The Simpsons

Season 3 Episode 21

Black Widower

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Apr 09, 1992 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
239 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Selma decides to marry her prison pen-pal, Sideshow Bob. When he gets out of prison, he convinces the Simpson family that he has changed for the better, but Bart remains skeptical and is determined to find out what Sideshow Bob is really up to.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Due to her fear of never finding the right man and dying alone, Marge's sister Selma tells the family she found a new boyfriend through a prison pen pal program. That boyfriend is none other than Sideshow Bob.moreless

    The second of many episodes to feature Robert Terwilliger is nothing short of hilarious. There is no shortage of laughs in this well written episode which is loaded with laughs. The Emmy awards ceremony where Sideshow Bob took home an Emmy will have you laughing from start to finish. There were some formula plot devices however. Bart being the only person who believes Bob has a devious plan and Bob swearing he is a changed man are two of them. As is the case with many Sideshow Bob episodes, those flaws are very easily overcome by the overall episode. Hysterical.moreless
  • Sideshow Bob returns... to kill Selma!

    In this episode, Sideshow Bob returns for his second evil plot, this time his target is Bart's aunt Selma. Firstly, Bob appears to have changed for the better, making the family more comfortable when they decide to get married. Bart, throughout the whole episode, doesn't believe him, and he's right: He's actually trying to kill Selma, with an ingenius plan he'll put forth once they begin they're honeymoon together. This was a very funny episode throughout, as the suspicions became more and more obvious, from how Bob didn't want to make love to Selma, to how he went back up when the plan didn't go right exactly. I also liked how Bart figured out Bob's plan, showing that he can be smart when he wants to. Overall, a great episode. 10/10 A+moreless
  • this was a good ep

    in this ep of the simpsons sidshow bob returns and he starts to make people he has changed and get people to thing he is a nice guy the only one he cant fool is bart and bart thinks he is up to something and he wants to find out when sideshow bob fall in love with selma bart thinks something is going on him and lisa try to figure it out when they find out bob has not changed and he wanted to murder selma for the money this was a good ep itought for the second bob epmoreless
  • Second Bob Episode

    Selma decides to marry her prison pen-pal, who is none other then the infamous Sideshow Bob. Bob appears to have changed for the better, but Bart remains skeptical about the whole thing and thinks Bob is planning something big. In the end, Bart is right, and he tells the whole Simpson family Bob's plan was to murder Selma and get her money. In the end Bob goes back to jail and everything is better.

    Another good episode, I feel in the classic era Bob episodes are generally the best of their season. This one might not have been best of season 3, but it is great no doubtmoreless
  • The return of Bob is even better then the origin of Bob... Most defiantely a great episode!!!

    The Simpsons are set to have dinner with Aunt Selma and her new boyfriend, who they are forewarned is an ex-con; the man who arrives on Selma's arm is Bart's archenemy Sideshow Bob. During dinner, he relates the story of his time spent languishing at the Springfield prison: the cells are overcrowded, and his ChapStick is co-opted; he wins an Emmy, which is confiscated ("awards for excellence in entertainment are contraband"). He spent much time seething with desire to exact revenge on Bart, but after receiving Selma's response to his Prison Pen Pal ad, he is inspired to become a model prisoner and earns his release. Bob's tale of supposedly turning over a new leaf wins over the family, except Bart, who remains suspicious. Bob thanks Bart for putting him on the path which led him to Selma, and surprises the family by asking Selma to marry him. She eagerly accepts.

    Sideshow Bob makes an appearance at a Krusty the Clown telethon and makes amends; Lisa encourages Bart to be as forgiving as Krusty, but he refuses to believe Bob has changed. When Selma discovers that Sideshow Bob detests her beloved MacGyver and cannot hide his hatred, it is nearly a deal-breaker. Homer explains his solution for his and Marge's dissonant tastes in television: when Marge watches her non-violent programs, Homer goes out for drinks and returns "in the mood for love." Bob agrees to take a "vigorous constitutional" whenever Selma watches MacGyver.

