Funeral for a Fiend
"Funeral for a Fiend (Love Lies Bleeding)" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' nineteenth season and first aired on November 25, 2007. It was written by Michael Price and was directed by Rob Oliver. It features Kelsey Grammer in his tenth appearance as Sideshow Bob, as well as David Hyde Pierce in his second appearance as Cecil Terwilliger. John Mahoney makes his first appearance as Dr. Robert Terwilliger, Sr., the father of Bob and Cecil. Keith Olbermann also makes a guest appearance as himself.
Homer goes to Circuit Circus to buy a camera battery, but winds up purchasing a TiVo because the batteries are free with the purchase of a TiVo. The family enjoys using the TiVo to watch TV without the commercials, especially Marge, who happily skips over them. Late one night, Marge sees Keith Olbermann on the TV screen accusing her of not watching the commercials that pay for the TV shows, calling her "The Worst Person in The World", and convinces her to watch them. One such ad is for a new rib restaurant, owned by a cowboy named Wes Doobner. The restaurant is perfectly suited to each member of the family, and they decide to visit it for its grand opening.
When they arrive they find the building deserted, and the door locks behind them. Wes Doobner is revealed as Sideshow Bob after he speaks, since Lisa recognizes his voice and realizes that "Wes Doobner's World Famous Family Style Rib Huts" is an anagram of "Sideshow Bob's World Famous Family Style Return". After tying up the Simpsons, Bob shows them a slideshow of how he got to Springfield after Krusty prevented Bob from killing the Simpsons in Italy, built the restaurant, and produced the commercial. Sideshow Bob then reveals a large pile of TNT, with which he will kill them, using a laptop with a defective battery (which will overheat and explode) as a detonator. While gloating, Bob incorrectly quotes a phrase from Macbeth and Lisa corrects him. He tries to look up the correct phrase on Wikipedia, but the laptop explodes in Bob's hands. He is then arrested and taken to court.
During Bob's trial, Bob's father, Dr. Robert Terwilliger Sr., is brought to testify. He explains Bob has a rare heart condition, and also suggests that Sideshow Bob is insane because of his long-standing feud with Bart. Sideshow Bob then asks if anyone was tormented by Bart's pranks, to which everyone responds positively. This convinces Springfield that in the long-run Bart is ultimately to blame, and they turn against him. As Bart pleads his innocence, Bob takes out a vial labeled nitroglycerin, which Bart snatches and throws out the window, thinking it was an explosive. The vial was actually Bob's heart medication, and he collapses on the floor, unconscious, and is pronounced dead.
Bob's entire family attends the funeral: His mother, Dame Judith Underdunk, a well-known Shakespearean actress; his father; his brother Cecil, who was let out of jail for the occasion; his wife Francesca, who is now a widow; and his son, Gino. Many of the regular Springfielders also attend the funeral. Feeling slightly guilty, Bart speaks to Cecil and decides to go to the Springfield Funeral Home to make peace with Bob's corpse before it is cremated; however, Bob rises out of the coffin, very much alive, and traps Bart in the coffin to be incinerated, all the while gloating over his old foe. Back at home, a request to relax at the Simpson house by Milhouse makes Lisa realize that everything was an elaborate plot put together by Bob's entire family, explaining that because of his mother, Bob would have known Shakespeare too well to have misquoted him accidentally and that he must have done so intentionally in order to get caught and go to trial, where he was put in a temporary deathlike state with a special drug injection by his father (Cecil helped by playing to Bart's guilty conscience and encouraging him to visit the corpse, though Bob refuses to express any appreciation for his brother's efforts, snidely remarking, "Yes, and Hamlet is all about Laertes!"). The Simpsons race to the funeral parlor (but waste time driving in circles around the building for ten minutes for Lisa to finish her explanation) and narrowly save Bart from being burned alive by blinding Bob with unclaimed ashes.
The police then arrive and arrest the Terwilligers. Defeated, Bob asks Lisa how she knew of his scheme, and Lisa explains that she was suspicious that Bob's coffin had extra room for his large feet, which the family would not have bothered to pay to have put in "for the comfort of a dead man". Bob and his family are sentenced to prison for 87 years and have to share a cell with Snake who constantly torments them.
The scene where Homer blocks Marge from getting Bart out the coffin, telling her, "He has got to get over his fear of coffins," is derived from the opening scene from "Tennis the Menace" where Bart gets trapped in a coffin and starts to panic. Homer watches him panic on a closed circuit TV.
The song Krusty sings at Bob's "funeral" is a take-off on "Candle in the Wind" by Elton John. The title of the episode is also an allusion to the Elton John song "Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)", the preceding song to "Candle in the Wind" on the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
The Terwilligers seal Bart in Bob's spacious coffin and turn on the conveyor belt to the cremation furnace in an attempt to incinerate him, in reference to the two bad guys, Wint and Kidd, doing the same to James Bond in the film adaptation of Diamonds Are Forever.
An estimated 9.0 million viewers tuned into the episode. Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a 6.2/10, saying, "There were some enjoyable scenes, but the half hour lacked in the number of laugh-out-loud moments, and Bob's ultimate scheme wasn't very surprising." The website later placed the episode at #9 on the list of "the Top 10 Sideshow Bob Episodes", with Canning stating that it "returned Bob to his path of vengeance, and that's really the only factor that pushes this episode above its predecessor. Even with a return to what we know, this is still one of the weakest Sideshow Bob episodes. One major aspect of this episode is that it reunited the Crane family from Frasier. [...] While this could have been comedy gold, The Simpsons wasted the opportunity. Instead of keeping the familiar dynamics these actors had shared before (a tactic that worked extremely well in Cecil's first appearance), the series took a different route, making Mahoney's father character just as uppity and snobbish as his animated sons. Add an excessively elaborate, unfunny plot to kill Bart and "Funeral for a Fiend" failed to capture any of the early seasons' Sideshow Bob magic." Richard Keller of AOL TV said, "While Pierce and Mahoney did have their moments it was all Grammer this episode as a Sideshow Bob coming apart at the seams." He went on to say, "For the most part this week's episode was entertaining. Plus, it also brought a bit of continuity into the show, something that comes and goes on the program." Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+, praising the appearance of Pierce and Mahoney as Cecil and Dr. Terwilliger post-Fraiser, but criticized the TiVo storyline at the beginning, and wondered "if Lisa's recap of Sideshow Bob's plot was meant to be an homage to "Black Widower," when Bart recapped Bob's plan to kill Selma. If it was, it was half-assed; if it wasn't, it was a pleasant bit of unintentional nostalgia."
- "SIDESHOW BOB and family RETURN for the ultimate simpsons revenge on "the simpsons" sunday, NOVEMBER 25, on fox". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
- "Funeral for a Fiend". Simpsons Channel. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- Canning, Robert (November 26, 2007). "The Simpsons: "Funeral for a Fiend" Review". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
- Canning, Robert (December 2, 2009). "The Simpsons: Top 10 Sideshow Bob Episodes". IGN. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
- Keller, Richard (November 25, 2007). "The Simpsons: Funeral for a Fiend". AOL TV. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
- Koski, Genevieve (November 25, 2007). ""Tears Of An Inflatable Clown" / "Funeral For A Fiend" / "Peter's Daughter"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
- "Funeral for a Fiend"[dead link] at The Simpsons.com
- Funeral for a Fiend at the Internet Movie Database