The Simpsons

Season 6 Episode 5

Sideshow Bob Roberts

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 09, 1994 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
232 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Homer has been listening to a conservative radio talk show host. One day Sideshow Bob calls in from prison, voicing his conservative views. The host, Barlow, gets Sideshow Bob released from prison. Upon Sideshow Bob's release, the town's Republicans want him to run for mayor against Quimby. Bob outwits Quimby in every debate and wins by a huge landslide. Lisa is skeptical (as usual) about how he did it, so she investigates. Meanwhile, Homer has problems with the gang from Riverdale. Sideshow Bob imposes a few new policies. For one he condemns the Simpsons' house to help make way for the new Matlock Expressway, much to the delight of the seniors. Second, he gets Bart placed in kindergarten. Lisa discovers how Sideshow Bob won the election: he had dead people vote for him. He admits to all of this when Bart and Lisa outwit him in front of the town. Sideshow Bob goes back to prison.moreless

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  • The Springfield Republicans have had enough of Diamond Joe Quimby and have decided to run a new opponent against him in the next election.

    As I have said in other reviews I always look forward to episode where Mr. Robert Terwilliger makes an appearance. However this particular episode was a bit of a disappointment. There were some clever moments here, the best being the near perfect parody of conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh, but I did not see as many good laughs and clever moments I have seen in other episodes that feature Sideshow Bob. Still Kelsey Grammar does an excellent job in keeping this episode afloat and making it at least entertaining. This episode is not bad, however there are much better episodes which feature Bart's arch enemy. See those before you see "Sideshow Bob Roberts".moreless
  • Brilliant (and hilarious) political satire

    The more astute viewer (especially politically) will appreciate the brilliance of the political satire in this episode. It has "Rush Limbaugh" in it and even foreshadows the vote rigging that would occur in the election of 2000. I especially loved the "Republican Party HQ"...simply hilarious.
  • perfect

    what i liked- the cameo by the characters of Archer, Stampy being one of the pets that supposedly voted for Bob, Bob laughing evilly at the end of act 2 (Look how happy he is!), Bart and Lisa thrawting his plot at the end of the episode and him going back to jail, the satire of the episode as a whole is really nice.

    good episode. great political satire and very funny, like most of Bob's episodes, i loved every minute of it. definitely have to give this episode a final grade of an A+moreless
  • season 6 was an excellent season , this episode tried to kill its charm

    season 6 was an excellent season , this epsidoe tried to kill its charm . seriously . i gave this epsiode to many chances . maybe i'd have a change of heart . if you'd ask me i'd watch any of season 18's ( which was a really bad season) than this dumb episode . i dont really think it is a part of the classic era of the simpsons . trust me this is not a good episode . so i'll say it again if you see the name " sideshow bob roberts " on your tv find something else to watch because this was nothing special .moreless
  • Perhaps the best Sideshow Bob episode.

    All the other Sideshow Bob episodes are dull and a annoying thing to see when my DVR captures that recording on the Simpsons. It's boring. But this is an episode I can enjoy since I didn't see it that often. It was funny, and witty. It was a clever idea for Sideshow Bob and not very predictable, except when he admits everything right out of the blue. Well, at least everything went back to normal.

    Sideshow Bob has done it again. He's out of prison after convincing a conservative radio station to help him get out of prison by forcing the current mayor to do so because he didn't want to see so many people probably didn't protesting outside. Well, Sideshow Bob runs for mayor by rigging the election by using dead people's names to vote, and its getting the Simpson's house knocked down to make way for some highway, freeway, road, or whatever it's called with the word, "Matlock" in front of it.a a

    This was a very interesting episode, and the plot just explodes through the episode. It starts right away, basically with Homer driving Lisa to school (at one point she drives but switches back.) We also get a new character which is the host for the radio show. Will we see him again?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

Dr. Demento

Dr. Demento

Voice of Himself

Guest Star

Larry King (I)

Larry King (I)


Guest Star

Henry Corden

Henry Corden

Fred Flintstone

Guest Star

Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer

Sideshow Bob Terwilliger

Recurring Role

Marcia Wallace

Marcia Wallace

Edna Krabappel

Recurring Role

Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman

Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure and Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

  • QUOTES (26)

    • (Bart listens to Birch Barlow's radio show on a walkman during class)
      Birch Barlow: My friends, isn't this just typical? Another intelligent conservative here, railroaded by our liberal justice system, just like Colonel Oliver North, Officer Stacey Koon, and Cartoon Smokesperson Joe Camel. Well, I've had it! I am going to make it my mission to see that our friend Bob is set free!
      Bart: (horrified) Nooooooooooooo!
      (Everyone in the class looks at him)
      Mrs. Krabappel: (annoyed) Well, despite Bart's objections, the people of South Africa can now vote in free democratic elections.

    • Sideshow Bob: It's high time people realized we conservatives aren't all Johnny Hatemongers, Charlie Bible Thumps, or even - God forbid - George Bushes.

    • Lionel Hutz: Mr. Mayor, is it true you rigged the election?
      Sideshow Bob: No, I did not.
      Lionel Hutz: (to Bart and Lisa) Kids, help.

