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:
- Actor Allusion: The entire episode could be called an extended Frasier reference, but the scene when the brothers arrive at Cecil's apartment even borrows the title cards. In fact, the actors who voice Bob and Cecil portrayed another set of brothers in Frasier, hence the title.
- 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: For his audition for the Krusty the Clown Show, Cecil wears giant clown mitts. While they are extremely hilarious, they make it difficult to drive; Cecil laments as much to Bob — who had to carpool his brother to the studio and decided to come inside with him.
- 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!
- Batman Gambit: A multi-layered one. Cecil purposefully staffs the construction crew with the most "rustic" imbeciles he can find — workmen that would do a shoddy job, that wouldn't have the engineering knowledge to notice the dam is hollow and lacking concrete, and whose stupidity will exasperate the already stressed-out Bob so much that it'll keep him from discovering the truth of Cecil's embezzlement; sure enough, Bob, in anger, mutters something seemingly incriminating (see Red Herring), only making him sound even more suspicious and helping Cecil's future frame job.
- Bittersweet Ending: Cecil's plot is exposed and he's carted off to prison for it. But Bob's HeelFace 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: AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHOHHHHHHHHHHHH...SHOOT!
- 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. Made funnier by the fact that Cecil comes back into the room for a moment just to add this obvious fact on.
- 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. Also, Reverend Lovejoy refers to him as "the monster who once ran for mayor".
- Couch Gag: The living room is upside-down, and the family (also upside-down) come in and sit on the couch, but end up falling on the ceiling/floor.
- Description Cut:
Bart: Don't you see what you've done! Sideshow Bob hasn't reformed, he's pure evil! Oh, if only you knew what he was thinking.(cut to Sideshow Bob in car)Bob: (thinking) I hope they still make that shampoo I like.
- "Sideshow Bob is an unstoppable killing machine!" Cut to Bob singing "Amazing Grace" at the prison chapel.
- Bob is released from prison much to Bart's dismay.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Cecil is willing to frame Bob and devastate Springfield simply because Bob was made Krusty's sidekick, which he hated, instead of Cecil.Bob: This is because I became Krusty's sidekick instead of you, isn't it?Cecil: Off the record? Yes. But officially, I did it for the money!
- Embarrassing Damp Sheets: A subversion occurs when a dam breaks and floods Springfield. Ralph floats by on his bed and says, "I think I wet the bed," though it is unclear whether or not he really wet his bed.
- Enemy Mine: For the first time, Sideshow Bob teams up with the Simpsons to foil a common enemy.
- Evil All Along: Cecil Terwilliger. Not only is he an embezzler but he's willing to flood the entire town of Springfield with no remorse and set up said brother for it because he wanted to get rich (and, off the record, because Bob got to be Krusty's assistant). The only thing he succeeds with is taking Bob to prison with him and even that's more because Chief Wiggum is so incompetent that he thought the brothers were working together so Bob goes to jail anyway.
- Fan Disservice: Cover-alls that don't quite "cover all". Cue hillbilly butt-shot.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: When protesting his innocence in the apparent embezzling scheme, Bob offhandedly comments that he wasn't in charge of the project's financials, Cecil was. Sure enough, moments later, Cecil suddenly appears to reveal he's the mastermind, not Bob.
- While going through Bob's trash, Bart promises Lisa that they'll go on the waterslide. They later go on one with Bob.
- Bob is introduced in a chapel, claiming to have turned his act around and truly reformed. It seems like an obvious ruse to get out of prison, and his civility thereafter also seems like it sets up for an Evil All Along reveal, but when Cecil finally reveals himself, its clear Bob really had no intention of playing the villain.
- 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.
- Good All Along: Notably the only episode of Sideshow Bobs saga where he's good from start to finish. His brother picks up his slack in the evil department.
- 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.
- HeelFace Turn: Although it doesn't stick, Bob actually does genuinely reform during this episode.
- Heroic BSoD: 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 (admittedly, Cecil was about to blow up the dynamite that Bob was holding, meaning that they were going to survive longer by falling). 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.
