The Simpsons Season 8 Episode #16 entitled Brother from Another Series. This episode first aired February 23rd 1997. I viewed this episode at home on DVD, Saturday February 27th 2010 by myself. This episode features a repeat of the upside down couch gag. This is the eighth season’s obligatory Sideshow Bob episode, where Bart’s aforementioned archenemy returns to terrorize and kill him. This is one of the most interesting of the “Bob” episodes.
We begin with Sideshow Bob’s genuine good behavior leading to his participation in a work release program. With Reverend Lovejoy’s recommendation and employment by his brother Cecil (David Hyde Pierce), Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer) is set free. While everyone else believes in Bob’s reform Bart cannot accept it and vows to expose the con’s nefarious schemes. Over dinner with his brother Bob reveals to us that he once crushed Cecil’s dreams. Years ago Cecil auditioned to be Krusty the Klown’s sidekick but lost the job to Bob who wasn’t even there for the job. This was the cause of a falling out between the two but Cecil assures Bob that it is water under the bridge. Soon Bob is put to work as the construction foreman at the hydroelectric dam that his Cecil is building for Springfield.
Bart starts stalking Bob for clues, ruining his date with Edna Krabappel. Bob becomes more and more frustrated as his construction crew is a bunch of slack-jawed yokels and Bart will not stop hounding him. Bart and Lisa head to the dam one night and break into the construction trailer. They find a briefcase with millions of dollars in it. Bob arrives and breaks down the door. When Bob spots them he chases the siblings into the interior of the dam. He corners them and they accuse him of stealing the money. When a shoddily built wall collapses nearby Bob realizes that Cecil had been in charge of the money. His brother appears, armed with a gun, and explains that he embezzled the money and intends to blow up the dam with them in it, framing Sideshow Bob.
Cecil claims that off-the-record this is because he lost out on being Krusty’s sidekick but officially he did it for the money. Bart, Lisa and Bob work together to escape the dam and foil Cecil. In the process Bart and Bob end up saving one another’s lives. After defusing Cecil’s bomb and capturing him the police arrive and take him into custody. Chief Wiggum shows up and over the protests of Bart, Lisa, and his fellow officers he takes Sideshow Bob into custody along with Cecil. Due to the shoddy construction work the dam bursts anyway and floods Springfield. Our story ends with Bob and Cecil sharing a prison cell.
This is a unique episode even for the Simpsons. It connects the show to another series through a common actor and adds a twist. Series villain Sideshow Bob is voiced by Kelsey Grammer who also plays Dr. Frasier Crane on the series Frasier. In this episode they introduce Bob’s brother Cecil, voiced by David Hyde Pierce who plays Frasier’s brother Niles on Frasier. The interactions between Bob and Cecil mirror the relationship between Frasier and Niles. This episode works apart from the cross-series joke but I imagine not nearly as well. I had the benefit of having seen Frasier prior to viewing.
For the viewer familiar with The Simpsons series and Sideshow Bob’s place in it this story provides an additional new wrinkle in that unlike any time prior to this episode, we are introduced to a truly reformed Sideshow Bob. While the ending is very funny it unfortunately sets up future Sideshow Bob episodes that are dreadful. This makes me question whether or not I enjoy this episode more in retrospect than on its own merits. Taking these doubts into account I have to rate this one as average.
The Simpsons Season 8 Episode #16: Brother from Another Series
Rating: 3 out of 5