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Krusty Gets Busted

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"Krusty Gets Busted"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 12
Directed byBrad Bird[1]
Written byJay Kogen
Wallace Wolodarsky[1]
Production code7G12
Original air dateApril 29, 1990 (1990-04-29)[2]
Guest appearance(s)
Episode features
Chalkboard gag"They are laughing at me, not with me"[3]
Couch gagMaggie pops out of the couch, and lands in Marge's arms.[1]
CommentaryMatt Groening
Brad Bird
Jay Kogen
Wallace Wolodarsky
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Crepes of Wrath"
Next →
"Some Enchanted Evening"
The Simpsons (season 1)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"Krusty Gets Busted" is the 12th episode of The Simpsons' first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 29, 1990.[2] The episode was written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky, and directed by Brad Bird.[1] In the episode, Krusty the Clown is convicted of armed robbery of the Kwik-E-Mart and sentenced to jail. Convinced that Krusty has been framed, Bart and Lisa investigate the crime and learn that Krusty's sidekick, Sideshow Bob, is the culprit.

This episode marks the first full-fledged appearance of Kent Brockman,[1] and Kelsey Grammer makes his first guest appearance on the show as the voice of Sideshow Bob.[4]


Homer stops by the Kwik-E-Mart on the way home from work and sees a masked clown resembling Krusty committing a robbery. After Homer identifies him at a police lineup and in the courtroom, Krusty is convicted and sentenced to prison. Bart is upset because he idolizes Krusty. Reverend Lovejoy urges the town's residents to destroy Krusty's merchandise.

Krusty's sidekick Sideshow Bob becomes the host of the clown show, renamed The Side-Show Bob Cavalcade of Whimsy. Bob retools the show to focus on education and classic literature while retaining The Itchy and Scratchy Show. Refusing to accept that his hero could have committed the crime, Bart enlists Lisa's help to prove Krusty's innocence.

At the crime scene, Bart and Lisa recall the robber read a magazine and used a microwave oven; Krusty is illiterate and has an artificial pacemaker which requires him to avoid microwave radiation. When Bart and Lisa visit Sideshow Bob to learn whether Krusty had any enemies, he gives them tickets to his show. During the live broadcast, Bart is invited on stage with Bob, who dismisses Bart's points about the microwave and magazine; Bob claims that Krusty never listened to doctors and that you can enjoy the cartoons in a magazine without being able to read.

When Bob says he has a lot of "big shoes to fill", Bart remembers how the robber screamed in pain when Homer stepped on his foot during the robbery. Despite wearing large clown shoes, Krusty has small feet and would not have felt Homer stepping on his toes. Bart deduces that Sideshow Bob is the real robber since he had the most to gain from Krusty's downfall, and that his big feet literally fill his long clown shoes. To prove this, he hits Bob's shoes with a mallet, making Bob scream in pain and exposing his large feet. While watching the show, the police realize they failed to notice this piece of evidence and head to the studio to arrest Bob. His crime exposed, Bob confesses the reason he framed Krusty: he hated spending years on the receiving end of his humiliating gags while Krusty "squandered a fortune on his vulgar appetites". Bob vows revenge on Bart while being led away. Krusty is freed after the charges against him are dropped. He regains the trust of the town's residents and Homer apologizes for misidentifying him. Krusty thanks Bart for uncovering the truth and sticking to his convictions. Bart hangs a picture of himself shaking hands with Krusty in his bedroom, which he refills with Krusty decor and merchandise.


"Krusty Gets Busted" is the first episode guest starring Kelsey Grammer as the voice of Sideshow Bob

Director Brad Bird wanted to open the episode with a close-up of Krusty's face.[5] The staff liked the idea and he then suggested that all three acts of the episode, defined by the placement of the commercial breaks, should begin with a close-up shot.[5] Act one begins with Krusty's face introducing the audience at his show, act two begins with Krusty's face being locked up behind bars, and act three begins with Sideshow Bob's face on a big poster.[5] Krusty's character is based on a television clown from Portland, Oregon called Rusty Nails, whom The Simpsons creator Matt Groening watched while growing up in Portland.[6] The original teleplay, written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky, was 78 pages long and many scenes had to be cut.[7] One scene that had to be cut down was the scene where Patty and Selma show the slideshow of their vacation; it originally contained images of them being detained for bringing heroin into America.[7]

