One of the all-time classic Simpsons episodes is 25 years old this week
"Hello, Mr Thompson..."
The sky is blue, water is wet and The Simpsons is a shadow of its former self.
We know this. It's practically an exact science by now.
Hell, even one of the show's key voice actors, Yeardley Smith, couldn't help but be honest when asked about the decline of The Simpsons during a recent Reddit AMA.
"When you're churning out 22 shows per season it's impossible for every show to be stellar," she said.
"There will always be an ebb and flow. I think what sticks with me more is the fact that we still have such a huge enthusiastic fan base."
Which is fair enough, even if time really ought to have been called some time ago if quality control is to be respected.
Still, the early days have so much re-watchable gold that you can never truly turn your back on Springfield.
One such bona-fide classic episode has just turned the ripe young age of 25, and that is Cape Feare.
Clip via DrRockso1987
An incredible showcase for Kelsey Grammer and his villainous Sideshow Bob, the second episode of the Simpsons' fifth season premiered on Thursday 7 October, 1993.
A riff on the Robert DeNiro thriller Cape Fear, the episode focuses on Bob's attempts to murder Bart and the family's subsequent move into witness protection.
Chaos and hilarity ensues accordingly. This was the golden age of The Simpsons where you imagine that the jokes that didn't make the final script were just as sharp as the ones that did.
Indeed, Cape Feare is said to be cast member Hank Azaria's favourite episode of the entire series, and for good reason.
Scratch that, here's five good reasons:
1. The bit with the rakes
Clip via blindandstoopid
Already fairly beaten down following an ill-advised method of travel, Sideshow Bob goes full slapstick when he encounters a suspicious amount of rakes just lying around on the pavement.
It doesn't go well.
Fun fact; Grammer didn't know that the scene would be dragged out for comic effect, having only recorded Sideshow Bob's reaction groan just the once.
2. "Hello, Mr Thompson..."
The thing about Homer Simpson is that he's the greatest character ever created in any medium, ever.
Now, I know that's a big claim and these things are all subjective, but think about it.
He's a terrible father, husband, friend and employee and yet you never want harm to come his way.
That takes some doing. Further evidence of his loveable ridiculousness comes in the form of the following sketch when the witness protection lads are doing their best to coach him through his new life:
Clip via letsbepandas
3. The other movie references
Cape Fear isn't the only horror that Bart comes into worryingly close contact with here.
You've got Ned throwing back to A Nightmare on Elm Street in suitably terrifying fashion...
And Homer going one better and pledging his allegiance to the Friday the 13th franchise when trying to impress his son...
What a man.
4. Kelsey Grammer's performance
Cape Feare marked the actor's third time at voicing Sideshow Bob, right around the time that he was becoming a household name in his own right.
Less than one month prior to the airing of this episode, Frasier began its own television journey, with Grammer moving from a beloved side character in Cheers to his own story.
It's hard to imagine anyone else voicing Bob, though. Those signature dulcet tones, the perfect inhabiting of a character with delusions of grandeur, the ability to give this antagonist shades of grey.
Hell of a singing voice, too.
5. The repurposed intro
Clip via Frütz Zinger
Seriously, what an episode. Happy Birthday!