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Recap / The Simpsons S14 E6 "The Great Louse Detective"

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Original Air Date: December 15, 2002

Someone's out to kill Homer, after Homer gets locked into a sauna by a hooded man — and only Sideshow Bob can figure out who that is.


  • Affably Evil: Discussed between Bob and Apu. Apu actually prefers Bob's "old-school" method of stealing from his store than the new criminals' overtly-brutal and impersonal ways. Bob puts his arm over Apu's shoulder and says that they are becoming an endangered species.
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  • The Alleged Car: When Homer insists that his car must be repaired with 100% American parts, his mechanic answers that the car was made in Eastern Europe with Czech tank parts that are no longer produced.
  • Art Shift: As of this episode, the show fully switched over to digital paintnote . Like the previous two instances (Season 7's "Radioactive Man" and Season 12's "Tennis the Menace"), it wasn't well-received, since at the time of this episode's airing in 2002, digital ink was not very common and traditional cel animation wouldn't become defunct until three years later.note 
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  • Avenging the Villain: Frank Grimes is being avenged by his heretofore unknown son, Frank Grimes Junior.
  • Call-Back:
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • As Moe, Carl, and Lenny give Sideshow Bob advice on how to kill Bart, Homer shuts them up—not because they were threatening his son, but so Bob can think.
    • Homer does this twice with being voted King of Mardi Gras: First when Marge points out that Homer's leaving himself exposed to the killer, Homer tells her not to "embarrass (him) in front of the drag queen." Then, when Bob states that the killer stuffed the ballots so that Homer would be elected, going so far as to show that all the votes for Homer have the same handwriting, Homer responds with "Nevertheless, the people have spoken."
    • Homer is among those who mistake his dummy for him.
      Homer, as he beats up the dummy: Once I kill you, everyone will think I'm the real Homer. Hahahahaha!
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: In this case, Bob is the consulted criminal. Even with his hostility towards Bart, he does make an honest effort to investigate who is targeting Homer and does figure it out in the climax.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Sideshow Bob plays darts at Moe's, fashioning a likeness of Bart's face out of the darts.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Frank Grimes, Jr. is the person trying to kill Homer.
  • Description Cut: In order to figure out who's trying to kill Homer, Bob tells Homer he's going to follow him through the course of an ordinary day. Cut to Homer and Bob hang-gliding:
    Sideshow Bob: This is a normal day?
    Homer: I... just wanted to impress you.
  • Enemy Mine: Second time Sideshow Bob works together with the Simpson family.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Sideshow Bob even agrees that modern methods of directly going to physically strongarming when it comes to robbing convenience stores is pretty low and without merit with Apu.
  • Flashback-Montage Realization: Framed within a Thought Bubble, Bob thinks back to the clues pointing to the identity of the person trying to kill Homer, triggered by Chief Wiggum mentioning how a mechanic tuned up the Mardi Gras parade floats. The clues were the spa invitation envelope that had a fingerprint stained in motor oil, how a wrench was used to trap Homer in the sauna, and the meeting with the mechanic towing Homer's car. Ultimately, it pointed to the mechanic as the one trying to murder Homer.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are various hints throughout the episode that indicate who's trying to kill Homer, as Sideshow Bob notices.
      • When Bart examines the spa invitation sent to Homer by the killer, he discovers a black smudge on it.
      • When the killer traps Homer in the sauna room, he uses an enormous wrench.
      • When the killer tries to shoot Homer and escapes, he uses a tow truck.
    • When Sideshow Bob asks the Simpsons to mention people who'd hate Homer to the point of wanting him dead, Frank Grimes is mentioned in spite of being dead. Homer's would-be killer is someone wanting to avenge Grimes.
  • Groin Attack: Homer's dummy receives one from Reverend Lovejoy.
  • Hand Wave: Homer questions how Frank Grimes had a son if he never married. Jr replies that his father "happened to like hookers".
  • Hey, You!: Sideshow Bob allows Bart and Lisa to simply call him "Bob".
  • Human Cannonball: Bob gets into the cannon on one of the Mardi Gras floats and lights the fuse in order to launch himself into the air and save Homer from getting Impaled with Extreme Prejudice on one of the swordfish in the swordfish museum.
    • Also a Continuity Nod; Bob has plenty of experience getting shot out of cannons, as revealed way back in "Krusty Gets Busted".
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Moe wants to whack Homer with a baseball bat because Homer called him a sociopath.
  • Jerkass:
    • Homer's friends at the bar actually give Sideshow Bob advice and encouragement to kill Bart.
    • Homer was willing to work with Sideshow Bob, someone who actively tries to kill Bart. Bart calls him out on this, potentially putting Bart's life in danger without hesistation so Homer could save his own ass.
    • Homer insists in mistreating the man who handles his car's towing and repair even if he's already being threatened with death and asking stuff that is impossible. He even says he will get angry if he loses one... of the two... pennies on the car's ash tray.
