Robert Underdunk Terwilliger is a fictional character featured
in The Simpsons, voiced by Kelsey Grammer. He was originally Krusty the
Klown's silent sidekick Sideshow Bob, but has since become a villainous
homicidal maniac. He is known for his abnormally large hair and feet and
his inability to actually kill anyone, especially Bart.
Bob never anticipated a career in show business. His younger brother
Cecil (voiced by Grammer's Frasier co-star David Hyde Pierce)
auditioned for the role of Krusty's sidekick (having wanted to since the
age of five), but Krustythought Bob's uptight demeanour would make him a
better comic foil, and gave him the job instead.
As the years went on, the highly-educated Bob became increasingly
angered at being overshadowed by Krusty's "dilapidated vaudeville
antics", not to mention Krusty's continual abuse. Finally, he snapped
and framed Krusty for armed robbery. He took over the show, making it more
upmarket (for example, Krusty's catchphrase "Children, who do you
love?" was replaced by the grammatically correct "Whom do you
love?") introducing culture, singing Cole Porter, and reading the
classics to his rapt young audience. Although the show earned critical
raves - and boffo ratings - his reign was shortlived, as Bart exposed his
plan and landed him in jail.
then, he has taken the position of Evil Genius in the series - a typical
Sideshow Bob episode involves his being released from incarceration and
acting out some cunning plan, which is foiled by Bart and (usually) Lisa.
Frequently this plan involves killing someone: Krusty, Bart or everyone in
Springfield. Bob has been eager to get
revenge on Bart for foiling his schemes, but in "The Great Louse
Detective", when he had the opportunity to kill Bart, he found
himself unable to, as he had "grown accustomed to Bart's face".
Bob was briefly married to Selma
(whom he also tried to kill), and was the Robert Mitchum/Robert de Niro
character in the Cape Fear sendup episode. He is a staunch Republican, and
was briefly mayor of Springfield. He can sing entire Gilbert and Sullivan
operettas off the cuff.
Bob also has several tattoos, such as "Die Bart Die" (German,
he claims, for "the Bart, the", which led to being granted
parole on the grounds that "no one who speaks German could be
evil") on his chest and one resembling Bart's decapitated head on a
skateboard on his back. The tattoos on Bob's fingers parody those of
Robert Mitchum's character in the movie The Night of the Hunter (whose
fingers are tattooed L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E), but, as Simpsons characters
have only three fingers (besides the thumb), Bob's finger tattoos spell
"L-U-V" and "H-A-T".
Bob's brother Cecil (somewhat ironically played by David Hyde Pierce)
has harbored resentment for winning the role of Krusty's sidekick for many
years, and during one of Bob's releases from prison, tried to frame him
for embezzlement and sabotaging the Springfield Dam. Cecil's plan ended
with mixed results: the sabotage did not destroy Springfield as expected,
and both brothers took the blame for it. During the same episode it was
revealed that Cecil attended Princeton University for four years
(described as "Clown College" by Bob), whereas Bob had already
been established as a proud graduate of Yale (like Mr. Burns). Like the
two brothers, these Ivy League schools have a long-standing rivalry.
Bob's position as Krusty's sidekick is now taken by Sideshow Mel.
Sideshow Bob Episodes
- The Telltale Head: First appearance of Sideshow Bob as Krusty
the Clown's much-abused sidekick. Bob only appears briefly on Bart's
television and has no speaking lines. His hair is an afro.
- Krusty Gets Busted: Sideshow Bob's villainous debut. His hair
has changed from an afro to a palm tree fronds hairdo. Krusty the
Clown is framed for robbing the Kwik E Mart, and the entire town
abandons him and embraces his replacement, the suave, sophisticated
Sideshow Bob. However, Bart never loses hope in Krusty and is
eventually able to unmask the identity of the real culprit... Sideshow
- Bart the Murderer: When Bart is thrown in jail, Sideshow Bob
is shown as his buffed-up cellmate. However, Bob has no lines and does
not do anything to Bart in this cameo.
- Black Widower: Selma begins dating her prison pen pal, whom
the Simpsons discover is none other than Sideshow Bob. Sideshow Bob
declares that he has been reformed by Selma's love, and eventually
proposes to and marries her (all to the objection of Bart, who still
believes Sideshow Bob is pure evil). On their honeymoon, it is
revealed that Sideshow Bob only wants to kill Selma for her insurance
money, but Bart manages to unravel his scheme and stop it at the last
second, sending Sideshow Bob back to prison.
