Recap / The Simpsons S 8 E 16 Brother From Another Series

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Episode - 4F14
First Aired - 2/23/1997

Sideshow Bob is released from prison again for good behavior and put into the custody of his brother, Cecil, but Bart and Lisa still think Bob is out to kill them — until they learn that Cecil is just as evil as Bob.

This episode contains examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Krabappel has dinner with Bob for the excitement of dating a killer, and is visibly disappointed when he admits he's never successfully killed anyone.
    Bob: I did once try to kill the world's greatest lover - but then I realized there are laws against suicide.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Cecil describes the giant clown mitts he wears for his audition as this. He tells Bob they're extremely hilarious, but they make it difficult to shift gears while driving, so Bob had to drive him to the audition.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Sideshow Bob catches Bart and Lisa rummaging through his trash for evidence against him, he menacingly declares, "That's it! Now I'm going to do what I should have done a long time ago." We then cut to Bob at the front door of the Simpsons' house, telling Marge that her children are no more. The camera then quickly pans out to reveal he's holding Bart and Lisa by their collars (or necklace, rather, in Lisa's case) as he adds, "...than a pair of ill-bred troublemakers."
    Homer: Lisa too?
    Bob: Especially Lisa! But especially Bart!
  • Bittersweet Ending: Cecil's plot is exposed and he's carted off to prison for it. But Bob's Heel–Face Turn is rejected and he's sent back as well, despite being innocent and saving Lisa and Bart, and is thereby doomed to revert to his evil ways. Oh, and the dam breaks anyway, flooding Springfield.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Cecil has one. Or had one.
    Cecil: Ahhh...shhhoot!
  • Call-Back: This is the last episode where Sideshow Bob's previous feature episodes were recapped. Later episodes retired this practice, with the writers saying the recaps were getting too long.
    Krusty: Hey, hey, it's my old T.V. sidekick Sideshow Bob. Why, I haven't seen you in years. What have you been doing with yourself, Bob?
    Bob: Well, Krusty, as you may remember, after I tried to frame you for armed robbery, I tried to murder Selma Bouvier. Let's see— I rigged the mayoral elections, I tried to blow up Springfield with a nuclear device, and I tried to kill you.
    Krusty: Oh, yeah, yeah.
    Bob: And whenever I could find a spare moment, I've tried to murder... Bart Simpson.
    (Bart, watching Krusty's show on TV, runs away screaming.)
    Homer: He said, "Tried".
  • Captain Obvious: Cecil, after revealing he's framed Bob, tells him he's leaving Bob and the kids inside the dam to kill them when he destroys it. Bob dryly points out how obvious that is.
  • Comically Missing the Point: On revealing he's the embezzeler, Cecil says he'll never be suspected thanks to that criminal with the grudge against Springfield working at the dam. Bob thinks he's talking about Cousin Merle, who "ain't quite right" and has been having cash problems lately.
  • Construction Cat Calls: Discussed when Bob asks if his job will be leading the hooting. "Oh yeah, shake it, madam! Capital knockers."
  • Continuity Nod: Bob really doesn't like Princeton.
  • Description Cut: "Sideshow Bob is an unstoppable killing machine!" Cut to Bob singing "Amazing Grace" at the prison chapel.
  • Enemy Mine: For the first time, Sideshow Bob teams up with the Simpsons to foil a common enemy.
  • Fan Disservice: Cover-alls that don't quite "cover all". Cue hillbilly butt-shot.
  • Foreshadowing: Some people may find it odd how Cecil later teams up with Bob to kill Bart in "Funeral for a Fiend", but the finishing line here is Cecil calmly asking when they will bring the menus after the Wimp Fight they just had. Given that that episode came out eleven years later, it's quite likely that all that time in jail has given them time to sort out their differences. After all, since they're essentially an evil Frasier and Niles Crane, it's a pretty safe bet that they will have much to talk about together.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Lisa is left defeated the moment Cecil turns on them. Bob, who she has defiantly outsmarted each and every time, goes into an offended rant over this.
    Bob: Oh, I see. When it's one of my schemes, you can't foil it fast enough, but when Cecil tries to kill you, it's "hopeless, utterly utterly hopeless".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bob cuts the wire for the dynamite he's holding onto, keeping Cecil from blowing up the dam but sending Bob and Bart plummeting to their doom. Luckily, Bob lands on a pipe, saving him and Bart. Unluckily, the dam is so poorly built, it breaks anyway.
  • High Hopes, Zero Talent: This episode reveals how Sideshow Bob got hired by Krusty. In fact, it was Cecil who auditioned to be Krusty's sidekick, with Bob merely coming as support. Unfortunately, Cecil was more pathetic than funny. As Krusty points out, the pie gag's only funny when the victim has dignity, and had one of his assistants pie Bob to demonstrate. Bob's hilarious reaction in getting pied won him the job on the spot...something which Cecil never forgot, much less forgave.
