Since we all know that Bob loves to quote Shakespeare, I have listed the source of each of his quotes (play, act and scene) at the end of this chapter. Italian-to-English translations are provided via Google Translator.
SUMMARY: After yet another failed attempt to kill Bart, Sideshow Bob realizes his life is a sham and vows to start anew. But when an evening at Moe's goes horribly awry, the Simpsons find themselves in the awkward position of caring for their wounded archenemy. Humor/Drama, PG-13 for language and suggestive themes.
Act I, Scene I
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts. ~ As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
The words of the Immortal Bard rang especially true to a certain man - a man who could quote Shakespeare as flawlessly as he could belt out "Vesti la giubba" while orchestrating a multiple homicide before a live audience.
Robert Underdunk Terwilliger was an amazingly versatile actor, having played a wide range of roles throughout his life: the wayward son, the loving husband, the devoted father, the esteemed mayor. Some roles had been thrust upon him, dubious parts in which he took little or no pride: the mute sidekick, the jaded buffoon, the hardened criminal, the capricious psychopath.
As the Colosseum fell dark in the wake of the Simpsons' escape, the night sky came to life with stars that, only moments before, had been outshone by Sideshow Bob's moving aria of heartbreak and deception. Gazing up at them with a sudden air of calm, his desire to sing to the heavens themselves was quelled by the soft touch on his hand. He looked down to see Francesca standing beside him, her hand in his, with that seductive yet sinister smile that spoke a dark secret he had yet to uncover. This woman, who played the role of wife and mother, had stood by him through this fiasco. That much he had not expected.
He returned her smile and the two strolled hand-in-hand out of the Colosseum. Little Gino ran on ahead of them, swearing gruesome vengeance on a butterfly whose only sin was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Farfalla! Farfalla vendetta! Ack! Ack! Ack!" He stabbed the air with his knife. Bob chuckled. The hand holding his tightened its grip. Beside him, Francesca made a low sound like a growl as she watched the boy with narrowed eyes. That wasn't a good sign, Bob knew.
They hailed a taxi and rode home in silence. Their driver cast more than the usual amount of suspicious glances in the rearview mirror, and it wasn't until Bob reached up to tug at his suddenly too-tight collar that he realized he still had his costume and makeup on.
A horn blared behind them. The driver leaned out the window to curse and gesture obscenely as the offending motorist passed him. Gino stood up on the seat and raised his knife, shouting "Vendetta! Vendetta per il tassista!"+
"Silenzio!" Francesca hissed. She took the knife from him and forced him to sit in her lap. "You are not-a the creeminal, Gino."
Bob stole a sideways glance at her. An unsettling change had occured in the woman he called his wife, and it worried him. A lot.
The remainder of the ride was as silent as duct tape, the tension building behind it waiting to tear loose with a scream.
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. ~ Macbeth, Act V, Scene V
It was late by the time they returned to the village of Salsiccia. Late and dark and quiet. Most of the villagers had already turned in for the night. A coldness seized Bob's heart to see shards of glass glinting in the moonlight. Some malcontent had taken a rock to the downstairs windows of the mayor's estate. His home. Approaching the front door, it appeared damaged. The rich varnish was severely scuffed, the door frame splintered. An Italian profanity had been written on the door as well, probably by the same person who'd failed to break it down. The reek of urine suggested that it had been peed on as well.
Francesca held Gino close as they entered the house, glancing about nervously as if expecting an ambush. When it seemed the coast was clear, she fled upstairs. Bob heard the slam of their bedroom door and sighed. Very slowly and reluctantly, he ascended the staircase. With each upward step his feet seemed to grow heavier. It felt as though the clown shoes he'd donned as part of his Canio costume - floppy even for him - were slowly filling with molten lead. It seemed impossible that he would reach the top step, but somehow he managed. He looked first to his left, toward the bedroom, then to the right - his office. The desire to be alone with his thoughts pushed him toward the latter.
Inside his office, the mahogany-paneled walls threatened to close in on him. The only light in the room shone through the door from a ceiling fixture in the hallway. The opulent oak desk, behind which he'd mused and deliberated on all variety of subjects, stood as void as an empty coffin in the gloom. It seemed to grow as he approached it. Or maybe he was shrinking. Placing his palms on its cold, lacquered surface, it suddenly seemed far too big a desk for him. Like something he was expected to grow into, but never did. And never would.
