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Recap / The Simpsons S12 E3: "Insane Clown Poppy"

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The Simpsons visit the annual book festival, where Krusty is in attendance to sign copies for his new book (ghostwritten by John Updike), only for a young girl named Sophie to approach him and reveal herself to be the daughter he's never met. Completely unfamiliar with fatherhood, Krusty asks Homer for assistance with bonding with his daughter, but the relationship hits a snag when he bets Sophie's beloved violin in a high-stakes poker game with Fat Tony. To gain Sophie's forgiveness, Krusty and Homer risk their lives to break into Fat Tony's mansion to retrieve the instrument.


This episode provides examples of:

  • Ageless Birthday Episode:
    Homer: Hey, pretend it's your birthday.
    Lisa: It is my birthday!
  • Backhanded Apology: A closing gag has Homer being chased by the mafia mob. He then screams that he's sorry, causing them to stop and decide to leave him be. He then invokes this trope and the chase resumes.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Marge gets talking with Stephen King at the book fair, who tells her he's taking a break from writing horror to write a biography about Benjamin Franklin, at which point his book pitch makes it sound like one of his usual creepy works (complete with Dramatic Thunder) which point Marge asks him to drop her a line when he gets back to writing horror, which King cheerfully promises to do.
    Marge: So, Mr. King, what tale of horror and the macabre are you working on now?
    Stephen King: Oh, I don't feel like writing horror right now.
    Marge: Oh, that's too bad.
    King: I'm working on a biography of Benjamin Franklin. He's a fascinating man. He discovered electricity, (menacingly, as dark clouds gather) and used it to torture small animals and green mountain men! And that key he tied to the end of a kite? (thunderclap) IT OPENED THE GATES OF HELL!
    King: (cheerfully) Will do! (Writes a note: Call Marge, Re: horror)
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  • Borrowed Catch Phrase: Homer and Krusty look through the violin cases for Sophie's violin, only to find machine guns instead. After the traditional usage from Homer, Krusty exclaims, "D'oh!"
  • Everyone Has Standards: Homer's tasteless joke about the deceased Maude Flanders "playing the field with all those guys" in heaven did not go so well with his family during his prayer. Even Bart was mortified.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Krusty tries to wage his car's stereo but his own anti-burglary system prevents him from removing it from the car.
  • Imagine Spot: Krusty imagines his four aces singing to him and urging him to bet Sophie's violin in the poker game after he goes out to his car: "Do it, do it, do it, do it! She'll never know!"
  • Literal Metaphor: When Homer asks Marge if he may play Devil's Advocate, he means a pinball game with that name.
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  • Luke, You Are My Father: Sophie reveals she is Krusty's daughter to him in her first scene with him. Naturally he doesn't believe her until she reminds him of what her mother looks like.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The US. Army upon seeing the missile meant to kill Saddam blow up an airdrop of Duff Beer.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: When Homer asks Marge if she wants something done right or fast, she says that, like all Americans, she wants fast.
  • One-Track-Minded Artist: It's revealed that, during the Gulf War, Krusty prevented a soldier's attempted assassination of Saddam Hussein to keep his act fresh. Years later, when Krusty meets the daughter they illegitimately conceived, he finds her apartment full of paintings depicting clowns getting murdered.
  • Noodle Incident: It appears that Marge has met Stephen King before, and he intends to call her specifically when he returns to writing horror.
  • Parodies for Dummies: At the Festival of Books, there's an entire "Books for Dummies" section, with books like "Eating Sandwiches for Dummies", "Cow Tipping for Dummies", and "Animation for Dummies". There's even a "...for Dummies" book for Moby-Dick, with opens with the words, "Call me Ishmael, dummy." Bart meets the fictitious author of the books and asks how he wrote all of them. The author responds, "D-uh, I dunno. Me got to go to bank, now."
  • Skewed Priorities: Krusty stops Saddam's assasination just because he'd have to come up with new material for his upcoming shows if he was killed.
  • Shout-Out: The episode's name is a pun on Insane Clown Posse.
  • Stealth Pun: At the mobsters' meeting, Fat Tony proposes that their website be named "" "Org" is short for organization. As in organized crime.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Krusty recovers Sophie's violin, she finds thousands of dollars within the case and thinks he gave her the money. He plays along with her assumption.
  • Tempting Fate: After Homer and Bart blow up Lisa's room, she comments they didn't do it to Maggie's. Another explosion is then heard.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In the flashback, Krusty's girlfriend was going to assassinate Saddam Hussein with an RPG instead of a sniper rifle.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • When the mobsters chasing Homer decide to stop, he provokes them again.
    • Frankie the Squealer can't keep his mouth shut even under threat.
    • Johnny Tightlips won't tell where a bullet hit him.
  • World's Smallest Violin: When Krusty begs for his daughter's violin back after losing it in a poker game, Fat Tony does this, then realizes he can now do it for real. And he's quite good at it!


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