- Cape Feare: The Cape Fear parody. Bart receives a series of
threatening letters written in blood, and soon afterwards Sideshow Bob
is released from prison on parole. The Simpsons go into the witness
protection program and move to Terror Lake, but Sideshow Bob follows
them. After a few days of stalking, Sideshow Bob finally sneaks into
the Simpson home to kill Bart. The two end up confronting each other
on a small boat, and Bart manages to outwit Sideshow Bob by asking him
to sing the entire score to the H.M.S. Pinafore as a last request,
delaying Sideshow Bob long enough for the boat to crash, where a
waiting Chief Wiggum arrests him.
- Sideshow Bob Roberts: Sideshow Bob's outspoken and eloquent
conservative viewpoints cause the town Republicans to parole him and
get him to run for Mayor against Quimby, where he wins in a landslide
(one of the arguments against Quimby being that he agreed with
paroling known criminal Sideshow Bob). Sideshow Bob uses his new
government power to make the Simpsons family suffer, scheduling their
home for demolition and putting Bart in Kindergarten (though this
actually makes Bart happier). Lisa discovers that Sideshow Bob won the
election by registering dead people to vote for him. Lisa and Bart
confront Sideshow Bob with the truth, and Sideshow Bob is arrested and
sent back to jail.
- Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming: Sideshow Bob's hatred of
television prompts him to steal an atomic bomb from the Springfield
Air Base, and he threatens to destroy all life in Springfield unless
television is permanently cancelled. Krusty violates the cancellation,
so Sideshow Bob attempts to detonate the bomb, but it turns out to be
a dud ("best before November 1959"). Sideshow Bob then takes
Bart as a hostage and goes off on a kamikaze mission aboard the Wright
Brothers' plane to kill Krusty, but is foiled by the frailty of the
- Brother from Another Series: Sideshow Bob is released from
prison and enters into a work-release program headed by his brother
Cecil. The program is a construction project working on the new
Springfield Dam. Bart and Lisa believe Sideshow Bob is planning
something terrible, and spy on his every move. The two run across
evidence that suggests Sideshow Bob is planning to wipe out
Springfield by sabotaging the dam. Eventually, it is revealed that
Sideshow Bob really has reformed, and that it is his brother Cecil
that is planning on destroying Springfield (to frame Bob as revenge
for 'stealing' the position of Krusty's sidekick from him). Bart,
Lisa, and Sideshow Bob team up to stop Cecil's plan, and Bart even
saves Sideshow Bob's life when the dam begins to collapse, causing
Sideshow Bob to promise to stop trying to kill him. However, Sideshow
Bob ends up taking an equal share of the blame for Cecil's scheme, and
both of them end up getting hauled off to jail by Wiggum.
- Day of the Jackanapes: Krusty the Clown's show is about to be
cancelled by evil network executives, prompting Krusty to arrange for
a final episode. Meanwhile, Sideshow Bob is enraged when he learns
that Krusty has destroyed all evidence of his existence by taping over
his old episodes (since Krusty had a love for Judge Judy and he didn't
want to buy blank tapes), prompting him to enact yet another
"kill Krusty" scheme, this time by hypnotizing Bart into
becoming a suicide bomber and killing Krusty on the show. However, at
the last minute, Krusty makes an on-air apology to Sideshow Bob for
all the pain he's caused him, causing Sideshow Bob to have a change of
heart. Sideshow Bob warns everybody that Bart is a bomb, prompting
Krusty's monkey to swoop in and throw the bomb away (the only people
hurt are the evil network executives, whose body parts merge into a
T-1000 like monster). Sideshow Bob and Krusty finally resolve their
differences, but Sideshow Bob is still scheduled to be decapitated for
his crimes by Chief Wiggum (although the show cuts to the credits
before we see the impact). He must have survived somehow, though,
because he next appears in
- The Great Louse Detective: A series of attempts on Homer's
life prompts Chief Wiggum to consult Sideshow Bob as a Hannibal Lecter
style expert on the criminal mind. Sideshow Bob is eventually sent to
live with the Simpsons to help reveal the killer's identity, with an
electric shock device strapped to him to prevent him from causing
trouble. In a final confrontation at Mardi Gras, Sideshow Bob saves
Homer's life and the two confront the real killer... Frank Grimes Jr.
In the end, Sideshow Bob sneaks into Bart's room and is about to kill
him, but finds that he can't do it because he's "grown accustomed
to Bart's face" a la My Fair Lady.
- A couch gag featured Bob entering the house, disguised as Homer, and
then chasing Bart with a knife.
- Sideshow Bob will re-appear in a Season 17 episode as mayor of an
Italian town that the family just happen to be visiting.
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