    • Bart: You were just Barlow's lackie!
      Lisa: You were Ronny to his Nancy!
      Bart: Sonny to his Cher!
      Lisa: Ringo to his rest of the Beatles!

    • Lisa: I can't believe a convicted felon would get so many votes and another convicted felon would get so few.

    • Kent Brockman: The results are in: for Sideshow Bob, one hundred percent; and for Joe Quimby, one percent. And, we remind you, there is a one percent margin of error.

    • Homer: I don't agree with his Bart-killing policy; but, I do approve of his Selma-killing policy.

    • (Sideshow Bob visits the Springfield Retirement Castle as part of his campaign)
      Grampa: That Quimby fellow promised to build us a Matlooooock Expressway. How're you gonna top that, smart guy?
      Sideshow Bob: Hmmm... well, how's this? I'll not only build the expressway, I will spend the remainder of this afternoon patiently listening to your interminable anecdotes.
      Grampa: Hot ziggety zam! Me fiiiiirst!
      (the old folks surround Sideshow Bob)
      : Not many people know I owned the first radio in Springfield. Weren't much on the air then, just Edison reciting the alphabet over and over. 'A', he'd say. Then 'B'. 'C' would usually follow...
      (Sideshow Bob groans)

    • Bart: Hey four eyes, vote Quimby! Hey beardo, vote Quimby!

    • Quimby Campaign Commercial Lyrics
      Without our Mayor Quimby, our town would really stink!
      We wouldn't have a tire yard, or a mid-size roller rink.
      We wouldn't have our gallows, or our shiny Bigfoot traps.
      It's not the mayor's fault that the stadium collapsed!
      Quimby. If you were running for mayor, he'd vote for you.

    • (The denizens of Moe's Tavern listen to Birch Barlow's radio show)
      Birch Barlow: (on the radio) My friends, Bob is a political prisoner. I want every loyal listener to do everything they can to get him out of jail!
      : All right, you heard the man. (pulls out a box of hand grenades; starts handing them out) One grenade each.
      Barney: Moe, I think he meant through non-violent, grass-roots political action!
      Moe: Aw, geez, really, you think so? All right, give 'em back. (everyone else moans) C'mon, everybody, give 'em back... hey, hey! Who pulled the pin on this one?

    • Birch Barlow: You know, there are three things we're never going to get rid of here in Springfield: one, the bats in the public library...
      (at the library, a man opens a card catalog and screams as bats fly out of it)
      Birch Barlow: ...two, Mrs. McFierly's compost heap...
      (Mrs. McFierly rocks near her huge compost heap, pointing a shotgun and cackling maniacally)
      Birch Barlow: ...and three, our six-term mayor - the illiterate, tax-cheating, wife-swapping, pot-smoking spendocrat, Diamond Joe Quimby.
      Mayor Quimby: (watering a marijuana plant) Hey, I am no longer illiterate!

    • Bart: Vote for Mayor Quimby!
      Lisa: This time he's the lesser of two evils!

    • Sideshow Bob: Your guilty consciences may force you to vote Democratic, but deep in your hearts you long for a cold, Republican leader who'll cut taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king!

    • (Bart and Lisa discover the grave of Edgar Neubauer, who supposedly voted for Sideshow Bob)
      : Oh my God, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican!
      Lisa: (gasps) No, Bart, don't you see? Dead people can't vote! (takes out a list) Look! Prudence Goodwyfe, died 1641. She voted for Bob too! So did Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper! Even the pet cemetery voted for Bob, look! Mr. and Mrs. Bananas, Humphrey Boa-Gart... (they walk up to Snowball I's grave) ...oh, my poor dead kitty, please not you too! (sees "Snowball I" on the list, becomes angry) All right, Bob! Now it's personal!
      Bart: Hey, um, he did try to kill me...

    • (Sideshow Bob phones in to Birch Barlow's radio show from prison as a riot takes place around him)
      Sideshow Bob
      : Well... you see, Birch, I'm presently incarcerated. Convicted of a crime I didn't even commit. Hah! "Attempted murder"? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? Do they? (he ducks as a toilet is thrown at him from off-screen) Oh, really, now! This is a personal call!

    • Lisa: This is so cool, we're just like Woodward and Bernstein.
      Bart: Except their Dad wasn't sitting in the car reading Archie comics.
      Homer: Stuck-up Riverdale punks, they think they're too good for me.

    • Krusty: Well, he framed me for armed robbery. But man, am I making for that upper-class tax cut!

    • KBBL Jingle
      No sports, no rock, no information.
      For mindless chatter, we're your station!

    • (Bart and Lisa come across a mysterious figure standing in the shadows smoking a cigarette. We can tell from the hairline that this is actually Waylon Smithers...)
      Smithers: (disguised voice) You're on the right track. Follow the names.
      Bart: How the hell do you know?
      Smithers: I can't tell you who I am... but I worked on the campaign...
      (Suddenly a car horn blares as headlights shine on Smithers, revealing his face to the kids! His cigarette breaks)
      Homer: Hey Mr. Smithers!
      Smithers: (normal voice) ...Well, you might as well give me a ride home now.
      (In the car...)
      Smithers: I've never gone behind Mr. Burns' back before, but Sideshow Bob's ultra-conservative views conflict with my... choice of lifestyle. All I can do is give you one name: Edgar Neubauer. Find him and you'll... find your answer.