    Most of Springfield appears to be in attendance at Selma and Bob's wedding, including derelict Police Chief Wiggum. Selma takes to videotaping her honeymoon with Bob, including his tirade over the omission of the hotel room fireplace he had requested. She retires one evening to watch MacGyver in their suite, and as Bob is downstairs having a drink, we see their hotel room explode behind him. Bob feigns a frantic phone call to the front desk about the "accident."

    Sideshow Bob makes his way back to the room to survey the damage, only to find Bart, very much alive, awaiting him. We discover that Selma too is unscathed, Bart having saved her life at the very last moment. Bob is apprehended by police, vowing to return as soon as the Democrats are back in power. Everyone thanks Bart for not losing his mistrust of Sideshow Bob.moreless
Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • The sound of grumbling shudder that Sideshow Bob makes when he has to consummate his marriage with Selma was reused later in the fifth season episode Cape Feare when Bob steps on the rakes.

    • This is the first episode in which Patty and Selma mention MacGyver.

    • License plates Sideshow Bob makes in Prison: "DIE BART", "RIP BART", "I H8 BART", and "BART DOA."

    • At prison, Sideshow Bob's number is 24601. This is also Principal Skinner's prisoner number seen on the helmet, in a later episode, at the Springfield Elementary Carnival (The Happiest Place on Earth).

    • In the scene where the family drives off to save Selma, there is a sign opposite their house that reads: "Shelbyville 34 miles"

    • Goof: Even though Sideshow Bob was number 24601, his shirt was numbered 1211.

    • When Krusty totals up the pledges at his telethon, the total displayed on the counter behind him is $385,382.35. A few seconds later, when he's kicking Bob, the counter has mysteriously gone down to $311,011.11.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Sideshow Bob: Bart, I must know. How did you untangle my web?
      Chief Wiggum: Yeah, Bart, pull us in!
      Bart: Well, I'd hate to tell the number one cop in town how to do his job.
      Chief Wiggum: No, no, please. It's the only way I'll learn.

    • Homer: Gee, if some snot-nosed little kid sent me to prison, the first thing out, I'd find out where he lives, and tear him a new belly button!

    • Sideshow Bob: Ah, Mr. Simpson, you're forgetting the first two noble truths of the Buddha.
      Homer: I am not!

    • Bart: Her only hopes were a clucky young boy and his slow-witted father.

    • Bart: Aunt Selma has one hour to live!
      Homer: Hey, down in front!

    • Selma: And here's another breathtaking sight... my brand new hubby!
      Sideshow Bob: I wanted a room with a fireplace you blasted monkey... Oh Selma dear... I was just chatting with my good friend... Dennis! Now, smile for the camera, there's a good lad!

    • Chief Wiggum: If he was going to commit a crime, would he have invited the number one cop in town? Now where did I put my gun? Oh yeah, I set it down when I got a piece of cake.

    • Marge: Krusty, say something funny!
      Krusty: Uh, gee, a joke, uuh…umm…eh ah funny, okay, this guy walks into a bar, he takes out a tiny piano, and a twelve inch pianist, oh, no, wait, I can't tell that one!

    • Lisa: I could have been the flower girl; I wouldn't keep falling down, either!
      Bart: Hey, they chose Maggie, okay?
      Lisa: Yeah, well if you wanna go for cutesiness instead of competence, fine.

    • Selma: What did I miss?
      Patty: MacGyver was wearing a tank top!
      Selma: Dang!
      Sideshow Bob: Well Selma, I thought I was the only man in your life?
      Selma: Sit down and shut up!

    • Homer: Ooh, appetizers!
      Sideshow Bob: Well Homer, what should we serve?
      Homer: Well, you can't go wrong with cocktail weenies. They taste as good as they look, and they come with this delicious red sauce, it looks like ketchup, it tastes like ketchup, but brother, it ain't ketchup.

