Simpsons Did It!: “The Clown Stays In The Picture”

So, how about a flashback episode?

Not interested?  Too bad.  We’re getting one anyway.

An accident involving a petting zoo truck is too adorable to clear off right away, leaving the school bus stuck in traffic.  Bart decides to look into whatever Lisa is listening to, and it’s guest star Marc Maron’s podcast.  Who would interest Bart that much to swipe an earbud from his sister?  C’mon.  It could only be Krusty.  Are you new to show and/or column?

By the by, nice use of Maron for this episode.  He’s in a good portion of it as himself, and it largely works.  See, he’s interviewing Krusty to find out what deep, dark secrets the clown has besides a fear of pies (he only gets hit in the face with cakes designed to look like pies).  And there is something involving Krusty’s past and a movie called The Sands of Space.

See, at some point in the 80s, Krusty was a big movie star thanks to playing a cop reincarnated as a St. Bernard in a popular comedy.  And the studio, obviously, wanted a sequel, but Krusty instead demanded an adaptation of a science fiction novel called The Sands of Space despite the fact it was considered unfilmable and had broken much better talents than Krusty.  But he won’t do a dog sequel until he gets his sci-fi epic, so the studio heads (privately) decide to go as cheap as possible to let Krusty have his vanity project and then get some sequels out of him for the dog comedy.

Cheap means most of Springfield is hired as crew before being shipped down to Mexico.  That includes a young Homer and Marge because if you thought you were getting a Simpsons episode without the Simpsons appearing in the episode much, you are sorely mistaken.

And then things go bad when Krusty gets in a fight with the director on Day One when the sand isn’t the same color as the book.  The director quits and Krusty takes over.  And he’s in over his head.  And he knows it.  The only relief comes when Marge shows some gentle pushing can lead the clown to actually make decisions, so Krusty makes her his personal assistant.  And that’s going well, but Homer feels a little left out in what was hoped to be a romantic trip, and when Marge misses a few pages, Krusty demands she break up with Homer.

And in another nice touch, Krusty wants Marge, but not romantically or sexually.

And since Marge won’t dump Homer, Krusty gives Homer all the really dangerous jobs.  Eventually, he sends Homer out into a sandstorm to collect a lizard.  Homer falls down a chasm and might have died down there except some cacti take the form of Bart and Lisa and convince Homer to climb out because Marge is learning here and now how to deal with a demanding fat guy, and the two of them (plus Cactus Maggie) need Homer to come out of there so they can exist.  Bart mouthing off gets Homer out to strangle a cactus.  And then he wanders into what looks like a small house but turns out to be run by criminals who hold Homer for a very large ransom.

And Krusty won’t pay it, but the rest of the crew has some solidarity and borrows the set’s Mad Max-style vehicles and weapons to get Homer back.  Since those weapons don’t work, it isn’t going very well, and we finally see how the Sea Captain lost his leg.  But then Marge shows up and offers Krusty’s movie to them.  And despite Krusty’s objections, the criminals take it and Homer is released.  Krusty was so depressed, he went back to children’s television where no creativity is ever required.

So, what happened to the movie?  And why didn’t Homer and Marge ever tell the kids about this one despite the fact Homer still has his crew jacket?  Well…it just never came up for something.  And Krusty did eventually see his own movie when Marc Maron took him down to Mexico to see it.  The crowd loved it.  They never stopped laughing.

Too bad it wasn’t a comedy.

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