Recap: The Simpsons S 7 E 9 Sideshow Bobs Last Gleaming

Sideshow Bob steals a 10-megaton nuclear weapon and threatens to detonate it at an air show unless Springfield gives in to his demand to shut down all television broadcasts.


  • Anal Probing: Although unrelated to the plot, whilst searching an Air Force base for Bob, an airman opens the door to Hangar 18 before quickly closing it again after seeing a alien with a glowstick. The airman proclaims, "Watch out! He's got his probe!"
  • Answer Cut:
    Wiggum: Shut your word-hole! We gotta get this place clean for the air show!
    Sideshow Bob: Air show? Buzz-cut Alabamians spewing colored smoke from their whizz jets to the strains of "Rock You Like a Hurricane"? What kind of country-fried rube is still impressed by that?
    (cut to the Simpsons; Homer, Bart, and Lisa are ecstatic about it)
  • Artistic License History: Grandpa Simpson's history of the Wright brothers' plane.
    Bart: What a piece of junk.
    Grandpa: Junk?! That's the Wright Brothers' plane! At Kitty Hawk in 1902, Charles Lindbergh flew that on a thimble-full of corn oil. Single-handedly won us the Civil War, it did!
    Bart: How do you know so much about history?
    Grandpa: I pieced it together, mostly from sugar packets.
  • Big Red Button
  • Brick Joke: Bob scoffs at the idea of the Springfield Air Show, disbelieving that people still enjoy "buzz-cut Alabamians spewing colored smoke from their whizz-jets to the strains of 'Rock You Like a Hurricane.'" Guess which song is played at the air show later in the episode?
    • Also, earlier in the episode, Bob hears a Cool Old Lady on television saying she's "gonna haul ass to Lollapalooza", causing Bob to despair that "TV's bottomless chum bucket has claimed Vanessa Redgrave." At the end of the episode, Grandpa drives up on a motorcycle saying that he's "gonna haul ass to Lollapalooza", prompting a Here We Go Again from the rest of the family.
  • The Cameo: Seems Steve Urkel and The Fourth Doctor are esteemed representations of television.
  • Cool Old Lady: Alluded to in the crappy sitcom that Bob's cellmate is watching:
    Woman: Grandma, this is my friend, Craig. (laugh track)
    Grandma: "Friend"? You mean you two aren't knockin' boots? (laugh track) Ever do the "back seat mambo", Craigy? (laugh track) Now, I'm gonna haul ass to Lollapalooza! (revs her motorcycle)
  • Danger Deadpan: Two fighter jets are scrambled to intercept Sideshow Bob's escape in the Wright brothers' plane. It does not go well, as the pilot comments Yeagerly: "Bogey's air speed not sufficient for intercept. Suggest we get out and walk."
  • Fall of the House of Cards: Sideshow Bob builds a miniature model of Westminster Abbey, which collapses from the sound of people laughing at the Krusty the Klown Show.
  • Fanservice: "We have searched every square inch of this base, and found nothing but porno, porno, PORNO!"
  • Fate Worse Than Death: In the war room, Quimby makes the decision to shut down television in order to save the lives of the citizens. Krusty is vehemently opposed:
    Krusty: Let's not go nuts! Would it really be worth living in a world without television? I think the survivors would envy the dead!
  • Going Commando: Bart is "going commando" when he and Lisa get trapped in the airforce base.
    Bart: Ahhh! Free and easy, Lis'! There's nothing like an unfurnished basement for pure comfort.
  • Here We Go Again: Subverted and parodied. After Bart and Lisa thwart Bob, Grandpa rides up on a motorcycle and says that he's going to "haul ass to Lollapalooza!" (a Call Back to earlier in the episode, where a parody of Roseanne used the exact same dialog). The rest of the Simpsons exclaim "Here we go again!", with Marge lagging a little behind and obviously less than enthusiastic.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: One of the prisoners eats people's faces.
  • The Last Title: The name of the episode.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Taken from The Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States of America
  • Logo Joke: The 20th Century Fox logo appears before the Executive Producers credit, a Call Back to earlier in the episode when Bob's cellmate was watching a crappy sitcom and the 20th Century Fox logo is heard.
  • Low-Speed Chase: Bob trying to make an escape in the Wright Brothers' plane, while police cars drove slowly behind him trying to catch him with nets.
  • Mayor Pain: Subverted. Mayor Quimby was the one who was willing to sacrifice television to prevent Springfield from being nuked.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: When Bob's demands aren't met and is preparing to detonate the bomb.
    Bart: Bob, no!
    Lisa: Don't you see? That would be taking the easy way out!
    Bob: I agree. (He pushes the detonator.)
  • Older Is Better: Subverted, Bob never took into consideration that maybe the military would have deactivated an obsolete drop-type atomic bomb from the 50s.
  • Self-Deprecation: Bob laments "My crusade against television has come to an end so formulaic it could have spewed from the power-book of the laziest Hollywood hack!"
  • Shout-Out:
    • The underground bunker and table (topped with green felt) is reminiscent of The War Room Dr. Strangelove. Krusty's suggestion that the survivors will envy the dead is one of the president's questions about the mineshaft survival solution.
    • At the beginning of the third act of the episode, we see scenes of everyday life across Springfield, and one by one, with a "zooming" sound effect, they all freeze-frame in anticipation of the (supposedly) imminent nuclear blast; such was the ending of Fail-Safe.
      • One of the scenes shows Maggie picking flowers in a field, with the camera zooming into her eye is a homage of the infamous and controversial Daisy ad used by Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1964 United States presidential election.
    • The alien is being kept in hangar 18, referring to the film Hangar 18.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Colonel Leslie "Hap" Hapablap is full of these:
    What in the World According to Garp?!
    If you don't open that door, I'll tear you up like a Kleenex at a snot party!
    Sweet Enola Gay, son! I'm gonna come in there and corpse you up! Corpse you up, and mail you to mama!
    We'll find that headcase faster than Garfield finds lasagna. (nobody laughs) Oh. Sorry, my wife thought that was gangbusters.
    You know what really frosts my Kelvinator?
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Bob claimed that he was doing a good deed by ridding Springfield of TV, but all it really did was make him the top dog in the manger. Also, when Bob sees Springfield give into his demands, he exclaims "Blast! I should have made more demands!"
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Bob attempts to detonate a nuclear bomb, only for it to go off with a disappointing fizzle and fall apart, revealing a family of mice and a 'best before' date of 1959.
    Bob: There were plenty of brand-new bombs, but you had to go for that retro 50s charm!
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Sideshow Bob said the way his evil plans ended could have been written by Hollywood's laziest writer.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Marge has a headache at the air show; she thinks she'll feel better once the show starts. Cue microphone feedback.