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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 twelfth and penultimate 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. Convinced that Krusty has been framed, Bart and Lisa investigate the incident and discover that Krusty's sidekick, Sideshow Bob, was 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 witnesses a masked clown resembling Krusty committing a robbery. He identifies the clown as Krusty to the police, and Krusty is arrested, upsetting Bart, who idolizes him. At the trial, Homer points out Krusty as the robber and he is convicted and sentenced to jail. The community then burns much of Krusty's merchandise. Krusty's sidekick Sideshow Bob becomes the new host of his show; now called The Side-Show Bob Cavalcade of Whimsy, he retools it to focus on education and classic literature, while retaining The Itchy and Scratchy Show. Still refusing to accept that his hero could have committed the crime, Bart enlists the help of a reluctant Lisa to prove Krusty's innocence.

At the crime scene, the pair deduce Krusty could not have been the robber, who used a microwave unsuitable for those with a pacemaker and read at the magazine rack (Krusty was revealed to have an artificial pacemaker due to a heart attack on the news about his arrest, and revealed to be illiterate during the trial). They go to Sideshow Bob to find out whether Krusty had any enemies, but are given tickets to his show. At the live broadcast, Bart is invited up on stage with Bob, who dismisses Bart's points on the microwave and magazine, pointing out that Krusty was never one to listen to a doctor and that you don't have to be literate to enjoy the cartoons in a magazine (although he does get quite sore for a few seconds after Bart points out Krusty also shot him out of a cannon). 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 and realizes that, despite wearing big clown shoes all the time, Krusty would not have felt Homer's stepping on them due to his small feet, which Bart had noticed when Krusty walked upstairs to the courtroom. Bart then deduces that Sideshow Bob is the real robber since he had the most to gain through Krusty's downfall, and that he has feet big enough to 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 this was the piece of evidence they had failed to notice and head down to the studio to arrest Bob.

His crime exposed, Bob confesses the reason he framed Krusty: because he hated spending years on the receiving end of the clown's humiliating gags while "squandering a fortune on his vulgar appetites". He vows revenge on Bart while being taken away. Krusty would then walk free after the charges against him were dropped and he would also regain the trust of the community. The residents and the Police also apologize to Krusty, one of the residents was Homer, for fingering him in court. Krusty says "thank you" to Bart for standing up for the truth and sticking to his convictions. A picture is taken of the two shaking hands, which Bart later hangs in his bedroom, refilled with Krusty decor.


Kelsey Grammer is 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]

Sideshow Bob's first major appearance on The Simpsons was in this episode, but he first appeared in the season one episode "The Telltale Head".[8] In that appearance, his design was more simple 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] 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 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 thirteenth 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 tenth 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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