“Dear Mom, I no longer fear hell, for I because been to Kamp Krusty. Our nature hikes have become grim death marches. Our arts and crafts center is, in actuality, a Dickensian workhouse. Bart makes it through the day relying to his unwavering belief that Krusty the Clown will come through, but I am far more pessimistic. I am not even sure if this letter will reach you, as the normal lines of communication have been cut. Now my efforts of writing has made me light-headed, so I close by saying: Save us! Save us now! Bart and Lisa.”
Bart and Lisa spend six weeks at Kamp Krusty. However, the camp is not what it seems, as Bart and Lisa quickly find out!
It's the final day of school, and Bart has a long line of Fs on his report card. But after he gets an obliging Mrs. Krabappel to change the Fs on his report card to Cs, Bart, his fellow students, and the faculty and staff arm up, and tear down Springfield Elementary School with crowbars, hammers, chainsaws, flamethrowers, assault rifles, a crane with a wrecking ball, piloted by Bart himself, to the tune of Alice Cooper's song "School's Out".
Suddenly, Homer wakes him up, and it turns out that it was just a dream - but it really is the last day of school!
Bart and Lisa are excited about being able to spend the summer at Kamp Krusty ("The Krustiest Place On Earth"), a summer camp endorsed by Bart's hero Krusty the Clown, but Homer has said that Bart can only go if he gets at least a C average on his report card. At school, Bart finds that Mrs. Krabappel has given him a D- in each subject as a result of him slacking off. On the bus ride home, he uses a marker to change each grade to straight A's. Bart presents the card to his dad, but Homer sees through the trick and chides Bart for not faking plausible grades. Even so, he lets Bart go to Kamp Krusty anyway, partly because he doesn't see why Bart should pay for his mistaken belief that Bart could achieve such grades, and partly because Homer doesn't want Bart at home all summer.
In fact almost all of the kids of Springfield are headed for Kamp Krusty, to the delight of their parents. Unfortunately when they arrive, the camp's director, Mr. Black (who licenses the Krusty brand for his camp) announces that Krusty won't be around for a few weeks, and instead the bullies of Springfield -- Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney -- will be serving as counsellors and enforcing order. At Kamp Krusty, the cabins are decrepit and vermin-infested, 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"). While they sing a song of praise about the camp, a montage of the terrible conditions plays. As for the nearby Fat Camp kids, they're under a completely inhumane, workout boot camp which is under lock and key. Lisa tells Bart that she feels as if she's going to die soon and unable to find a silver lining, Bart remarks that she's probably right and everyone else will share the same fate.
Meanwhile, with the kids gone, Homer and Marge are enjoying a wonderful summer together. Homer has even grown two extra strands of hair and lost a few pounds. Marge sends them a letter saying she hopes they're having a good time at camp and sends them jellybean cookies which are stolen and eaten by Kearney, who tells Lisa that her mom's cookies suck. Lisa sends a letter back to Marge, describing how the camp's arts and crafts are nothing but sweatshops where the kids are forced to make wallets for export while showing them sewing to a drum beat by Kearney and getting pestered by Jimbo about the deadline of when the wallets have to be in Hong Kong, and that that their hikes have become brutal forced marches where the weak are picked off. She concludes her letter by begging Marge and Homer to come get them but they think she's exaggerating. This is once again proven not to be the case as it's shown that the roof of their cabin is torn apart leaving all the campers exposed to the storm. Bart clings to the hope that Krusty will come and save the kids. We see however that Krusty himself, unaware of any of this, approves more shoddy merchandise bearing his name before heading off to Wimbledon.
The scene cuts to the campers at the camp curfew who are all dirty, tired and worn from the terrible environment and care at the camp. Then Mr. Black walks on to the stage and announces to the campers that Krusty has finally arrived, and Bart is excited saying that he came to save them, but it's just local drunk Barney Gumble sloppily dressed as Krusty. Not fooled by the obvious impostor, Bart shouts out that it's not Krusty and everyone gasps. Mr. Black chuckles nervously and asks Bart if he thinks that he just put a clown suit on a drunk. Unfortunately for him, Barney, ruining what little illusion he had to be Krusty, talks trying to convince them that he's really Krusty (or rather, "Krunchy"), and then burps loudly. Finally fed up of being in complete Hell, Bart remarks that this isn't the first time Krusty had betrayed him, (he had been given a rapid heartbeat by Krusty brand vitamins, the Krusty brand calculator lacked keys and Krusty's autobiography was filled with lies) and rallies everyone up. They all begin to furiously chant that they wanted Krusty and start throwing things. The chant gets so strong, that even Barney starts to take part in it. Mr. Black turns to the bullies and angrily reminds them that they told him they'd broken their spirits and slaps them when they insist they did. Bart shouts "Let's Get 'Em" and the campers drive Mr. Black and the bullies to their hydrofoil. The campers destroy the camp while Bart frees the obese kids and Lisa gives the kids the mail that was kept from them. Finally, Bart takes down the Kamp Krusty flag and puts one up that says "Camp Bart", to the mild dismay of his sister who says they all agreed to call it "Camp Freedom". The scene cuts to Homer and Marge doing yoga which is interrupted by the news of the revolt to which Marge gasps. Channel 6 newscaster Kent Brockman arrives at the camp to report on the revolt. When Homer watches the live broadcast on TV and learns that the rebel leader is Bart, he instantly loses his newly-grown hair and instantly gains back his weight. Brockman says, upon arriving at the scene, that he has been to Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and that "without hyperbole, this is a million times worse than all of them put together."
Because of the camp crisis, Krusty is called back from Wimbledon in England and comes to the camp to apologize to the kids. At first, the children are doubtful that he's the genuine article, given the camp staff's attempt to dupe them earlier, but they realize he is who he claims after ripping off his shirt and looking at the marks on his bare chest. Bart asks Krusty how he could have ever allowed his name to be put on the camp. Krusty aptly falls to his knees and starts sobbing telling them that a "dump truck full of money" was brought to his house and he didn't have the guts to refuse the offer given to him. Bart then describes to him that the camp was a living nightmare and that they were fed nothing but gruel, forced to make wallets for export and one of the campers nearly got eaten by a bear. Krusty is horrified by this and tells Bart that everything is okay now and that he's going to make it all up to them by letting them spend the remaining two weeks of camp time with him at the happiest place on Earth: Tijuana. The kids and Krusty have fun together in Mexico, which is shown in a montage of pictures over the closing credits to Frank Sinatra's "South of The Border".
Behind the Laughter
As described in the DVD commentary, Kamp Krusty's script was suggested by James L. Brooks as a possible Simpsons movie. However, due to problems with making the story long enough for a 90-minute film, the idea was dropped.
Krusty the Clown Show Characters, Locations and Key Episodes