  • Humiliation Conga: It looks like Bob might snap back to villainy thanks to having to work with at the dam with Cecil's gang of incompetent workers, which is clearly straining his nerves.
  • Irony: Cecil needed a ride to Krustylu Studios for the Sideshow auditions and that was Bob's only motive to be there. Bob got the job coveted by Cecil because Krusty decided to use him to show that the Pie in the Face gag is "only funny when the sap's got dignity".
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Sideshow Bob and Cecil never spoke to each other for ten years.
  • Groin Attack: A fall from the top of a dam long enough to require you to take another breath to continue screaming, and landing crotch first onto a water outlet pipe. Bob doesn't say anything, but he's shocked so rigidly that his legs don't let go of the pipe when he slips below it.
  • Military Moonshiner: After prison, Bob will be happy with any wine that doesn't taste like orange drink fermented under a radiator. "That would be the Latour, then..."
  • Non-Ironic Clown: "Sideshow Cecil", who bombs his audition.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Throwing someone off a dam is a little crude for a genius like Cecil...Eh, if anyone asks, he'll lie!
  • Not Me This Time: Sideshow Bob isn't the villain this time, Cecil is and he's trying to frame Bob.
  • Off on a Technicality: The reason Krusty is only playing at Springfield Prison.
    Krusty: [singing] I slugged some jerk in Tahoe, they gave me one to three, my high price lawyer sprung me on a technicality! I'm just visiting Springfield Prison, I get to sleep at home tonight!
  • Oh, Crap!: Bob's reaction when Cecil tricks him into threatening the police after his arrest.
    Bob: But you can't do this! I saved the children's lives! I'm a hero!
    Cecil: Tell them they'll live to regret this.
    Bob: You'll live to regret this! [realises what he just said and glowers at Cecil] Oh thanks a lot, now I look crazy!
  • Pie in the Face: According to Krusty, it's "only funny when the sap's got dignity."
  • Prayer of Malice: Bart asks God to kill Sideshow Bob. "It's him or me, O Lord!"
    Marge: You can't ask God to kill someone!
    Homer: Yeah, you do your own dirty work!
  • Red Herring: After getting annoyed at the stupidity of the dam's construction workers, Sideshow Bob mutters angrily, "Sometimes I wish this dam would burst, and bury this cursed town." Of course, as we later discover, this is just Bob blowing off some steam; unlike in previous episodes, he doesn't actually have an evil plan in mind.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Double-subverted. Bart and Lisa naturally assume Bob's up to no good, but after he foils Cecil's scheme, they accept that he has truly reformed and are even willing to vouch for him to Chief Wiggum. But he's still put back in prison. Ouchies!
  • Sarcasm Mode: "Goodness, I had no idea. For, you see, I have been on Mars for the last decade, in a cave, with my eyes shut and my fingers in my ears."
  • Shout-Out:
    • Krusty's prison performance is based on that of Johnny Cash's. He's even dressed all in black and playing on a guitar.
    • The title card immediately after the first act break pretty much tells the viewer, yeah, they're ripping off Bob and Cecil's dynamic from Fraiser.
    • In their discussion, Cecil and Bob agree that the only civilization in history that would consider chief hydrological and hydrodynamical engineer a calling were the Capadocians (they were big on underground cities, and water-works).
    • When Bart obscures Cecil's vision and asks "guess who", he thinks it's Maris (Niles Crane's never-seen wife. Once again, we remind you that David Hyde Pierce played Cecil and Niles.)
  • Sibling Rivalry: An even more intense one between Bob and Cecil than between Bart and Lisa, if that's possible.
  • Status Quo Is God: Wiggum seems driven to send Bob back to jail just to enforce this.
  • Take That!: To Bordeaux and Château Rauzan-Ségla wines:
    Cecil: Perhaps a glass of Bordeaux? I have the '82 Chateau Latour and a rather indifferent Rauzan-Ségla.
    Bob: I've been in prison, Cecil. I'll be happy just as long as it doesn't taste like orange drink fermented under a radiator.
    Cecil: That would be the Latour, then.
    • And to Princeton:
    Bob: You wanted to be Krusty's sidekick since you were five. What about the buffoon lessons, the four years at clown college?
    Cecil: I'll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.
  • Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy: Wiggum throws Bob in prison on general principle (despite two kids he's repeatedly tried to kill vouching for his innocence).
  • Villains Out Shopping: Bob's first thought on being released: "I hope they still make that shampoo I like."
  • Wicked Cultured: Bob and Cecil both qualify.
  • Wimp Fight: Over who gets the top bunk in prison.
    Bob: I'm older, I get the top bunk!
    Cecil: Oh poppycock! I called it at the arraignment!
  • Wire Dilemma: Bob cuts the wires on a bundle of dynamite. Lisa questions if he knows what he's doing, leading to Kelsey Grammer's favorite line.
    Bob: Lisa, you don't spend ten years as a homicidal maniac without learning a few things about dynamite.
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