- "Very well, Bart. I shall send you to Heaven before I send you to Hell."
- ―Sideshow Bob prepares to sing the entire score of H.M.S. Pinafore, before murdering his nemesis, Bart.
| "Cape Feare"
| Episode Information
"Cape Feare" is the second episode of Season 5 of The Simpsons and the eighty-third episode overall. It originally aired on October 7, 1993. The episode was written by Jon Vitti and directed by Rich Moore. It guest stars Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob.
- "After Bart starts receiving death threats from his nemesis Sideshow Bob, the Simpsons enter the Witness Relocation Program and move to a "Cape Fear"-esque town several miles away."
While watching the dreadfully unfunny comedy show, Up Late with McBain (where the show announcer is a former SS officer and Rainier Wolfcastle gets booed for making a homophobic remark about his band leader's outfit), the kids get mail. While Lisa Simpson worries over her pen pal, Anya, living in a country that's been overtaken by a dictator known as General Krull, Bart Simpson receives threatening letters written in blood and becomes paranoid. In the kitchen, the family notices all of the death threats are written in blood, except for one in pencil, which reads "I Kill You Scum". Homer confesses he was the one who wrote it after Bart tattooed his rear end with the words "Wide Load".
Meanwhile, Sideshow Bob is at a parole hearing, represented by the Blue-Haired Lawyer. Selma testifies against Bob, recalling he tried to kill her on their honeymoon. Bob's lawyer justifies his actions in Black Widower, asking the room if they too wanted to kill Selma. At first, there are only a few hands, but at the lawyer's encouragement, more raise their hands, including Selma's sister, Patty. She explains this was because Selma leaves the toilet seat up in the bathroom. The parole board are concerned about Bob's tattoos of Bart with a broken neck and "Die Bart Die" on his chest. But Bob counters by claiming the threat is actually German for "The Bart The". Bob has convinced the parole board.
Sideshow Bob is released from prison. The Simpsons encounter him at a movie theater when they get disturbed by him blowing cigar smoke in their direction obnoxiously and Homer tries to tell him to stop laughing so loud, but becomes distracted by the movie and laughs even harder than Bob. Bob turns around to tell him to stop laughing, leading to the shocked reaction from Bart and Lisa ("Aah! Sideshow Bob!").
He reveals it was him who wrote the death threats. Marge goes to the police and Chief Wiggum places them in the Witness Relocation Program. Wiggum then installs a net on the Simpsons house. They are given a convertible, their surname is changed to Thompson, and they are relocated to Terror Lake. Little do they know Sideshow Bob is on the underside of their car, who strapped himself to it. On the way, the family sings Three Little Maids in triumph and Bob is affected by bad karma. First the car goes over many speed bumps that hit him in the head. Homer pours his coffee out the window because it is too hot, then gives into an impulse to drive through a cactus field, asking the rest of the family first. Bart and Lisa say yes and Bob yells,"No!", Homer drives through the cacti because the vote was three against one.
When the Thompsons reach Terror Lake, a spoof of the opening credits is played, and the family goes to check out their new houseboat. Sideshow Bob comes out of the boat, only to step on and get hit in the face by nine rakes. On the way to his new school (which is never mentioned), Bart hears Bob's voice and sees him climb out from under a car. Bob pretends he is not up to anything, saying, "Surely there's no harm in lying in the middle of a busy street." A parade comes by and Bob is trampled by the orchestra and several elephants. Bart goes home and tells Marge and Homer he saw Bob, but they don't worry about it.
When Bart goes to bed, his door opens and wakes him up. Bart sees a hand brandishing a kitchen knife and sits directly up. Homer rushes in, screaming,"BART-DO-YOU-WANT-SOME-BROWNIES-BEFORE-YOU-GO-TO-BED?!" Bart asks him not to "come into his room screaming and brandishing a butcher knife." Homer apologizes and leaves... then bursts through his door again, revving a chainsaw and wearing a hockey mask, screaming,"BART-DO-YOU-WANNA-SEE-MY-NEW-CHAINSAW-AND-HOCKEY-MASK?!" (He probably did this to scare Bart on purpose.) Homer apologizes again (this time, somewhat sarcastically) and leaves.
Bob sneaks onboard the family's houseboat and cuts the line with a machete and the boat floats off into the swamp. After tying up the rest of the family, he goes to murder Bart in his room. Bart escapes and looks for a way to get off the boat, but he is blocked by alligators and electric eels. Bob catches up with Bart and offers him a last request. Bart notices a sign saying Springfield is 15 miles away, and asks Bob to sing the entire score of the H.M.S Pinafore. Bob gives an excellent performance, even changing his outfits to the opera's costumes, and Bart applauds him. When the boat reaches back to the jurisdiction of the Springfield Police, Bob raises his machete but before he can finish Bart off, the boat hits a rock and the jolt knocks them away from each other. The police are fortunately nearby and arrest Bob. After Bob is sent back to jail again, the Simpsons return to Evergreen Terrace and everything is back to normal, aside from Grampa transforming into Grandma as a result of not being able to take his pills, which he had left with them for some reason.
The episode was pitched by Wallace Wolodarsky, who wanted to parody Cape Fear and Jon Vitti went on to write the episode. Produced for the fourth season, the episode was postponed to the fifth and was the last episode produced by the series's original writers, the majority of whom left the show shortly after.
The episode contains one of the most famous scenes of the series: Sideshow Bob steps on a rake, the handle flies up and hits him in the face, and Bob grumbles under his breath. He then turns and steps on another rake, gets hit in the face again, and grumbles again. The sequence is repeated many times, as there are a large number of rakes scattered around. This scene goes on for several seconds, which is thanks to the production crew needing to add material to fill out "Cape Feare" to the standard duration of twenty one minutes.
In 2003, Entertainment Weekly named this the third greatest episode in the history of the show.
Composer Alf Clausen was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series in the 46th Primetime Emmy Awards for "Cape Feare". However, it lost to "Ireland, 1916" from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
NoHomers.net ranked the episode number two in their 2012 "NHC Top 100 Episodes" voting, with a total of 1,231 points and number one in their 2014 "NHC Top 100 Episodes" voting, with a total of 1,385 points.
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