Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Krusty is Koming: Klown Kargo Kult for all the little Kiddies

"Kamp Krusty" is the first episode of The Simpsons' fourth season, which originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 24, 1992. During summer vacation, the children of Springfield attend Kamp Krusty, a summer camp run by Krusty the Clown. The camp turns out to be worse than hell, leading to the campers rebelling against the camp director. The episode was written by David M. Stern and directed by Mark Kirkland.

After waking up from a dream about destroying Springfield Elementary School, Bart joins Lisa at the breakfast table, where they excitedly discuss spending the summer at Kamp Krusty, a summer camp run by Krusty the Clown. But Homer has made Bart's visit conditional on him getting at least a C average on his report card. At school, Bart receives a D- in each subject from his teacher, Ms. Krabappel. On the bus ride home, he uses a marker to change each grade to an A+. Bart presents the card to his father, but Homer sees through the ruse and chides Bart for not faking plausible grades ("a D turns into a B so easily.") But Homer decides to let Bart go to Kamp Krusty anyway because he doesn’t want Bart “hanging around” all summer.

A week later, the children of Springfield all leave for Kamp Krusty. Once there, the camp's director, Mr. Black, announces that Krusty will not be coming to the camp for some time. The camp’s counselors are revealed to be Springfield's bullies, Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney. Kamp Krusty quickly turns out to be a nightmare. The cabins are falling apart, the lake is too dangerous to swim in, and the kids are fed nothing but Krusty Brand Imitation Gruel (“Nine out of ten orphans can’t tell the difference”), and the "counselors" take them on death marches/hikes. The bullies run the camp with iron fists, forcing the campers to adhere to their improvised traditional camp activities, such as roasting pinecones instead of marshmallows. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge are having a wonderful summer together, with Homer even losing some weight and growing some new hair. Lisa sends a letter home, describing how the kids are forced to make fake Gucci wallets for export to Hong Kong, and how nature hikes have become brutal forced marches, but Marge and Homer think she is exaggerating, and that "she hates it now, but by the time we pick her up, she won't want to leave". Bart survives each day with the unwavering hope that Krusty will come, also repeating the phrase "Krusty's coming, Krusty's coming" and so on. Krusty himself, unaware of any of this, and after personally approving another batch of shoddy, dangerous merchandise, is enjoying himself at Wimbledon.

In an attempt to keep the children complacent, Mr. Black announces to the campers that Krusty has finally come, but it's only local drunk Barney Gumble badly dressed as Krusty. Bart finally snaps; he leads the campers in rebellion, driving out Mr. Black and the bullies, and establishing Camp Bart. After news reporter Kent Brockman reports on the revolt Krusty arrives at the camp to apologize to the kids, saying that he was bribed to approve the camp. To make it up to the children, Krusty takes all the kids to "the happiest place on Earth" Tijuana, Mexico. The episode ends with a montage of the kids having an excellent time.



1. Matt Groening: Qabbalist. This episode, as with almost all of them, is more proof if it was needed.

2. September 24 1992- the mathematics is there to do, I am moving on.

3. Dream of destroying school. No need, no one learns anything (sane normal or useful) there anyway.

4. Breakfast table- which in the Simpsons is always a coda for consumerism, conformity, lovelessness and perversion. Which we are being conditioned in this awful show year in year out to see as a good thing. A very good thing!

5. Bart goes to camp only if he gets a C average- a dismal enough result in any event. Since he can only manage D minus, he is doomed... Or is he? He changes them to the equally unacceptable A+ grade (cf Brave New World for where being a plus gets you) before being chided by the most evil and stupid father in history for not cheating better- perhaps the only lesson he is supposed to learn, according to this vile show. Ds turns into Bs so easily... Don't they just? Especially when the curriculum is fudged to let the slave classes have an ill-deserved sense of achievement.

6. Bart is sent to camp as a way to get rid of him. Ah yes, the Summer Camp philosophy pioneered by the British in South Africa and so ably adopted by the Nazis in the 1930s.

7. Seven days pass. No idea why...

8. The Kamp is a nightmare. Who ever thought it wouldn't be? Mr. Black (of course) tells the worshippers the truth- there is no god inside the box. The box is empty.

9. Three authority figures enforce discipline. Good priests, one and all.

10. Imitation gruel- hilarious because this is pretty much the standard of nutrition for children in the civilised world now. And yes indeed, nine out of ten of our children (orphaned by television) can indeed not tell the difference. Or care to.

11. death marches.

12. Roasting pinecones- a good substitute for the ramphthyrsus, and burning it ends revelry all right.

13. Meanwhile without the children ("hellions") society and the media have made for them the adults are thriving. Something in that for everyone who uses the media as the babysitter. Sooner or later your little darlings will grow up, you know. Full of the sparkly ideas the media has given them... Enjoy.

14. The camp is a sweatshop making Gucci wallets. For Hong Kong. Krusty is not a very nice (emphasized as) Jewish man is he?

15. Letters home are disbelieved. Of course. The opposite of the Auschwitz postcards...

16. Krusty is at Wimbledon. A day at the master races, and another form of sham fight for the oppressed majority.

17. The drunk is the tanist of the klown. Interesting on many levels...

18. Bart leads a revolt. It gets reported on. Sort of.

19. The real (?) Krusty arrives.

20. They go to the happiest place on Earth...


Tijuana is the happiest place on Earth.

Ba-dum Tish.

What is usually missed in all this:

As a friend pointed out this morning, Bart's "Krusty is Koming" faith is ultimately rewarded and Krusty does indeed finally arrive. After the false antiKrusty.