Instead, after a particularly brutal 'Roast,' Krusty turns to his father for guidance (at Bart's suggestion) about the course of his life. The Rabbi passes away in the middle of giving his son his opinion about his comedy career, saying only 'eh.'
There have been 'deaths' on the Simpson's before, most recently Edna Krabapple due to the real life-passing of Marcia Wallace who voiced her, but rarely have they focused so specifically on the different character's reactions to death.
Krusty is distraught over not knowing if his father ever approved of him, causing him to question his life choices and review his hackneyed career. He quits the show, binge-drinks (and other things) and generally falls apart before he tries his hand at charity work to 'do better' in honor of his father.
Lisa his haunted by the concept of losing a parent and begins a crusade for Homer to live a healthier and safer life. Bart turns to religion to try and help Krusty come to terms with maybe never knowing if his father loved or approved of him.
While keeping the humor, The Simpsons dug deep to find a way to show the range of ways people realistically deal with the death of a loved one and how to support grieving friends.
Still, it was a REALLY odd choice for a premiere episode - especially in light of the cray-cray crossover episode with Family Guy that followed at 9pm...