    • (vision test at the DMV)
      Hans Moleman: A, G, Q, 7.
      Selma: Close enough. May you drive safely, and find true love.

    • Sideshow Bob: Selma, would you mind if I did something bold and shocking in front of your family?
      Selma: All right, but no tongues.
      Sideshow Bob: Although kissing you would be like kissing some divine ashtray, that's not what I had in mind. Selma, will you marry me?
      Bart: Don't be a fool, Aunt Selma. That man is scum.
      Selma: Then call me Mrs. Scum.

    • Selma: Enclosed is a photo of us on a bike. I forget which one I am.

    • Papa Dinosaur: Would you turn off that Rock and Rock music?
      Baby Dinosaur: Hey, don't have a Stegosaurus, man!
      Lisa: These talking dinosaurs are more real than most real families on TV!
      Homer: Look Maggie, they have a baby too!

  • NOTES (2)

    • Snake is given a name in this episode. Previously, he was only mentioned by name in the script and referred to by the writers as "Jailbird".

    • Blackboard Joke: Funny noises are not funny.
      Couch Gag: Two thieves are carting the couch away when the family gets in, but they sit down anyway, only for the thieves to dump them onto the floor.

  • ALLUSIONS (14)

    • Jerry Lewis
      The caricature of Krusty on the telethon is based on the Al Hirshfeld caricature of Jerry Lewis that has become the symbol of his MDA telethon.

    • Scooby-Doo
      The ending where Bart and Selma explain how they figured out Sideshow Bob's plan to kill Selma and Chief Wiggum explaining how he accidentally blew up the hotel room, followed by a lame joke ("Now let's get out of this gas-filled hallway before we all suffocate!") and everybody laughing as it fades out is a parody of the ending of countless Scooby-Doo episodes where the gang explains how they figured out the mystery and what the villain's plan was.

    • Sideshow Bob: Bye, bye Snake. I'll miss you most of all.
      This is a take on one of the last lines in the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," when Dorothy is leaving Oz she says "Bye, bye Scarecrow! I'll miss you most of all."

    • Bart: Oh fiddle dee dee! Tomorrow is another day!
      Scarlett O'Hara constantly says this when the going gets rough in the book and film Gone With the Wind.

    • Sinatra: Krustila, there's an old friend backstage who wants to say hello.
      The meeting between Krusty and Bob is a parody of when Frank Sinatra brought out Dean Martin on the Jerry Lewis telethon for them to both make up in 1976.

    • Dinosaurs
      The show the family is watching at the beginning of the episode is a parody of the ABC show Dinosaurs.

    • Homer: To the Simpson-mobile!
      A quick and funny parody of a line from the 1960's version of Batman.

    • Cool Hand Luke
      Bob picking up trash along side the road is a parody of the film Cool Hand Luke.

    • Psycho
      When Bob returns to the room, he turns the chair around expecting to see Selma's corpse, but instead sees Bart, startled, Bob stumbles back and hits a hanging lightbulb. This parodies the final scenes from the 1960 film Psycho.

    • Black Widow
      The title of the episode and some key points in the plot are taken from the 1987 film, Black Widow.

    • Sideshow Bob: Inspired by the love of a good woman, I resolved to be the best darn inmate number 24601 I could be.
      In his retrospective of the change that Selma brought about in him, Sideshow Bob is portrayed serving inmates a Thanksgiving turkey dinner resembling the Norman Rockwell painting "Freedom From Want."

    • The Maltese Falcon
      At the end of the episode, Sideshow Bob is escorted away by the Springfield Police, descending out of frame in an old-style elevator. This is a reference to the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon.

    • Les Miserables
      Sideshow Bob's prison number, 24601, is the same as Jean Valjean's prison number in the novel/musical/movie Les Miserables.

    • Bob & Selma: And then I went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid like "I love you."
      Sideshow Bob and Selma do a duet of the song "Somethin' Stupid," which was recorded as a duet for Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra in 1967.