"Bart the Fink
" is the fifteenth episode of The Simpsons
' seventh season
. The title is a play on the film Barton Fink
After the death of Great Aunt Hortense, the Simpson family
attends a will reading. Each member of the family discovers they will receive $100 to do with as they like, but only after spending the night in a haunted house. The rest goes to Ann Landers
. Though Bart
wishes to buy 100 tacos from the TacoMat and Lisa
to contribute the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
has them open bank accounts
at the Bank of Springfield. Bart is excited by his new checking account
and begins writing checks for his friends. Bart attempts to get Krusty the Clown
, but the clown is having a new Sandwich named after him and has to leave. Just before he does, Bart slips a check for 25 cents into Krusty's pocket, figuring that he'll receive an endorsed copy of it with his monthly bank statement.
Instead, the check is endorsed with a stamp - "Cayman Islands Off-Shore Holding Corporation". Angry, Bart takes it back to the bank so that they can force Krusty to sign it. Suspicious, a bank teller investigates, and within minutes Krusty is charged for tax fraud. Bart has inadvertently finked onto the clown as one of the biggest tax cheats in American history. However, Krusty discovers that though he will not be going to prison; his salary will be garnished by 95% for 40 years. The IRS also auction off Krusty's house contents, including his bed, and convert the Krusty Burger chain of restaurants to "IRS Burger". They also take a major portion of the "Krusty the Clown" show's annual earnings and residuals. Ruined, unable to maintain his "swanky lifestyle" (a "Sheik lifestyle" in Italian dub), and living on the streets, Krusty mans his private airplane (the one he used to go to Las Vegas along with Dean Martin) one night and appears to fly directly into a mountain.
Everyone assumes that Krusty is dead, but Bart believes otherwise when he begins to see a very Krusty look-alike all over town; on the street, the doctor's office, an electronics store, underwater opening a lobster pot, and The Frying Dutchman. Bart and Lisa soon discover that Krusty has gone into hiding under the guise of Rory B. Bellows, a grizzled old longshore worker. They try to convince him to return to his former life, but he refuses. Finally, he accepts when they say how he is more respected than the nations' scientists and teachers. Krusty then explodes his well insured boat to fix his tax problems.
- As mentioned in the DVD commentary for this episode, the title is a reference to the film Barton Fink.
- The starting of this episode is inspired from the ending of an earlier episode. At the ending of the episode Homer Loves Flanders, the family inherit a haunted house and have to spend a night in it. This is exactly how this episode begins!
- The episode begins showing the law firm is called "Dewey, Cheathem, Howe, & Weissmann" - the joke being that the obvious joke name is Dewey, Cheatem & Howe.
- The house the Simpsons are asked to spend the night in looks exactly like the house in Hitchcock's famous 1960 film Psycho.
- Krusty's airplane, "I'm-on-a-rolla-Gay", is a spoof of the Enola Gay B-29 airplane that dropped the A-bomb on Hiroshima.
- The Sea Captain ends a phone conversation by saying, "Call me back, Ishmael," a reference to the opening line of Moby-Dick.
- Also attending the funeral is Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder, who appears with a Kermit the Frog puppet on his hand.
- The wreath seen in the background displays the phone number '369-3084', which was Simpsons writer and producer Bill Oakley's office phone number at the time.
- Krusty's illegal Cayman-Islands 'accountant' is modeled after Sydney Greenstreet, particularly from Casablanca, considering his line "oh, it's too hot today".
- Krusty's rant on the pavement is a reference to John Rambo's speech at the end of the movie First Blood
- Troy McClure mentions the funeral of André the Giant.
- Prior to Krusty's Funeral, Homer lists John Dillinger, Ty Cobb, and Joseph Stalin as celebrities whom Krusty would be laughing with while in Heaven: Dillinger was a criminal, Cobb was a controversial Baseball player and Stalin was a Communist who murdered millions. In the italian dub Dillinger and Cobb were replaced with mafia strongman Al Capone and nazi ruler Adolf Hitler
- Krusty mentions that he once flew with Dean Martin in his (Krusty's) private plane and "the moon hit his eye like a big pizza pie" and then saying they wrote a song about it is a reference to Dean Martin's famous song That's Amore.
- Comic Book Guy mentions Doctor Who, a BBC show which is the longest running science fiction series in the world.
- On the city bus Krusty gets off, the advert on the bus reads "ARE YOU MISSING MAD ABOUT YOU RIGHT NOW? NBC MUST SEE TV SUNDAYS AT 8PM."
- The scene where Krusty flies his plane is a possible reference to Ernst doing likewise in Heimat 3.