"Krusty Gets Busted" is Sideshow Bob's second appearance on The Simpsons, but is his first major appearance. He first appeared as an minor character in the season one episode "The Telltale Head".[8] In that appearance, his design was simpler and his hair was round in shape. However, near the end of the episode he appears with his more familiar hairstyle. Bob's design was updated for "Krusty Gets Busted", and the animators tried to redo his scenes in "The Telltale Head" with the re-design, but did not have enough time.[8] The script for "Krusty Gets Busted" called for James Earl Jones to voice Bob, but the producers instead went with Kelsey Grammer, a cast member on Cheers at the time.[4] Kent Brockman, Judge Snyder, and Scott Christian make their first appearances on The Simpsons in this episode.[9]

Cultural references[edit]

Chief Wiggum's order during the suspect line-up to "send in the clowns" is an allusion to the Stephen Sondheim song "Send in the Clowns" from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music. The Sondheim musical took its name from Mozart's Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, which is the theme tune to Sideshow Bob's show.[1] The close up shot of Krusty's face behind bars in the beginning of act two is a reference of the closing credit motif of the British television series The Prisoner from the 1960s.[1] The background music in that scene resembles the theme of the television series Mission: Impossible at one point.[1] Sideshow Bob is reading The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexander Dumas to the studio audience.[10] The song "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" by Cole Porter is featured in the episode.[1] Following Sideshow Bob's arrest, he mutters: "I would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for these meddling kids.", which is a reference to a catchphrase from Hanna-Barbera's animated television show Scooby-Doo, which was airing on ABC as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo when this episode aired.[6]


In its original American broadcast, "Krusty Gets Busted" finished 13th in the ratings for the week of April 23–29, 1990, with a Nielsen rating of 16.4. It was the highest rated show on the Fox network that week.[11] The episode received generally positive reviews from critics. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, praised the episode: "The invention of the Simpsons' arch enemy as a lugubrious yet psychotic Englishman in dreadlocks succeeds wonderfully in this super-fast, super-funny episode that works by constantly reversing the audience's expectations."[1]

In a DVD review of the first season, David B. Grelck rated this episode a 3 (of 5).[12] Colin Jacobson at DVD Movie Guide said in a review that "throughout the episode we found great material; it really seemed clear that the show was starting to turn into the piece we now know and love. It's hard for me to relate any deficiencies" and added that "almost every Bob episode offers a lot of fun, and this episode started that trend in fine style."[13] Screen Rant called it the best episode of the first season and the 10th greatest episode of The Simpsons.[14] Series creator Matt Groening listed it as his ninth favorite episode of The Simpsons and added "I have a peculiar love of TV clownery".[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Krusty Gets Busted Retrieved on August 31, 2008
  2. ^ a b c "Krusty Gets Busted" The Retrieved on August 29, 2008
  3. ^ Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M..
  4. ^ a b Bird, Brad (2001). The Simpsons season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "Krusty Gets Busted" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ a b c Bird, Brad (2001). Commentary for the episode "Krusty Gets Busted". The Simpsons: The Complete First Season (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ a b Groening, Matt (2001). Commentary for the episode "Krusty Gets Busted". The Simpsons: The Complete First Season (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ a b Wolodarsky, Wallace (2001). Commentary for the episode "Krusty Gets Busted". The Simpsons: The Complete First Season (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  8. ^ a b Moore, Rich (2001). The Simpsons season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "The Telltale Head" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  9. ^ Kogen, Jay (2001). Commentary for the episode "Krusty Gets Busted". The Simpsons: The Complete First Season (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-02. Retrieved 2014-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Richmond, Ray (1990-05-02). "CBS sweeps Sunday, but NBC nets week's honors". The Orange County Register. p. I06.
  12. ^ Grelck, David B. (2001-09-25). "The Complete First Season". WDBGProductions. Archived from the original on 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
  13. ^ Jacobson, Colin. "The Simpsons: The Complete First Season (1990)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  14. ^ Sim, Bernardo (2019-09-22). "The Simpsons: The Best Episode In Every Season, Ranked". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  15. ^ Snierson, Dan (2000-01-14). "Springfield of Dreams". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-05.

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