The Grim Reaper visited Springfield for the 26th-season premiere of “The Simpsons” on Sunday. Fans were warned (or perhaps teased) about the death in advance, but that may have been a mistake. Executive producer Al Jean called the death “overhyped” before the episode aired, and he appears to have been right.
No one from the immediate Simpson family met their maker. Nor did any of the beloved Springfield regulars, such as Apu, Police Chief Wiggum or Mr. Burns. The episode’s title, “Clown in the Dumps,” led many to speculate that Krusty the Clown would giggle for the finale time. Closer, but still not correct.
It was Krusty’s father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofski, who died suddenly in front of his son in the first half of the episode. Voiced by comedian Jackie Mason, Rabbi Krustofski first appeared in the show’s third season and has only appeared in a handful of the show’s 553 episodes. To call him a major character is a bit of a stretch.
Mason, however, won an Emmy for his performance as the character in 1992, and the character has its fans. But as far as “Simpsons” deaths go, this was more Bleeding Gums Murphy than Maude Flanders.
For the most part, fans were underwhelmed.
One fan wrote, “So Krusty’s dad is the major character to die on the #simpsons? I don’t think so. What a letdown.”
Another wondered, “Should the Simpsons be sued for false advertising over the major character being Krusty’s dad?”
And another wrote, “Krusty’s dad died. ... Um, Krusty had a dad? Never heard of him. Wasted anticipation.”
The death was overshadowed by an incredibly surreal opening couch gag directed by Oscar nominee Don Hertzfeldt and the “Simpsons"-"Family Guy” crossover episode that aired immediately after.
Jean has said the death is permanent, meaning it won’t be like the three-episode death of Brian the dog on “Family Guy” last season. But Rabbi Krustofski wasn’t on the series for the better part of a decade before he made return appearances, so his presence will hardly be missed.
Except by poor Krusty the clown. That guy just can’t catch a break.
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