His shadow, black as nothing, stretched across the desk and fell upon the crimson drapes behind it. Distorted by the deeply pleated velvet folds, it glared back sightlessly, the silhouette of a monster.
"The shadow of your sorrow hath destroyed the shadow of your face," Bob murmured, quoting King Richard II. The corner of his mouth twitched and his hands clenched into fists on the desktop. "The shadow of my sorrow? Ha!" His laugh was explosive and venomous, like a spitting cobra. "'Tis very true, my grief lies all within; and these external manners of laments are merely shadows to the unseen grief that swells with silence in the tortured soul! There lies the..."*
Bob flinched, then growled. "I told you never to interrupt me when I am invoking the words of the Immortal Bard!" he snapped, spinning around.
Francesca stood in the doorway, suitcase in hand, Gino at her side. Both wore matching glares of contempt aimed squarely at Bob. His eyes flitted over the little boy briefly before doing a double take. His hair - his untamed mop of curly red hair - his most outstanding feature which bore him his strongest resemblance to Bob - lay in a heap at his tiny little feet.
Bob stared at the wig as if it were a massive blood-colored tarantula snoozing in the middle of the floor. The boy's real hair was as ebony as his mother's. What hadn't been shaved off now clung in thin, sweat-dampened locks to his too-round head.
"Gino, why...?" Bob whispered, turning questioning eyes to the child who no longer even remotely looked like him.
"It's over, Roberto. If-a that ees your real name," Francesca said coldly.
"Of course it isn't my real name!" Bob retorted. "I've told you time and again that it's Bob! Simply Bob! Or Robert, if you insist on the formality, and even that you somehow manage to butcher, with your exorbitant R rolling and that damnable gratuitous O!" His voice was rising, changing in pitch from his natural smooth tenor to the guttural quality of some agitated beast. "It's Robert, raaaahhh-bert, not row-bear-toe! For God's sake, woman, is that so difficult?"
Francesca laughed bitterly. "Ha! Look at who ees-a the talking! You, who are-a the one ruining everything! If not for that heedeous prison uniform you are-a wearing like the underwear all of the time..." she referred to the orange jumpsuit he'd had on under his clothes when a drunken Lisa accidentally disrobed him.
"I told you, that cursed Armani suit you force me to wear to galas always gives me a rash!"
"Then wear-a the Gucci!"
Bob gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes, piercing her with a look of purest loathing. "Gucci. Doesn't. Breathe."
"Stai zitto! Sei un uomo patetico con i vostri capelli ridicolo pagliaccio e piedi!" Francesca shouted fanatically. "Ora la mia reputazione è rovinata per colpa tua! Tu sei un marito indegno e vergognoso il sindaco più questa città abbia mai visto!"++
At any other time Bob might have laughed at how absurd she sounded, like some God-awful Desi Arnaz impersonator running off at the mouth. He waved a hand to shush her.
"Yes, yes, everything is my fault. Blame the trophy husband after all he's done for you."
"It ees-a your fault, you bastardo idiota!" the woman snarled. "I made-a you what you are, Rrrrrrroberrrto," she hissed, deliberately rolling her R's just to irritate him. "I made-a you the husband of-a Francesca Graziella Louisa D'Angelo Bernarducci the fashion model! Me! Francesca!"
"Only because you needed a husband to avoid the stigma of being an unwed mother!" Bob shot back, folding his arms. "Making your son wear that ridiculous wig to look like me so that none of the fourteen sperm donors you shacked up with in a single weekend could lay claim to him!"
"It was-a four men, not fourteen!" Francesca's face was pink with embarrassed fury.
Bob snorted. "Four, fourteen... what difference does it make? When none of those men were foolish enough to marry you, you preyed on me, the one man in Italy ignorant of your reputation."
Of course he knew Gino wasn't his. The boy had been nearly a year old when the couple first met. They'd dated briefly and dispassionately. Then Francesca dropped a bombshell. It wasn't as much a surprise that she had proposed to him as what she had proposed: a trophy marriage. They each needed a crutch, and each suited the others' needs perfectly. And so, one public marriage announcement later, Bob resurfaced as a new man in a new country, starting a shining new life, while Francesca resurfaced with a ring on her finger and a red wig on her baby's head to keep the tabloids from talking.
