krustofski goes to a restaurant thinking he'll meet Saul Bellow and Krusty because of President François Mitterand. Both celebrities are now deceased.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To The Jazz Singer. Krustofski even says Krusty being a jazz singer wouldn't have been too bad.
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