Well, here we are with the return of Kelsey Grammer’s Sideshow Bob and a Christmas episode.
Wasn’t Bob’s last appearance also a Christmas show? Wait, no, it was just set in the winter and The Simpsons rarely do winter episodes that aren’t Christmas episodes. Then again, he ended that episode living in a lighthouse and that’s where he starts this one.
Our story begins with…package theft! Dum dum DUM!
Yes, a plain gray van is swiping packages off porches. Christmas may be ruined because this isn’t Whoville and people like presents in Springfield!
Meanwhile, Sideshow Bob is getting a reluctant romance from the lighthouse keeper down the road who thinks he’s cute or something. She mentions his great voice and face in town, and some guys come looking for him. Law enforcement? Nah! Some guys who need an actor to play Santa, and Bob will always take time to do some acting.
And yes, he still wants to kill Bart.
The Simpsons, meanwhile, are headed to a holiday-themed amusement park with the whole family. Maggie, and soon the other Simpsons, all love “Baby Shark,” but Maggie doesn’t care at all for the scary elf ride for toddlers that took Baby Gerald away. Um, yeah, that’s wrong.
But worse comes for Bart. He can’t stand waiting in a six or eight hour line to see Santa, and cutting to where Milhouse is doesn’t work because the bullies were behind Milhouse. Only Kearney objecting to getting blood on his Christmas sweater keeps the smaller boys from a beating when Dolph and Jimbo beat on Kearney instead. Bart, by then, managed to sneak into the backstage area, past the elf’s toe-curler, and finds Bob is Santa.
Bob, being a method actor, claims he can’t kill someone as Santa. Bart doesn’t believe it, but there are other issues. Homer does because both he and Bob are in the same Mall Santa Union.
See, Lenny set up a dye bomb using his uncle Two Fingers’ recipe to catch the package thieves red-handed. Or blue since that’s the dye color. The bomb goes off early after Lenny is shocked to see who it is. And while Chief Wiggum is ready to write off the clearly alive Lenny as a corpse, he does leave the initials “SB” in his blood to incriminate someone.
That could be Sideshow Bob? Bart sneaks off to find out.
Homer, meanwhile, implicates his sister-in-law Selma Bouvier. Wiggum likes that one and releases his only other suspects: actors Scott Bakula and Sandra Bullock, plus very cheerful businessman Steve Ballmer. Two of those three were guest stars. Bullock says nothing as she angrily Birdboxes her way out of there.
But Bob says he’s still innocent, and Bart suggests he prove it by catching the real thieves. Bob agrees, and using his clown-based compression skills, hides in a box for Homer to leave on the Simpson porch, only for the rest of the family to follow in their car. That plan works even if Homer didn’t have to kick Bob in the box up the stairs and out a second story window to the porch.
Who is the thief? Burns and Smithers. No one knows why Smithers gets top billing.
Why? Well, Burns never had a good Christmas because the only time he ever asked for anything it was for a hug from his mother and a smile from his father. Not only did he not get those things that Christmas, but he was sent off to boarding school on Christmas day and his folks died before he could see them again. Ghost Mom wanted to hug him, but Ghost Dad didn’t let her.
Wait, I thought Burns’ mother was still alive? Or she died later?
Man, no one pays attention to these things.
Anyway, Bob uses his acting powers to change Burns’ heart, and Burns returns the presents in time for Christmas. Everyone is happy. Bob even hooks up with that other lighthouse keeper.
Except Burns, and that Ballmer guy could only help but so much.
Oh, and distracted lighthouse keepers mean no one put the light on to keep the Sea Captain from hitting some rocks, so I guess he isn’t happy either.
By the by, nice touch showing Lisa tossing Christmas lights around a Buddha statue.