The woman's face grew redder. "I made-a you il sindaco! The mayor! Those brainless pidgeons elect you because you are-a marry to me! You are-a nothing without me!"
"Oh, please! They all but thrust me into office after I single-handedly brought in the wine harvest with these bunioned beauties!" Bob declared, implicating his feet with a grandiose gesture.
Francesca sneered at them before meeting his glare with a haughty one of her own. "So you are-a good for one thing only!"
"Ahem?" Bob crossed his arms again, indignant.
Francesca rolled her eyes. "All right, two things you are good for... but no more!" The momentary smug smirk was wiped clean from Bob's face. "You have-a ruin everything because you are-a swearing vendetta on-a pointy-haired leetle bambinos!"
"Vendetta! Vendetta!" Gino piped up. He began stabbing the air with an imaginary knife.
"No, Gino!" his mother snapped, grabbing his hand to still him. "You are not-a the creeminal! You are good boy... with bad father figure!" She glared up at Bob again, her dark eyes smoldering dangerously. "Worst of all, you have-a corrupt my son."
Bob smirked. "Not two hours ago you thought his newfound bloodlust quite endearing," he pointed out coolly.
The woman narrowed her eyes. "It was cute - until I see that he meant-a for-real vendetta!" She thrust the suitcase at him, but he did not take it. His hands hung limp at his sides now, dead weights. He just stared at her, at a loss for words. The suitcase, already packed by the sound of it, hit the floor.
"Leave Salsiccia," she told him, in a hiss that made his blood run cold. "Now. And-a never come back."
The door slammed behind her.
Bob sighed heavily, leaning against the desk for support. With a wife like that, and feet like his, he'd strutted his way into the mayoral office with undeserved cockiness. And of course, pride always went before the fall. What else could he have expected? He'd known from the start of their loveless faux marriage that Francesca could and would continue to live the wild life she'd enjoyed prior to her unplanned son. And he had stood by and allowed it with nary an objection, knowing full well that their little arrangement shielded all three of them behind its blissful facade. It shielded Francesca from being labeled a spoiled, reckless whore by cruel tabloids, Gino from being a bastard child, and Bob from the shadow of his criminal past.
The rings on their fingers were a constant joke, a tired running gag. They were cheap symbols of an unholy union between two people who'd sought only to use each other as a means to their own separate ends. There had never been a ceremony, no signing of a marriage license, not a single "I do."
Fidelity was another joke - one at which Francesca always had the last laugh. In contrast, Bob had been trapped by the pretend marriage, for no sensible woman in the village would even consider an affair with the illustrious mayor and husband of the fiery Francesca. For his part, he'd sucked it up and looked on the bright side of things: he was beloved and respected, had a beautiful new home and a wonderful new life, and at the end of the day, the woman who played his wife (usually) came home to him.
Now... now it was gone. Finished. Over. The end. He'd had it all and lost it all, and yet he'd never really had any of it to begin with. The love of the townspeople had been even more capricious than his own homicidal tendencies. He should have known he'd won them over too easily. The wife and son who made him look better simply by standing beside him: only actors. His demons: still present and accounted for, every single one of them. It had all been an act, an elaborate staging. The grandest of lies. And now... now his life was an empty stage.
A single tear forged a glistening trail down his cheek, smearing his clown makeup. "I hold the world but as the world," Bob whispered into the silence. "A stage where every man must play a part, and mine a sad one."**
ACT II: [link]
Note: The reason I wrote this intro is because A. I've never been happy with the idea of Bob being 'tied down' with a family, and B. I wanted to rid Bob of them without deviating from what is apparently canon on The Simpsons. Unlike some people, I couldn't just pretend that "The Italian Bob" didn't happen. Although the show is full of continuity errors (which bug the living crap out of me) I have a strong need for canonical stability. Ergo, this chapter was MY way of saying "Oh, hell no!" to the show's writers. XD
I mostly wrote this chapter for myself as a means of getting rid of Francesca and Gino as logically and painlessly as possible, meaning no character deaths and no bitter divorce. Nothing personal against Fran and Gino, or their admirers, but as a hardcore Sideshow Bob fan, I NEEDED to liberate him, if only for my own satisfaction. And it worked! I am QUITE satisfied now.
