Recap: The Simpsons S 4 E 22 Krusty Gets Kancelled
Episode - 9F19
First Aired - 5/13/1993
A new kids' show hosted by a strait-laced ventriloquist and his smart-aleck dummy threatens to cancel Krusty the Clown's show, so Bart and Lisa round up Krusty's celebrity friends for a comeback special.
This episode contains examples of:
- As Herself/Himself: This episode had the most non-sports celebrity guest appearances up to that point in the show's run: Johnny Carson, Hugh Hefner, Bette Midler, Luke Perry, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elizabeth Taylor, and Barry White.
- Berserk Button: Gabbo for Krusty and pork meat price raises for Homer.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: When the kids point out that Luke Perry has a hit TV show of his own, Krusty counters with, "Yeah, on Fox."
- Blipvert: "Gabbo! GABBO! GABBO!"
Bart: Did you see that?
Bart: What's Gabbo?
- Bowdlerise: In-Universe: Krusty wants the Red Hot Chili Peppers to change one of their lyrics to "Give It Away." They refuse at first, but when Krusty suggests to change, "What I got/You gotta get/And put it in you" to "What I'd like/Is I'd like to/Hug and kiss you," they warm up to the idea.
- Brick Joke: The Crazy Old Man who drops his pants
- Burger Fool: Sideshow Mel takes a job at a fast-food restaurant during the short time he's unemployed.
- Catchphrase: "I'm a bad wittle boy!" for Gabbo.
- Chekhov's Gag: Krusty notes that the only bad shows in his run were those from the week when Ray J. Johnson was his co-host (this was presumably back in The Seventies). As it turns out, he's the only guest star lined up for Gabbo's show the day the Krusty Komeback Special is airing against it.
- Comically Missing the Point: During the runup to Gabbo's debut, Reverend Lovejoy complains in a sermon that everyone's focusing on "Gabbo this and Gabbo that but not worship this and Jericho that!" Jasper raises his hand and asks "What's this about Gabbo?"
- Deleted Scene: One of his failed attempts to prevent his show from being cancelled was showing photographs of him on sexual activities. Then two FBI agents showed up to arrest him and he desperately said it wasn't really him. Another scene featured him acting as a hemorrhoids patient to get into a new show. It didn't work.
- Demonic Dummy: Gabbo can talk and move independently of Crandall! He isn't outright evil, though — just a Jerkass.
- Depraved Kids' Show Host: Arthur Crandall/Gabbo thinks his viewers are "little S.O.B.s." Bart manages to get this offstage chatter on tape, but Springfield forgets about it after Kent Brockman makes a similar comment about his audience while reporting the story.
- Follow the Leader: Krusty tries his hand at ventriloquism in the wake of Gabbo's success.
- Funny Background Event: At the afterparty at Moe's Tavern, Elizabeth Taylor can be seen peering through the window as Bart salutes Krusty.
- Game Show Appearance: Springfield Squares.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Krusty insulting Ray Jay Johnson here didn't stop him from appearing on the show years later. Al Jean calls him a very nice man in the commentary.
- Gabbo is named after the ventriloquist dummy that provided the title of the 1929 film The Great Gabbo.
- The finale of Gabbo's introductory song has puppets and choreography pulled straight out of Pinocchio's "I've Got No Strings" number.
- As noted at this episode's Wikipedia page, the light-up KRUSTY letters that open the show reference Elvis, a famous Elvis Presley TV concert from 1968 (when his musical career was bottoming out) that came to be dubbed "the '68 comeback special". Indeed, the whole concept of a comeback special effectively comes from Elvis's show.
- Bette Midler performing "Wind Beneath My Wings" for Krusty is a deliberate homage to her singing for Johnny Carson on his second-to-last episode of The Tonight Show, to the point that it's performed on a Tonight Show-esque set.
- The scene of Krusty and The Red Hot Chili Peppers (see Bowdlerise above) is a parody of an incident of Ed Sullivan asking The Rolling Stones to change "Lets Spend the Night Together" to "Let's Spend Some Time Together" (as "spend the night" was seen as too sexually suggestive at the time). Mick Jagger didn't warm up to the change.
- I Read That As: Mr. Burns sees a "GABBO IS COMING" billboard and cries "Look Smithers! Garbo is coming!" "Um, yes sir!" (Greta Garbo died in 1990; this episode was made in '93.)
- Japandering: Gabbo's crank call to Krusty has him tricking the clown into thinking a Japanese company wants him to appear in a commercial.
- Karma Houdini: Mayor Quimby got away with having rivals killed because he used Gabbo's Catch Phrase while publicly confessing.
- Mind Screw: Worker and Parasite, so much so that it currently provides the image for the Western Animation subpage of this trope.
- Plagiarism In Fiction: Bart points out that the "patented Gabbo crank call" is a bit stolen from Krusty. Lisa tops him by pointing out that "Krusty stole it from Steve Allen", and this is confirmed when Krusty realizes the call was a trick — "If this is anyone but Steve Allen, you're stealing my bit!"
- Grampa Simpson even pointed out that everything is stolen nowadays, like the fax machine (which, to him, is a waffle iron with a phone attached).
- Repurposed Pop Song: Krusty performs "Send in the Clowns" to open his special. It changes virtually all of the lyrics, since the original song is about a failed romance.
- The Rival: Gabbo instantly becomes this to Krusty.
- The Show Must Go Wrong: Krusty's sole attempt at ventriloquism is a small-scale example of this. First the puppet's jaw falls off and the kiddies scream. He tries assuring them that the puppet is not actually alive and taps on its head — which caves in under the blows. More screams. He then frustratingly drop-kicks the grotesque remains of the puppet right into the screaming audience.
- Status Quo Is God: The implication at the end is that Krusty will get his show back in the wake of his Komeback Special's success, while Gabbo becomes yesterday's news. (Gabbo and Arthur Crandall have had only the occasional cameo since this episode, in fact.)
- Stunt Casting: More guest voices than usual turn up; aside from those mentioned above, Barry White is in the opening scene as a guest on Springfield Squares. Elizabeth Taylor gets only two lines, but that's still more than she got back in "Lisa's First Word".
- Temporary Bulk Change: Because Krusty doesn't realize that a milkshake diet only works with diet milkshakes. Fortunately a Training Montage undoes its ill effects.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Johnny Carson plays this on the accordion for the final shot.
- Training Montage: Thanks to his milkshake diet, Krusty has to get back into shape for the special, which he accomplishes over the course of a Rocky-style montage.
- The Voiceless: Marge has no lines in this episode.
- Unintentional Period Piece: The guest voices definitely date the episode to The Nineties, as they were experiencing career peaks or at least were household names to viewers (as in Carson and Taylor's cases) at the time.