22
Aug
13

Today I Am a Clown Makes Baby Jesus Cry

 Mr. T and the Nancy Reagan

Image shamelessly yoinked from here.

“This is worse than your song about Mr. T.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“I pity the fool who doesn’t like . . . he.” – Homer Simpson

This episode has a cavalcade of guest voices, several of whom are playing themselves, plus Homer gets a new job as a talk show host.  Happily, they spend most of the commentary ignoring the episode and telling stories about Mr. T, who is apparently exactly like his public persona when he’s recording voices.  It’s also worth pointing out that by this point in Zombie Simpsons, even the DVD commentaries are getting repetitive.  Three or four times someone will tell a story or note some piece of trivia after mentioning that they’ve said so many times before. 

Anyway, we start with ten people on this one, but Caroline Omine shows up late.  To begin we have Jean, Selman, Castellaneta, Tim Long, Joel Cohen, Don Payne, Tom Gammill, Max Pross, Nancy Cruz, and Steve Moore.

0:40 – After Cruz says her name, she was ninth, someone asks “Is that it?” before Steve Moore describes himself as a “guest attendee”. 

1:00 – Jean asks Joel Cohen to discuss the origin of the episode.  It was originally pitched as a travel show where they could go to Israel for Krusty’s bar mitzvah, but it became just Krusty’s bar mitzvah. 

1:20 – Gammill asks Cohen, for the benefit of those who don’t know, what a bar mitzvah is, which leads to some insider Jewish humor, “You read from the Torah in front of friends, families and people with envelopes in their pockets.”  Ha.

2:15 – Jean asks Castellaneta if he knew Krusty was Jewish when he started doing the voice.  He did not, and then launches into the “he’s based on Rusty Nails” story, which he acknowledges has been told many, many times at this point.

3:00 – Discussing the nationwide franchising of Bozo the Clown.  Jean laughs about how the one in Detroit lost the rights and had to change his name to Oopsie the Clown when he was a kid.

3:30 – Cohen won a Jewish Image award for this, but didn’t win a Writers Guild award.

4:00 – Castellaneta did Rabbi Krustofski at the table read, and then does his Jackie Mason impression here.  It’s funny.

4:20 – On screen Homer just finished strangling Santa’s Little Helper, but no one wants to talk about that so Jean asks Castellaneta if he ever met any real TV clowns.  He has, in fact, met the son of the guy who played Bozo, Bob Bell.  They’re not discussing the episode at all, but so far this is a pretty entertaining commentary.

5:20 – Krusty’s mansion was done a little to look like Jerry Lewis’s place in The King of Comedy.

5:30 – Jean’s just killing time now, so after noting that it’s been on many commentaries before, he talks about how Krusty is just Homer with different hair.

6:20 – After another digression, Jean asks Long what it was like to direct Mr. T for this episode.  Mr. T was one of the most enthusiastic guest voices they ever had, which launches into a Rocky III story that Long says he’s told many times before. 

7:30 – Still discussing Mr. T, who comes in for very high praise for being fun to work with.

7:55 – Apparently, Mr. T’s recording session overlapped with Weird Al’s recording session, and the two met right in the room they’re using for the commentary.  Mr. T was “a little hazy” about who Weird Al was.  Again, nobody’s paying the least bit attention to the episode, but this commentary remains much more entertaining than most.

8:30 – Selman tries to keep the Mr. T thing going, and everyone just ignores him so Gammill can ask if the setting they’re in is supposed to be Washington Square Park.  Consensus: yes it is.

9:15 – Gammill recounts living near Washington Square Park for ten years.  They once found a body in his apartment building.  This leads to much joking and laughter.  Man, I wish they were always this entertaining when they ignore the episode.

10:00 – Gammill’s body finding story is still going on.  His elderly neighbor was murdered, and the rumor around the building was that she was involved in selling untaxed cigarettes. 

11:00 – Now they’re joking about getting Gammill to confess. 

11:15 – After that winds down, Jean breaks the silence by asking Castellaneta if Krusty’s voice or Homer’s voice is more natural for him.  Answer: not really.

12:00 – Trivia bit: Lisa jokes in this episode that her imaginary Jewish friend got into Brandeis.  A few weeks later, they got a fake acceptance package from Brandeis.

13:00 – After a long silence where they just ignore the fact that Homer is now a successful talk show host, Jean asks Cruz about how many changes there were after the animatic.  Cruz doesn’t think it was unusually bad. 

13:45 – Kind of interesting note about the actual episode: Cruz sees Marge talking as Homer’s on TV, and wonders what the original line was because her mouth movements are clearly animated for something other than what she says. 

14:35 – Long silence is broken by brief laughter after Chief Wiggum describes Homer as “always eating”. 

15:00 – Homer has a dream where he saves Abraham Lincoln, and Jean thinks comedy writers have a little obsession with that.

15:20 – Jean breaks that silence by asking, “Any other interesting stories about Mr. T”?

15:45 – Caroline Omine just showed up.  They get back to Mr. T very quickly, eventually asking Omine if she has any stories: “None that I can share”.  Heh.  She did once see him signing the Mr. T comic at a book store.

16:40 – Oh yeah, we’re still talking about Mr. T.

17:15 – Apparently, Gary Coleman wasn’t enthusiastic about doing his catch phrase, but Mr. T had no problems pitying the fool.  Omine again, “He said, I get up in the morning, I brush my teeth, and I go, ‘I wonder what fool I’m gonna pity today!’.”  This gets a huge laugh, and deservedly so.

17:30 – They were about to discuss the commandments of Mr. T, but the Beach Boys are on screen now and that distracted them.

18:00 – Mr. T is finally on screen, and he was game for reading lines in Hebrew.

18:40 – Long silence.

19:00 – Homer’s talk show gets cancelled, and to break the above mentioned long silence, Jean mentions that he heard of a show that actually got cancelled mid-taping once.

19:20 – Smelling the credits, Jean talks about a Dick van Dyke episode about an adult bar mitzvah.

20:00 – More compliments for Mr. T as he gets spun on a giant menorah.  They originally had it as a Star of David, but changed it.  Jean jokes that it’s now “all in perfect taste”. 

20:45 – Jean tells a story about Jackie Mason, who is a real rabbi and was so funny during his sermons that people told him to go on stage.

21:05 – And we end with on last mention of Gammill’s dead neighbor and one more Castellaneta Jackie Mason impression. 


1 Response to “Today I Am a Clown Makes Baby Jesus Cry”


  1. 1 Monty Python Forever
    22 August 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Krusty’s treatment of his religion reminds me of a “Jewish” wedding I once saw on a very hot day. Jewish weddings have a major piece of symbolism: A Chuppa, a canopy on which the couple puts symbols representing things which are deep and meaningful to them. This groom put hockey team logos on the Chuppa, insulted his daughter from a previous marriage and his fiancee during the ceremony, wore casual clothing and served burgers and hot dogs. I am sort of a Nihilist, and even I felt a little offended by that disaster. I thought, “God, if you do exist, please take the hatred you feel for my disbelief and target it towards that asshole,” and a cool breeze came in and made me much more comfortable.


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