Clown in the Dumps
| Clown in the Dumps
| Episode Information
- "When Hyman Krustofsky dies during a comedy cable channel's roast of his son, Krusty, he decides to retire. Lisa becomes worried about Homer's deteriorating health."
Krusty the Clown appears on a comedy roast, which offends him. He seeks the advice of his father, Rabbi Krustofsky, on whether he is funny, but the Rabbi does not agree with him, and suddenly dies. Believing that nobody finds him funny any more, Krusty quits his show.
Bart attempts to reinspire Krusty by showing him old episodes of the show, but he picks up on the repetitive nature of his own jokes, and binge drinks in anger. He passes out and has a vision of himself in Jewish Heaven, where he meets Rodney Dangerfield. Rabbi Krustofsky then appears and tells Krusty that Jews do not believe in Heaven, and thus he should do more to help others. An act of kindness does not seem to make him happier, but Bart takes Krusty to the synagogue, where Rabbi Krustofsky's favorite Rabbi recites Krusty's jokes on religion. Krusty therefore deduces that his father did find him funny, and sees him again in Jewish Heaven, where Jesus turns Dangerfield's water into a Bloody Mary.
The death of Krusty's father causes Lisa to become obsessed with protecting her own father, Homer, from getting hurt. She wraps him in bubble wrap, which ends up saving his life when Otto's school bus plows into the garden.
A major character who regularly teamed up with Bart was said to die in this episode. The character appeared more than twice in the show and will be voiced by an Emmy Award-winning voice actor who won an Emmy for the role as the character. As Al Jean said, it wouldn't be Edna Krabappel, due to Marcia Wallace's death and Hank Azaria confirmed that it wasn't one of his characters. Homer was ruled out. There was a scene that featured Lisa worrying about Homer's health as he struggles with a sleep mask.
The character who died was Hyman Krustofsky.
The episode featured the longest couch gag to date, directed, written, animated, and produced by independent animator Don Hertzfeldt. The surreal sequence, projecting the fate of The Simpsons deep into the future, was described by Spin Magazine as "mind-melting," and "two of the strangest minutes of television ever to air on a major network during prime time."
The episode received 8.5 million viewers on its premiere, the highest for a season premiere since season 20's "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes", and the highest rated episode since the ninth episode of season 25, "Steal This Episode", from January 2014. It also received a 3.9 18-49 rating.
The episode received mixed reviews from critics. The A.V. Club awarded it a "C", saying "The Simpsons returns for its 26th season with a nondescript, anti-climactic premiere whose overstuffed cameos and would-be big character death amount to little more than a disspiriting confirmation that its best days are, indeed, long gone", and that "this inability to weave the A- and B-stories into a unified episode has become pretty glaring", before praising the episode's Don Hertzfeldt couch gag, calling it "brilliant stuff". Den of Geek said it was "a bittersweet episode" and picked up on how "The Simpsons always make you care for their characters. There is a sweetness inherent in the most egregious traits", and in the end awarding it 4/5. BubbleBlabber's review started out with anger at "[...] which character died. I'll tell you who: Rabbi Fucking Krustofsky – the guy I predicted would die in this episode over FOUR months ago", but then ultimatally praised the episode for "the amount it resembled Simpsons episodes of the classic era", then saying that "[...] all these elements [how it resembled its classic era, its cast and couch gag] nevertheless combined for a fantastic premiere to the show's 26th season", and in the end, awarded it 8.5.
The NoHomers forum users were less sympathetic to the episode, which as of late, holds a majority 2/5 on a poll, with one saying it was "a mediocre, forgettable episode", another criticizing how "[the] character death [being] way overhyped was [the] biggest flaw," yet another praising the episode saying "[the] couch gag was great" and "the ending was sweet." 
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- Entertainment Weekly - "'Simpsons' producer on mystery death in Springfield: Even the actor doesn't know yet"
- The Independent - "Simpsons character death hugely narrowed down following Hank Azaria tip"
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- The A.V. Club - "The Simpsons: "Clown In The Dumps""
- BubbleBlabber - "Review: The Simpsons – 'Clown in the Dumps'"
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