For the most part this episode was entertaining. Plus, it also brought a bit of continuity into the show, something that comes and goes on the program. The Simpsons needs to keep things straight when it comes to its Sideshow Bob appearances because there is so much history with the character and fans would probably cause a minor uproar if they saw the slightest change. With the other characters this isn't done so much. For example, what happened to Milhouse's new James Dean attitude he developed a few weeks ago?
The episode featured the usual jokes you'd find in a Sideshow Bob vehicle. Bob's cleverly planned plot to kill Bart and the rest of his family goes horribly wrong in the end due to some quick thinking by a Simpson child. This time around it's Lisa. I've noticed over the years that most of his plots are foiled by either Lisa or Bart, or a combination of the two. I still remember the episode "Black Widower" when Bart had to draw diagrams for Homer to let him know that Selma was in trouble with her new beau, Bob.
For a minute there I did believe that Sideshow Bob had finally kicked the bucket. I mean, the show has to end sometime. So, why not start to kill off some of the characters? What made me believe that was not the funeral itself but Cecil's little speech to Bart on the sidewalk near his home. Then, the minute passed, and I realized that Bob could never be killed and that it was all a clever ruse. Plus, some individual attempt on Bart's life had to take place.
Some of my favorite moments during the Sideshow Bob scenes:
Bob mentions that his fake commercial led him to direct a feature film -- The Hills Have Eyes 3: The Hills Still Have Eyes
Lisa mentioning Bob's misquotes of Shakespeare, which he really takes to heart.
Snake appearing at Bob's funeral and then again as a cellmate of the Terwilligers.
Mother Terwilliger. Turns out that Bob got his hairstyle from his mother.
Time to talk about the scenes that brought the return of Sideshow Bob. Other than the appearance of the Mr. Sparkle commercial during Lisa's first scan, the Tivo moments didn't do anything for me. Even Marge staying up all night watching television wasn't new -- the whole family did it years ago when they first got cable.