  • Jury Duty: Homer's mail sorter sorts a jury summons as bad mail.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: This is Marge's reaction when she realizes she accidentally vacuumed up Maggie while spring cleaning at the beginning of the episode.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Even if he wasn't trying to get even with Homer because his stupidity drove his father to suicidal madness, Frank Grimes, Jr. obtains some very good reasons to hate Homer in the short time he's on-screen before the big reveal, with Homer treating him like literal shit just like Grimes Senior was treated like metaphorical shit (by the universe, not Homer per se).
  • Musical Spoiler: Using Sideshow Bob's Leitmotif for the shot of Campbell's Chunky Soap Maximum Security Prison really gives away the reveal of Sideshow Bob.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: A yoga position wherea person keeps their butt up is called "the American taxpayer".
  • Mythology Gag: At one point after being shocked for an extended period of time by the shock garter, Bob's hair returns to the afro style he had in his first appearence.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Discussed and Subverted: when Bob and Homer are in Moe's Bar, Lenny and Carl advise Bob to just slice Bart's throat and be done with it, and Bob tries to do that in the Post-Climax Confrontation... but he can't bring himself to do it because (as he explains in song) he got too used to Bart.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Upon realizing that Homer's runaway Mardi Gras float is heading for the Swordfish Museum, Marge comments "That museum's been nothing but trouble since it opened."
    • It's never been revealed what made Lisa think Bumblebee Man was the culprit.
    • When Homer and Marge are listing Homer's past enemies to Bob, Homer apparently got in a feud with one of The Dixie Chicks.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • Homer's sisters-in-law are among those who attack his dummy, by tossing a cinder block at its head and running away when it nearly tears its head off.
    Selma: Let's go, while he's stunned! (Patty hits the gas on their car)
    • Homer also shows this attitude towards them at the beginning of the episode, having his mail sorter sort an invitation to a party being held by them as bad mail.
  • Pet the Dog: Sideshow Bob chooses to save Homer rather than let him die. He also is unable to kill Bart and sings a song about how accustomed to Bart he’s become.
  • Plot Hole: How exactly did Bob escape police custody after Chief Wiggum tranquilized him to try and kill Bart near the end?
  • Private Profit Prison: Parodied. The maximum security prison in which megalomaniacal psychos like Bob are incarcerated is sponsored by Campbell Soup.
  • Sauna of Death: First attempt on Homer's life. He was actually already in danger by being in the sauna at all because of his obesity and heart problems. The sauna controls helpfully included the setting "murder".
  • Series Continuity Error:
  • Shout-Out:
  • Song Parody: At one point, Sideshow Bob sings a song that is inspired by "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" from My Fair Lady.
  • Stun Guns: Wiggum affixes a remote button-controlled "shock garter" to Sideshow Bob's leg, which administers a jolt every time he threatens someone. Or whenever somebody feels like pushing the button.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Frank Grimes, Jr. is revealed to be Homer's would-be killer, Lisa pretends to have figured it out so she won't admit she made a mistake.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    Chief Wiggum: Now, Mr. Simpson. Is it possible you're living a double or triple life that your wife doesn't know about?
    Homer: Triple? [looks around] No. Definitely no.
  • Take That!:
    • When Marge suggests that the prison wasn't a good place to bring the kids, Lisa offers that it "still beats Disney's California Adventure". The others quickly agree.
    • While staying at the Simpsons' house, Bob watches an episode of That '30s Show:
      Sideshow Bob: Tom Shales gave this show a good review. And I'm the one in prison!
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: When Bob can't bring himself to kill Bart, he goes into a musical number about how he's grown accustomed to Bart's face. Which he insists on doing solo, when Bart tries to sing along.
  • Trope Co. Trope of the Week: Bob is housed at "Campbell's Chunky Soup Maximum Security Prison".
  • Unexplained Recovery: The last time we saw Sideshow Bob, Chief Wiggum was preparing to execute him for brainwashing Bart to kill Krusty. No explanation is given on how Bob managed to earn a reprieve.
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Homer treats the man that tows and repairs his vehicle like crap, getting paranoid over losing the two pennies in the ash tray and demanding the car be fixed only with American parts (turns out that Homer's car —at least on this episode— was built out of Czech tanks). Turns out that the man is Frank Grimes, Jr, and Homer is just giving him more reasons to kill him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Lampshaded, when various people show up to attack the "Homer" dummy Sideshow Bob rigs to lure the killer. Including Homer himself.
    Homer: Once I kill you, everyone will think I'm the real Homer. Hahahahaha!
    Sideshow Bob: [turning to the others with some confusion] None of this seems odd to you?
    Marge: [shrugging] Meh.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: At Moe's, the regulars mock Sideshow Bob's inability to kill Bart, with Lenny suggesting he "just come up behind him with a knife and slit his throat real quick-like". At the end of the episode, confronting Bart in his room, Bob takes out a knife and says he's "going to take some advice that was given to me by Lenny, and kill you without delay". (Only to discover he can't go through with it, having grown accustomed to Bart's face.)
  • You Killed My Father: The reason Frank Grimes, Jr. tries to kill Homer.