Comments on both chapter content AND the illustration are appreciated, but not required. It's just that comments in general are very encouraging for me. ^_^
*King Richard II, Act IV, Scene I
**The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene I
+"Revenge for the taxi driver!"
++ "Shut up! You're a pathetic man with your ridiculous hair and clown feet! Now my reputation is ruined because of you! You are a worthless husband and the most disgraceful mayor this town has ever seen!"
You did a great work with this story; even if it's a year old. I really love Bob being with Francesca and had a child together- don't ask me why but I wasn't happy that Gino and Francesca weren't mentioned in the "The Bob next Door"- even Bob's family were mentioned. The only thing I've hated about the new season is that they made Ned go with Edna- because as you know I love Skinner with Edna... NOT Edna with Ned. Sorry, starting to rant there. Anyways that was good.
I love the way you wrote the entire chapter, and the quarrel is totally credible! And Francesca O_O ..... no words!!!! I personally like very much the dramatic turn of events you created!! All my compliments!
(And, between you me and the walls, thanks for freeing Bob!! HAHAHAHAH! XD)
I also think that your story is perfectly placed, after the "vesti la giubba" scene!
That aria always gives me the shivers (especially the Corelli version... with all respect for our psychopathic friend in common) both for the music and for the lyrics... that image of a clown who must make people having fun, while feeling the pain of his broken life...! It is so tragic and perfectly fits to your chapter, like a gorgeous foreword!
Last thing... google translator made a quite respectable work but if you need a help for the language just ask! It will be a PLEASURE!
Not for being presumptious, really! Just because I like to share, if I can!
I truly appreciate detailed reviews such as yours. They are fun to read, very rewarding, and wonderfully informative. A simple "Great job! Update soon!" is also appreciated, but doesn't even begin to tell me all the sorts of things you've just laid out in your very generous review. I thank you for this.
Do you speak Italian?
I receive less comment and when it happens I really appreciate. Yes, I appreciate favs too, but it is good to relate, no? And also useful, I think...
To be sincere it is also because I'm a bit slow on reading.... One chapter at a time is enough!
By constantly reading in english here on Deviantart I'm learning, but it always remains a foreign language for me. I continuously jump from DA to Wordreference! LOL!!!
BTW I love your art too all of it, and I had been meaning to read this but was so busy but I do like it
Also thank you for giving an individual chapter review rather than reading the whole story first and only leaving one comment after the last chapter. Most people who haven't been following it since the beginning do that, coming along after several chapters are posted. I know it's easier that way, but I really, really appreciate individual chapter reviews over single overall story reviews.
I hope you enjoy it enough to read it all the way through to the end. I've got 13 chapters up currently and another 6 or 7 to go, I think. Don't hesitate to let me know if something seems wrong to you. I appreciate all feedback, even constructive criticism.
I still like Gino a lot and also the idea of him being Bob's true son in canon though. It's just that the way it happened in the show was so weird.
I've always been torn by the fact that the writers gave Bob such an attractive wife. Not that he doesn't deserve or couldn't get one. Far from it. In some ways it's cool because it's like "Good for you, Bob! I always knew you had it in you!" but the ugly duckling in me is just plain jealous.
I don't really got why they did that. I wouldn't have thought about Bob getting married, I liked the idea (loved actually) but I think it would've been better put in some fanfic or such? because it was really odd in the actual show. And as for the part of being jealous, well I think the writers didn't know how much attention Bob would get, specially of the ladies haha. (well they shouldn't give him Kelsey Grammer's voice and expect us not to melt)
* Bob is spectacuarly in character - theatrical and dour witted. But his vulnerability was totally believable, which can be hard because he's normally brimming with self confidence. How dare all these people abandon Bob and make him feel like this?! Italians ... I loved you guys once ...
* Nice way to get rid of Francesca and Gino - I'm a bit like you in how I feel about them, I don't hate them, I just hate the idea of Bob with a family. The whole thing with the wig and the fake marriage was that peculiar little brand of hilarious, almost soap opera outland-ishness that remains strangely sincere and emotional, that pretty much defines the Simpsons universe.
* I like all the little intellectual touches, like the perfectly placed Shakespeare quotes and references to the opera - nice little bonuses that warm the nerdy cockles of my heart.
