Recap: The Simpsons S 5 E 2 Cape Feare

Episode - 9F22
First Aired - 10/7/1993

Bart is plagued with threatening letters written in blood (except for one written in black by Homer that reads, "I KILL YOU SCUM") and by the recently-paroled Sideshow Bob. To keep Bart from getting killed, The Simpsons go into witness protection and move away to Terror Lake.

This episode contains examples of (YMMV items can be found here):

  • Bait and Switch / Rule of Three: Three times in the first act, before it's known that Sideshow Bob wrote Bart the death threats, Bart worries that three people around him are the culprit based on the first half of the sentence they say:
    Marge: (menacingly, holding scissors) Bart, I'm going to get you...... some ice cream at the store, since I'm saving so much money on Diet Cola!
    (later...)
    Ned: (menacingly, with Freddy Kruegger-style blade hand) Say your prayers, Simpson...... because the schools can't force you like they should!
    (later...)
    Edna: (menacingly) You're going to be my murder victim, Bart!..... in our school production of Lizzie Borden, starring Martin Prince as Lizzie.
    Martin: (in drag, brandishing axe) Forty whacks with a wet noodle, Bart!
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Lisa's line, "The FOX network has sunk to a new low" after watching Up Late With McBain.
  • Brick Joke: Grampa is left behind without his pills while the Simpsons leave town. When they return home, he has apparently turned into a woman without his pills.
    • When Sideshow Bob finally climbs aboard the Simpsons' house-boat, the first thing he does is step on another rake. Makes you wonder what it's even doing there.
    • Somehow, Bart gets a Playbill with Sideshow Bob on the cover during his performance of HMS Pinafore.
  • The Chew Toy: Bob takes a hell of a lot of slapstick abuse in this episode from losing blood, hitting speedbumps, driving through cacti, stepping on rakes, getting crushed by an entire parade including elephants...and it is hilarious.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Bart's strategy for distracting Bob is foreshadowed by the family listening to the entire works of Gilbert and Sullivan on the way to Terror Lake.
  • Comeback Tomorrow:
    Bart: You wrote me those letters.
    Marge: You awful man! Stay away from my son!
    Sideshow Bob: Oh, I'll stay away from your son, all right. Stay away... forever.
    Homer: Oh no!
    Sideshow Bob: Wait a minute, that's no good. (tries to think of a different line but can't) Oh!
    (Bob gets up and leaves, but after a few seconds, rushes back)
    Sideshow Bob: Wait, I've got a good one now. Marge, say "Stay away from my son" again.
    Marge: NO!
    (Bob grumbles angrily)
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Sideshow Bob writes letters to Bart, to-do lists, letters to Reader's Digest, everything in blood while he's in prison. Lampshaded by Snake when Bob gets woozy from his anemia:
    Snake: Use a pen, Sideshow Bob!
  • Crosscast Role: Martin Prince as Lizzie Borden for a school play. Bonus points in that Martin is voiced by a woman.
  • Crush Parade: "No, not the elephants!"
  • Gilligan Cut: The Simpsons tried to hire someone to drive Bob away from town. The guy sounded like he'd be tough enough for the job. Cut to him whining to Bob while pathetically asking him to leave town.
  • Goshdarn It To Heck
    Sideshow Bob: Bart Simpson? Ha! The spirited little scamp who twice foiled my evil schemes and sent me to this dank, urine soaked hellhole?
    Parole officer: Uh, we object to the term "urine-soaked hellhole" when you could have said "pee-pee-soaked heckhole".
    Sideshow Bob: Cheerfully withdrawn.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Sideshow Bob's parole board, who buy his explanation that his "DIE BART, DIE" tattoo is merely German for "The Bart, The".
  • Humiliation Conga: Sideshow Bob goes through a lot of pain before he can get to Bart.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Homer criticizing the guy (Sideshow Bob) smoking a cigar in front of his Family at the movies while he was smoking an even larger cigar.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The only options the Witness Relocation Program offers for the Simpsons to move to are Terror Lake, New Horrorfield, and Screamville.
    Homer: Oooh, Ice Creamville!
    Agent: No, Screamville.
    (Homer screams)
  • Leitmotif: Sideshow Bob gains one in this episode.
  • Logo Joke: Midway through the episode, when the Simpsons get new identities, the opening plays again, this time introducing "The Thompsons" and gradually zooming in on their houseboat.
  • Noodle Incident and Riddle for the Ages: Just how, when, and why did Bart put the "Wide Load" tattoo on Homer's butt?
    • Also, why is Dr. Demento one of Bart's mortal enemies?
    • And what did Linda Lavin do to deserve getting prank-called by Bart?
  • Overly Long Gag: Bob vs. rakes, Round 1! It had to be shortened in syndication because of how long it was (it was approximately 30 seconds; the episode was running short and they needed padding)
    • Homer not responding to his witness protection name (Homer Thompson) would also qualify.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-universe, the entire episode revolves around this. Bart receives at least a dozen threatening letters and is soon misreading people's innocuous words and cues.
  • Rake Take: The first of many for Sideshow Bob.
  • Reality Ensues: Sideshow Bob's (first) Underside Ride. That is all.
  • Shout-Out: Obviously, to the movie Cape Fear.
  • Special Guest: Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
  • Stab the Salad: Happens to Bart several times as he worries about who might be out to get him. Homer even pulls this twice when they're in Terror Lake.
    "BARTYOUWANNASEEMYNEWCHAINSAWANDHOCKEYMASK?!"
  • Tempting Fate: "Surely there is no harm in laying in the middle of a public street." Cue a parade... with elephants.
  • Underside Ride: How Sideshow Bob follows the family.
    • "Hey kids, who wants to drive through that cactus patch?"