463. The Bob Next Door

bobnextdoorOriginal airdate: May 16, 2010

The premise: The Simpsons get a new neighbor, and Bart suspects that he might be Sideshow Bob in disguise. But when none of his plans to expose him work, and Marge takes him to confirm that Bob is indeed still in prison, his concerns are placated… but it turns out that he was right all along.

The reaction: As I’ve said many times before, season 8’s “Brother From Another Series” feels like the final Bob episode to me. But beyond that, season 19’s “Funeral for a Fiend” also felt like a second capper, where Bob fakes his own death, and ends with his wife, son, brother and parents all behind bars. But there’s still more of that dead horse to beat yet! So the idea of Bob assuming his prison cellmate’s identity when he was up for parole and posing as him isn’t that bad, I suppose; a lot of the episode just plays out by-the-numbers, checking off all of the Bob staples. But the faces peeling off… my God… and between the operation and both characters having their faces fall off, it’s just relentless grossness. I guess it’s trying to be shocking, but it ends up feeling like a Treehouse of Horror bit with no punchline. Wrap it all up with an irony-free Bob scheme to ultimately do Bart in which makes no sense, and we have yet another completely lifeless Bob outing.

Three items of note:
– Bart’s flashbacks to previous Bob episodes where he recognizes his neighbor’s memorable voice are kind of odd, since they’re fullscreen and not in HD. Also, it, of course, makes me wish I was watching those other episodes.
– The guard instigating the prisoners lewd cat calls felt kind of awkward considering Marge had Bart in tow with her. The convicts immediately backing off when Marge announced she was married made me smirk, but it’s a joke that was executed a lot better in “Marge on the Lam.” (“Listen, baby, I always get what I want.” “I said no!” “Oh, did you? I completely misunderstood, please accept our apologies.”)
– Bob’s scheme of police jurisdiction not being able to cross at the five corners already doesn’t make any sense, but then at the end, the cops that cuff him just walk across two lines. It really does feel like no one’s paying attention at all when they’re making this show, which I guess they expect no one in the audience is either.

One good line/moment: Marge criticizes the clarity of Walt/Bob’s warnings on the prison wall, to which he replies, “I’m not a writer.” Homer follows it up, “And I’m not a locksmith!” and proceeds to pry a door open with a shovel.

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8 responses to “463. The Bob Next Door

  1. I know they were going for a Face/Off parody, but man the whole face peeling stuff was the kind of gore one normally associates with Family Guy. I’ve only seen this once, but all I really remember was how stupid the “five corners” climax was. It sort of makes sense when I don’t think too hard about it, but the episode really didn’t follow through with anything resembling a good climax or resolution there.

  2. It’s a shame that the Sideshow Bob stories have become so repetitive nowadays. Even up to season 17, Bob’s motivations and plans were much more diverse. Sure, there were a couple of rehashes among them (Day of the Jackanapes, The Italian Bob), and they might have still been bad or unnecessary, but at least the writers were trying to change things up a bit. With this episode we’ve had 2 basic “Bob tries to kill Bart” stories in a row. New viewers would be shocked to learn he ever did anything else.

    Oh, and yeah, Bob’s “Five Corners” plan was beyond stupid. I wouldn’t mind the stupidity, if only it were funny.

  3. Okay my comment didn’t post but yeah I get it, big mistake and i’ll pay for the consequences.

  4. Kelsey Grammer is still willing to do this shit? I think he’d have higher standards.

  5. Outside of a few gags, I remember not liking this one very much (despite knowing what they were parodying). The face switching stuff was just grossly executed, and would the vain Bob really disfigure himself? I had a hard time buying that. “Funeral For a Fiend” wasn’t perfect but it was better than this and should’ve been the final Bob episode because it seemed “final”, what with the whole family behind bars and all.

    But I have to admit: That screenshot made me laugh just from how pointlessly macabre it was. I’ve only seen this episode once so I forget what the context of that scene was, but what better screen to sum up this episode?

    “I know they were going for a Face/Off parody, but man the whole face peeling stuff was the kind of gore one normally associates with Family Guy.”

    To be fair, Family Guy had a pretty good “face peeling gag” in “Petergeist” when Peter rips off bits of his face until it’s revealed he’s Hank Hill underneath. “Hehehehe… propane.”

    “It’s a shame that the Sideshow Bob stories have become so repetitive nowadays. Even up to season 17, Bob’s motivations and plans were much more diverse. Sure, there were a couple of rehashes among them (Day of the Jackanapes, The Italian Bob), and they might have still been bad or unnecessary, but at least the writers were trying to change things up a bit. With this episode we’ve had 2 basic “Bob tries to kill Bart” stories in a row. New viewers would be shocked to learn he ever did anything else.”

    Good point, Jack. Not all Sideshow Bob stories have to be about exacting revenge on Bart.

  6. I don’t hold it against Family Guy since it fits and works better in that show. It’s just out of place, bizarre and (in this case) is just too grotesque to be funny and too outlandish to take seriously.

    I agree it is very out of character for Bob to disfigure himself in such a way, the same man who has been sensitive about his giant feet and is a such a stage struck thespian that it foiled previous evil deeds.

  7. This should have been a THOH episode!

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