* Dialogue is on point, especially impressed with how you captured Francesca's outrageously over the top accent. Bob is as polished and eloquent as ever, and I ADORED the part where they squabbled over how she pronounced his name (my favourite part of this chapter). Also enjoyed the little reference to Bob being, erm, skilled at his matrimonial duties.
*Prose is polished. You're very good at describing settings, especially loved the line near the beginning about how the stars had just been outshone by Bob's beautiful singing voice, as well as the description of Bob's office.
So in short . . . I can't fault your understanding of the Simpsons universe, everyone's in character, and the writing's good! My three favourite things in fanfiction, so you've got another loyal reader! More comments to follow on each of the other chapters are impending!
I get so many simple "Great chapter!" and "Update soon!" type of replies that, while appreciated, are admittedly disappointing. I like to know what they think of all the little things as well. Like did anyone laugh at that silly little attempt at a joke I made in Scene I, or did anyone get that obscure literary reference in Scene II? Does _______'s dialogue sound authentic, or do ______'s motives seem believable?
Glad you even enjoyed the little things, like the stars and Bob's office. ^__^ It's also nice to see another person who appreciates the Shakespeare quotes, as well as a fellow "Free Bob From His Family" advocate.
I've also written hundreds of poems, and am also currently working on a few novels I hope to publish one day. That's how much I love writing. ^____^
Thanks again for the very, very generous review!
Definitely, I need one of those sandwich boards with "Free Bob from his Family" on it so I can lead a revolution on the Simpsons writers. Revolutions can't fail with sandwich boards, right?
That's so cool about the poetry and novels - I love reading poetry, but my dream is to write a novel/film screenplay, so I admire you for all your creativity!
All this leads into: I know both how hard it can be to write what you want when canon implies something different, but I also understand the desire to pick some elements and put aside others. In Act I, you've found success, and I applaud you heartily.
And how you rewrote it specifically... and HOW. It's heartbreaking. The description and the dialogue walk hand in hand to paint the picture of a man who lost everything yet again. Watching "The Italian Bob" again, I can't help but see his happy family as a facade, and the raw emotions that envokes.
The way you chose to illustrate it captures it perfectly- it summarizes the key scene and shows you the emotional tone. Bra freakin' va!
I had no idea they made an "All Dogs Go To Heaven" series. I doubt I'd have liked it anyway, since I loved the first movie but hated the second. I think what bothered me most about it was how Charlie had to earn his halo or wings or whatever it was, when he was given BOTH in the first movie before he rejected them. They just made Heaven a big joke where status is all that mattered.
That and the fact that Anne Marie is never seen or heard from. Of course she would have been an old woman by then, but I absolutely HATE it when a character who was so important in one movie is never shown or even mentioned in the sequel. Like the baby from the first Ice Age movie. Or Zack from Fern Gully. And now that there's a sequel to Monsters, Inc. in the works, Boo definitely won't be in it because it's a prequel.
Overall the second movie was structured better and received more commercial and critical success, but it lacks just about everything that made the first movie unique and charming. The series is strictly one-dimensional standard kids fair, but there are a few great, fun, or hilarious moments thrown in and the whole thing is actually pretty cute. The music is especially great, as there are some songs in the episodes (If you're ever bored, look up "Itchin' and a-Twitchin" or "Party on a UFO" on Youtube. The episodes are on Hulu, but I wouldn't bother watching them except to satisfy curiosity.)
In the show Charlie and Sasha aren't quite together, they're still at the slap slap kiss stage they were for most of the movie. Sasha runs a café and Charlie and Itchy are guardian angels who get missions from Anabelle occasionally. The episode "Heaventh Inning Stretch" actually does acknowledge and explain the fact that Itchy stayed in Heaven at the end of the movie but is on Earth for the show. David makes a few appearances, too. It ran for 40 episodes and actually won a daytime Emmy for outstanding children's programming. But it's still nothing special.
The Cars and Toy Story sequels were awesome, IMO. Had no problem with them. ^__^ And Short Circuit 2, which is one of my all-time favorite movies since I was a kid, I actually love it way more than the original, which I rarely ever watch. XP
BTW LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE THE PIC! NIIIIIIIIIIIIICE ONE!