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Krusty Gets Busted

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"Krusty Gets Busted"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 12
Directed by Brad Bird[1]
Written by Jay Kogen
Wallace Wolodarsky[1]
Showrunner(s) James L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Sam Simon
Production code 7G12
Original air date April 29, 1990[2]
Chalkboard gag "They are laughing at me, not with me"[3]
Couch gag Maggie pops out of the couch, and lands in Marge's arms.[1]
Guest star(s) Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob[2]
Matt Groening
Brad Bird
Jay Kogen
Wallace Wolodarsky

"Krusty Gets Busted" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' first season, and originally aired 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, Bart's favorite clown, is convicted of the armed robbery of the Kwik-E-Mart. Bart and Lisa investigate, convinced that Krusty has been framed.

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] The episode was well received by critics, and it was the highest rated show on the Fox Network the week it aired.


Homer stops by the Kwik-E-Mart on the way home from work, displeased that he has to watch a boring slide show of Patty and Selma's Mexican vacation to the Yucatan. He witnesses a robbery committed by a masked clown, resembling Krusty. He positively identifies the clown as Krusty to the police (along with other witnesses), and Krusty is arrested. A news report (along with security footage of Homer insulting Patty and Selma) of the robbery immediately upsets Bart, who considers him to be his idol. During his trial the next day, Krusty is revealed to be illiterate (despite his show's endorsement for child literacy) and has lost substantial sums of money due to sports gambling. After being called out to the stand, Homer fingers out Krusty as the robber (much to Bart's objections), and Krusty is convicted and sentenced to jail. The community then gathers up in a public burning as they burn up all of Krusty's merchandise, much to Bart's dismay. With Krusty now in jail, Krusty's sidekick Sideshow Bob becomes the new host of The Krusty the Clown Show, which he renames Sideshow Bob's Cavalcade of Whimsy. Bob promises the viewers that the show will still retain the popular Itchy & Scratchy Show series, but will also become a more educational program. Still refusing to accept that his hero could have committed the crime, Bart enlists the help of a reluctant Lisa and they set out to prove Krusty's innocence.

Bart and Lisa return to the scene of the crime to search for clues. The first clue that Lisa found out was that Krusty could not have used the microwave as depicted by the hidden camera footage from the store because he wears a pacemaker and that the microwave has a sign warning people with pacemakers to stay away from it. The second clue was that Krusty would not have been reading at the magazine rack because he is illiterate, while the robber was. Lisa realizes Bart was right and accepts that Krusty was framed for a crime he did not commit. She then asks him if there was anyone who hated Krusty enough that wanted to take him down. Bart tells Lisa that he believes that Sideshow Bob may identify any enemies that wanted to take Krusty down and cancel his show. The next day Bart, Lisa, and Maggie meet Sideshow Bob at the studio to ask him for input, only for Bob to dismiss their investigations since the show is about to start. He give them three tickets to his show.

At the live broadcast, Bart is invited up on stage with Bob, where he points out the facts regarding the microwave and magazine. Bob dismisses it, stating that Krusty rarely followed doctors' orders and the magazine he was reading always had nice funny comics in it. When Bob says he has "a lot of big shoes to fill", Bart realizes the final link to the mystery and recalled with memory that Homer stepped on the robber's shoes that made him scream in pain. When he and Lisa both watch Krusty going into the courtroom, he has small feet "like all good-hearted people". Bart knew that despite wearing clown shoes all the time, Krusty never would have felt Homer stepping on them due to his small feet. It was then he realized that Sideshow Bob is the real robber, since he had the most to gain in Krusty's downfall. He has feet large enough to fill Krusty's clown shoes and therefore he yelled at Homer when he stepped on his foot during the robbery. An outraged Bart contends to the audience that the real robber is Sideshow Bob, and demonstrates the fact by smashing the end of Bob's shoe with a croquet mallet. This causes Bob to scream and curse in pain exactly as he did in the video footage and the children turn against him for what he did to Krusty. The police, having watched the show, realized they wrongfully put Krusty in jail for a crime he did not commit and head down the studio to arrest Sideshow Bob.

Arrested and exposed, Bob confesses that the reason he framed Krusty was out of frustration for constantly being on the receiving end of the clown's humiliating gags. He felt his intelligence was wasted on the show and wanted Krusty gone so he could make an educational program where his intelligence is appreciated. As Bob is taken off to jail, he pays grudging kudos to Bart and Lisa (using the oft-used line from Scooby Doo, "I would've gotten away with it if it weren't for these meddling kids!"), and vows revenge on Bart. Sideshow Bob dramatically warns criminals not to underestimate children because they were smart to catch him and will do the same to them. The charges against Krusty are dropped and he regains the trust of the community. Homer then apologizes to Krusty for fingering him in court, and Krusty thanks Bart for standing up for the truth and sticking to his convictions, and a picture is taken of the two shaking hands (which Bart later hangs in his bedroom, refilled with Krusty decor).


Kelsey Grammer voiced Sideshow Bob in the episode.

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]

Sideshow Bob's first major appearance on The Simpsons was in this episode, but he first appeared in the background of a scene in the season one episode "The Telltale Head".[8] In that appearance, his design was more simple and his hair was round in shape. 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 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] The line "The Day the Laughter Died", shown during the newscast, is a reference to the Andrew Dice Clay album released the previous month.[citation needed] 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.[6]


In its original American broadcast, "Krusty Gets Busted" finished thirteenth place in the ratings for the week of May 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. Series creator Matt Groening listed it as his ninth favorite episode of The Simpsons and added "I have a peculiar love of TV clownery".[12] 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 gave the episode a rating of 3/5.[13] 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."[14]


  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. ^
  11. ^ Richmond, Ray (1990-05-02). "CBS sweeps Sunday, but NBC nets week's honors". The Orange County Register. p. I06. 
  12. ^ Snierson, Dan (2000-01-14). "Springfield of Dreams". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  13. ^ Grelck, David B. (2001-09-25). "The Complete First Season". WDBGProductions. Archived from the original on 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  14. ^ Jacobson, Colin. "The Simpsons: The Complete First Season (1990)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 

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