Original air date: 12/15/2002
Production code: EABF-01
After Homer gets locked into a sauna by a hooded man, he realizes someone is trying to kill him — and only Sideshow Bob can figure out who that is.
From this episode onwards, the series is animated using digital ink and paint, rather than the cel animation used since the show's inception.
- 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.Bob: Ah, yes, the Kwik-E-Mart. I haven't been here since I robbed it dressed as Krusty, my one successful crime.
Apu: You were quite the gentleman. Today's robbers, they are all smash-and-grab. You understood the dance.
Bob: [sighs nostalgically and puts his arm around Apu] Our time is passing, old friend. [Apu nods knowingly]
Homer: Uh, if you two country hens are finished clucking...
- 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.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Bob realizes he'd become this if he actually dispatched with Bart, since killing him has become his sole goal in life.
- Art Shift: As of this episode, the show fully switched over to digital paint. The difference between the two styles can fully be seen in the scene where the killer is revealed, which includes a Flashback to the events of "Homer's Enemy" under the old animation. It would remain this way until the shift to HD a few seasons later.
- Avenging the Villain: Frank Grimes is being avenged by his heretofore unknown son, Frank Grimes Junior.
- Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: When Homer's Mardi Gras float begins moving, he's startled by a gunshot going off. The gunshots turn out to be from Fat Tony and his men gunning down Frankie the Squealer.Homer: Phew. Just Italians.
- Body Horror: Played for Laughs. When Homer is getting a back-stepping massage, the massagist starts slowing sinking into his back. She even tries pulling at her leg.Massagist: Help! Please! Someone throw me a stick!Homer: Don't struggle. You'll only sink faster.
- When Sideshow Bob asks Homer who would want to kill him, Homer and Marge begin listing past enemies from previous episodes:Sideshow Bob: Now, Homer, who can you think of who would have reason to do you ill?
Homer: Well, there's Mr. Burns, Fat Tony, the Emperor of Japan, ex-President Bush-
Marge: -The late Frank Grimes-
Homer: -PBS, Stephen Hawking, the fat little Dixie Chick-
Marge: -and the State of Florida.
Sideshow Bob: How can an ordinary man have so many enemies?
Homer: I'm a people person- who drinks.
- While following Homer through the course of an ordinary day, Sideshow Bob stops at the Kwik-E-Mart and happily reminisces about the first crime he ever committed with Apu.
- After having a Flashback to Frank Grimes' suicide, Homer seems to forget that Grimes is dead, asking Junior how his old man is these days. A similar occurrence happened in "Natural Born Kissers," when upon finding the program to Grimes' funeral inside his suit jacket, Homer asks Marge "whatever happened to that guy anyway?"
- When Sideshow Bob asks Homer who would want to kill him, Homer and Marge begin listing past enemies from previous episodes:
- Churchgoing Villain: When Homer invokes his role as "king" of Mardi Gras to commandeer Jimbo Jones' stilts, Jimbo responds, "Jesus is our only king!"Homer: Not anymore!
- 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 with Apu that modern methods of directly going to physically strongarming when it comes to robbing convenience stores is pretty low and without merit.
- 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, when he was both missing a wrench of that size and was cleaning his hands of oil. Ultimately, it pointed to the mechanic as the one trying to murder Homer.
- 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.
- When Homer and Bob stop over at the Kwik-E-Mart, Apu reminds them to vote for the King of Mardi Gras, foreshadowing the attempt to kill Homer in the third act.
- There are various hints throughout the episode that indicate who's trying to kill Homer, as Sideshow Bob notices.
- 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.
- 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.
- Karma Houdini: Invoked by Homer after being elected King of Mardi Gras:Homer: Good things DO happen to bad people!
- 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).
- Living with the Villain: The Simpsons, temporarily, with Sideshow Bob. Bart's understandable reservations on this point are pretty much erased as soon as he realizes that, as a condition of this arrangement, he and his family get to shock Bob at will with a remote-operated taser.Bart: I don't know how we ever had fun without him.
- Mood Whiplash: A happy ending with the case wrapped up and Homer and Bart saying goodnight to each other quickly turns scary when Homer leaves and Sideshow Bob reveals he's been lying in wait in Bart's bedroom. The mood quickly veers to funny again when Bob, realizing he can't go through with the killing, starts singing a song about it (cue Bart taking a glance at his watch).
- 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:
- When Apu reminds Homer and Bob to vote for the King of Mardi Gras, Homer comments that the previous year's King (Cletus) had to resign because he married a commoner.
- 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.
- 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.
- Overused Running Gag:Bart: This man has tried to kill me so much it's not funny anymore!
- 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.
- Private Profit Prison: Parodied. The maximum security prison in which megalomaniacal psychos like Bob are incarcerated is sponsored by Campbell Soup.
- Product Placement Name: Bob is housed at "Campbell's Chunky Soup Maximum Security Prison".
- 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:
- Bob mentions that robbing the Kwik-E-Mart dressed as Krusty was his one successful crime, apparently forgetting about his single-handed rigging of a mayoral election.
- This episode features the third different gravestone used for Frank Grimes. In "Homer's Enemy", the gravestone simply read "Grimes", while "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily" read "Frank 'Grimey' Grimes". Here it reads "Frank Grimes (Homer's Enemy)".
- 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.Homer: Bart, turn off that original cast recording and go to bed!
- Static Stun Gun: 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.
- 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.
- Villainous Ethics Decay: Played for laughs as Bob and Apu reminisce the robbery that got Bob arrested with fondness and Apu praises Bob as one who understood the theatrics of stick-up thieves, unlike the modern generation that just shoot Apu and take whatever they can before running off.
- Wham Shot: Near the end, Homer and Bart say a sweet goodnight to each other and Homer walks into the hallway, closing the bedroom door to reveal a manically-grinning Sideshow Bob clinging to the other side.
- 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.