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Recap / The Simpsons S17 E8: "The Italian Bob"

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The Simpsons are going to help Mr. Burns retrieve his sports car, and end up in an Italian village where Sideshow Bob is now married and has a son.


  • All Part of the Show: When Bob's family disguise themselves as extras to kill the Simpsons in the Colosseum, Lisa tells the audience that it's no act and that they're really trying to kill them. Nobody is convinced. Also a key part of the show that the attempted murders are not part of. Not a show, within a show, within not-a-show, within a show, within a show.
  • Artistic License – Cars: Driving a car over an aqueduct is pretty impossible.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Many Italian characters seen in this episode are unable to speak English, but otherwise understand it alright.
  • Chair Reveal: Mayor Sideshow Bob reveals himself to the Simpsons this way. In a twist, he's just as shocked to see them.
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  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Lisa: "Dad, you're driving on an ancient Roman aqueduct."
    Homer: "What am I supposed to use it for? Transporting water to distant urban centers?! Lazy Romans."
  • "El Niño" Is Spanish for "The Niño": When Bob swears a vendetta on the family, Marge looks in an Italian-American dictionary and is shocked that "vendetta" means "vendetta" in English.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Sideshow Bob uses a spinning globe to decide where to start a new life, and vehemently refuses the first choices of Orlando and North Korea. And even though he is considerably more intelligent and cultured than the average Springfieldian, he is still repulsed at the thought of living in Shelbyville.
  • Face–Heel Turn: At first Francesca knew nothing of her husband's multiple murder attempts. When she does become aware, she helps Bob try to kill the Simpsons family.
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  • The Family That Slays Together: Provides the page image.
  • Gladiator Games: While in the Colosseum Bart shows his historical ignorance by telling Krusty: "We don't want to be the first Christians to die at the Colosseum."
  • Historical In-Joke:
    Homer: "Stupid Italy. Wish you'd never been unified by Victor Emmanuel II. If only you'd stayed a loose confederation of city-states, trading with each other and occasionally warring."
    Bart: Please help us, Krusty. We don't want to be the first Christians to die at the Colosseum.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Marge believes that Bob is a better person because he has a family.
    Marge: Bart, Bob is a family man now. You can't be a bad person if you have a family.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: Homer gives a Kentucky mug to an old Italian woman, who angrily declares "'Kentucky'?! In Italian, this means 'whore'!" and slaps him. It actually doesn't. Intentional Rule of Funny.
  • In Vino Veritas: After Lisa is loosened up by a few glasses of wine, she lets the truth about Sideshow Bob's criminal past slip out.
  • Language Barrier: Homer is vexed that people in Italy don't speak English.
    Homer: Americana? What the hell could that mean? Why can't you people learn to speak my language? I learned to eat your food!
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The Simpsons drive past a crashed cheese truck, and dodge all it's Italian cheeses falling their way, with Lisa cautiously listing them all (mozzarella, parmigiano, provolone, etc, all in Italian phrases). Finally, their car gets crashed by a giant mortadella (an Italian sausage). When Homer assures the family that he has the "cheese insurance", Marge points out that it doesn't cover mortadella. Cue Big "NO!" from Homer.
  • Loophole Abuse: Mr. Burns had Homer bring his new car from Italy to save tax money. He also paid for the whole family just because.
  • The Mafia: Referred to only once, according to an old village lady their small village is run by the Mafia.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Homer is surprised to see that Sideshow Bob has a wife, as he's always assumed Bob was "out loud and proud." Bob shrugs and says that he "experimented a bit" when he was younger.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting:
    Bart: "What's with the Canadian flag on your backpack?"
    Lisa: "Well, some people in Europe have the impression that America has made some stupid choices in the past, oh, five years. So, for the next week, I'm from Canada."
    Bart: "I think dad may blow your cover."
    Homer (battling over a flag): "That flag is mine! Don't mess with Texas! Shock and awe, losers! Shock and awe!"
  • National Stereotypes: Several references to Italy are made, including stylish cars, spaghetti, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pompeïi, the Pontevecchio Bridge, Federico Fellini, Italian cheese, chianti, Tuscany, The Mafia, vendetta, olive gardens, aqueducts, the Colosseum, opera and Venice. Bart makes a tiny reference to The Adventures of Pinocchio too, after watching a horrible educational video at the start of the episode: "What is this crap? This is worse than 'Wheelchair-nocchio.'"
  • Never My Fault: After a drunk Lisa reveals Bob's criminal past, he swears a vendetta on the family even though it was his idea to let Lisa drink wine. He is also at fault for wearing his prison outfit for no apparent reason underneath his clothes.
  • Opera: The final scene takes place at an opera. Sideshow Bob disguises himself as Pagliaccio (Pagliacci), and gives a far better performance than Krusty did.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: Of The Italian Job.
  • Retcon: Homer at one point says he never went to college, despite going to college in the episode Homer Goes to College. Then again, maybe that's why Bob said "stop the presses." Or maybe that's just him not remembering it, which wouldn't be that surprising.
  • Shout-Out: The song Sideshow Bob sings while squashing grapes with his feet is a reference to Nancy Sinatra's song "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'".
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Yes, even Maggie is being targeted by Sideshow Bob in spite of her innocence just because she's a Simpson.
  • Spaghetti and Gondolas: Can be seen in the village. Justified, as this stereotype refers to the Tuscany region and the village is indeed in Tuscany. According to Mr. Burns, they spent at least a month in Italy, so it makes sense that they could visit every major city in the episode's time.
  • Take That!: According to an Italian police book, Peter Griffin is wanted for plagiarism and Stan Smith for plagiarism of plagiarism.note 
  • Translation by Volume: The elderly woman Homer approaches doesn't know any English, so he decides to shout out all of the details of the Lamborgotti Fasterossa in her face.
  • Vacation Episode: The Simpsons travel to Italy.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Krusty says this when his opera act (which he was improvising) starts to go south.

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