- I Fell for Hours: Bart and Sideshow Bob fall off the Springfield dam trying to stop Cecil from blowing it up. The fall is long enough for them to stop screaming, take a deep breath and start screaming again.
- 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".
- Kick the Dog: Bart and Lisa are caught and sent back home by Bob for spying. Homer in Jerkass mode tells them he ate their dinners.
- Lazy Bum: Homer is unwilling to follow Bart upstairs and reassure him after he sees Bob on TV simply because it involves going upstairs.
- Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Sideshow Bob and Cecil never spoke to each other for ten years.
- 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..."
- Miscarriage of Justice: Despite being the one who saved the town and Cecil acting alone to try and kill both him and Bart before going ahead to flood the entire town, Bob gets arrested purely because of Chief Wiggum assuming that he had something to do with it. Status Quo Is God, yes, but it's a little "Shaggy Dog" Story on Bob's part.
- 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 Helping Your Case: As Bob complains about Cecil's employees, Cecil says he makes them sound like a bunch of slack-jawed yokels. Then Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel bursts in to tell them about an unfortunate accident with the cement mixer.
- Not Me This Time: Bart suspects Bob is up to no good as usual but this turns out to be the one time he isn't planning something evil, it's his brother in an embezzlement (and technically revenge) scheme. When Wiggum shows up to arrest Cecil, he arrests Bob as well, mostly just out of habit.Bob: But I saved the children!
Cecil: Tell them they'll live to regret this.
Bob: You'll all live to regret this! Oh, thanks a lot, now I look crazy.
- 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.Sideshow Bob: But you can't do this! I saved the children's lives! I'm a hero!
Cecil Terwilliger: [craftily] Tell them they'll live to regret this.
Sideshow Bob: You'll live to regret this! [realizing] Oh, thanks a lot, now I look crazy
- Overly Long Gag: Sideshow Bob and Bart fall off a dam, screaming the entire way, and have to stop to take in a breath, before they continue to scream.
- Pet the Dog: Bob makes a genuine attempt to change and even saves Bart's life from his brother.
- Pie in the Face: According to Krusty, it's "only funny when the sap's got dignity."
- Pragmatic Villainy: Cecil is notably less melodramatic than Bob in his schemes. When Cecil tries to throw Bart off a cliff and Bart tries to flatter him to stall for time, similar to how he fooled Bob in a previous episode, Cecil doesn't fall for it and simply states he'd lie about how he killed Bart to seem more impressive if asked later.
- Prayer of Malice: Homer and Marge look in on Bart saying his evening prayers:Bart: And God bless Mom, and Dad, and Lisa, and Maggie... and please, God... kill Sideshow Bob.
Marge: [Horrified; running in] Bart, no!
Bart: [Quickly] It's him or me, o, Lord.
[She forces Bart's hands apart]
Marge: You can't ask God to kill someone!
Homer: Yeah, 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."
- Krusty's prison performance is based on Johnny Cash's 1968 concert at Folsom Prison. He's even dressed all in black, playing on a guitar and his song is a parody of Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues".
- 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 Frasier.
- 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.
- Stating the Simple Solution: When Cecil gets ready to toss Bart off the dam's edge to kill him and gloats that he'll do what Bob never was able to, Bart tries to buy time by appealing to Cecil's vanity that this is a very crude way to kill him. Cecil hesitates for a whole second by admitting Bart is right then immediately says that he'll make up something cool later ("If anyone asks, I'll lie!") and tosses Bart.
- 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.
Bob: You wanted to be Krusty's sidekick since you were five. What about the buffoon lessons, the four years at clown college?
- And to Princeton:
Cecil: I'll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.
- Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy: Parodied when Sideshow Bob, actually innocent and reformed for once, actually helps Bart and Lisa thwart his criminal brother Cecil from sabotaging a construction project he and Bob are working on together. In the aftermath, Chief Wiggum sends him to prison along with Cecil on general principle.
- 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. The "cultured" part is justified, as both men are voiced by the actors who play Frasier and Niles Crane on the NBC sitcom Frasier.
- 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.
- You Won't Feel a Thing!:Cecil: There may be a slight ringing in your ears. Fortunately, you'll be nowhere near them.