    • Birch Barlow: Mayor Quimby, you are well known for your lenient stance on crime, but suppose for a second that your house was ransacked by thugs, your family was tied up in the basement with socks in their mouths, you try to open the door but there's too much blood on the knob--
      Mayor Quimby: What is your question?
      Birch Barlow: My question is about the budget, sir.

    • Larry King: Even though we're being broadcast on FOX, there's no need for obnoxious hooting and hollering.

    • (there's an earthquake-like rumbling)
      Homer: Aaaaahhhh! It's the rapture! Quick, get Bart out of the house before God comes!
      (Homer runs outside)
      Sideshow Bob: So sorry, Mr. Simpson. Your house is blocking construction for our new Matlock Expressway.
      (there's a big bridge)
      Sideshow Bob: However, I an a fair man. You will have 72 hours to vacate. At that time, we will blow up your house and any remaining Simpsons.
      Marge: Homer, we have to stop these guys!
      Homer: I know what you're up to, Mayor Terwilliger. And no one in my family is gonna stand for it!
      (there's a honking sound)
      Grampa: Move your darn house, son!

    • Lisa: Bart, your mortal enemy is on the radio! (turns it on)
      Dr. Demento: (on the radio) It's time for more Deeeeeee-mentia with Dr. Demento!
      Bart: Aaaahh!
      Dr. Demento: (as Bart throws the radio out the window) And now, "The Funny Five"!
      Lisa: I meant your other mortal enemy - Sideshow Bob!
      Bart: (gasping) Sideshow Bob? Aw... I'm only ten and I've already got two mortal enemies.

    • Sideshow Bob: That was a big mistake, Bart. No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it.

    • Bart: We want the truth!
      Sideshow Bob: You want the truth!? You can't handle the truth! No truth-handler you are! I deride your truth-handling abilities!
      Judge Snyder: Will you get to the point!?

  • NOTES (1)


    • Big Bopper
      The tombstone for the Big Bopper has a likeness of him with a phone saying, "Gooooodbye, baby." This is a reference to his hit "Chantilly Lace" where the song opens with a phone ringing and B.B. saying "Helloooooo, baby!"

    • Lisa: You get to go back to the fourth grade!
      Bart: Aw, tomorrow we were gonna find out who the dish ran away with.
      Lisa: The spoon, Bart.
      This refers to an old (and nonsensical) children's nursery rhyme that goes, "Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon, the little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon."

    • All the President's Men
      There are several references to the Watergate scandal. Bob's advisors look like Haldeman and Ehrlichman and the overhead shot of Lisa in the hall of records references All the President's Men - a 1976 film about the scandal. The scene where Bart and Lisa meet their informant in the parking garage also references the scenes in the film when Woodward and Bernstein meet with their inside source, who is nicknamed "Deep Throat." In the movie, Deep Throat says, "Follow the money." Here, the informant, who turns out to be Smithers, says, "Follow the names."

    • Michael Dukakis
      The revolving door prison campaign ad for Bob is a reference to similar ads run against Michael Dukakis in the 1988 Presidential election.

    • Episode Title: "Sideshow Bob Roberts"
      The episode title is an obvious allusion to Tim Robbins' 1992 political mockumentary Bob Roberts about a fictional presidential candidate who manipulates the media and others to get ahead.

    • Kennedy-Nixon / Bush-Dukakis
      The debate scenes between Mayor Quimby and Sideshow Bob recall two presidential debates that were televised:

      • The 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate – where Quimby (like Richard Nixon) appeared sweaty, unkempt and nervous. Sideshow Bob, meanwhile, was relaxed and very-well groomed (as was JFK). Many experts believed Nixon's appearance was the single-most factor in his election-day loss.

      • The 1988 Bush-Dukakis debate recalled Bernard Shaw challenging Michael Dukakis' soft views on crime, by essentially asking, "What if his own family had been the victims?" Barlow asks Quimby the same question.

    • Archie Comics
      Archie and his buddiies – Moose, Reggie and Jughead – make cameo appearances from Archie Comics. So does Archie's jalopy, and Moose mentions their hometown of Riverdale (where Homer is warned to stay away from).

    • Rush Limbaugh
      Birch Barlow is an obvious spoof of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Everything including his early 1990s appearance, dress, speaking manner, and especially his conservative political views favoring Republicans is replicated.

    • Sideshow Bob: You can't handle the truth! No truth handler you are!
      The scene where Bart and Lisa question Sideshow Bob on the stand is a take-off of the famous scene in the 1992 film A Few Good Men. Tom Cruise's character is questioning Jack Nicholson's character in court, their exchange becomes extremely heated, and Cruise says, "I want the truth!" Nicholson replies, "You can't handle the truth!"