Episode - 1F09
First Aired - 1/6/1994
While the Simpsons sleep, their house is invaded by the Springfield Cat Burglar, who leaves a calling card in exchange for such valuables as Marge's pearls (even though Marge has a large ball of replacement pearl necklaces in a drawer), Bart's stamp collectionnote
and portable TV, and Lisa's saxophone. It's up to Homer and his newly-formed vigilante group to catch their man — if only they'd stop bullying everyone in town.
This episode contains examples of:
- Accidental Public Confession: While Homer might have thought he was being clever and using Confusing Multiple Negatives, it's really this trope.
Kent Brockman: Well, what do you say to the accusation that your group has been causing more crimes than it's been preventing?
Homer: Oh Kent, I'd be lying if I said my men weren't committing crimes.
Kent Brockman: Well, touche.
- Affably Evil: Terry Molloy. If it weren't for his stealing and, at the end, tricking everyone into going on a wild goose chase so he can escape prison, he'd just be affable. If anything, Springfield's attempts to deal with the cat burglaries cause more damage than he does.
- Big "NO!": Homer's reaction to Jimbo Jones quitting the posse to go to law school after he feels Homer let him down.
- Easily Forgiven: After Molloy was caught, he talked the citizens into forgiving him. The trope was subverted when, despite this, Chief Wiggum arrested him and he had to escape.
- Easy Come, Easy Go: Thanks to a house's laser system, Jasper regained his eyesight but lost it seconds after. He even mentioned the trope when he accepted the loss.
- Evil Old Folks: Terry Molloy.
- Gentleman Thief: Terry Molloy.
- Homage: The final few minutes of the episode are a homage to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
- In fact, when the reach the "Big T", you can see the "Big W" in the background.
- Also characters of IAMMMMW actors such as Phil Silvers, Milton Bearle, and Buddy Hackett start appearing in the crowd during this sequence.
- The scene of Bart tricking Phil Silvers into driving into the river is a direct homage to the movie.
- The Simpsons didn't have insurance because Homer spent the money on Magic Beans.
- Never My Fault: Homer hates the magic beans for him not having the money to pay for the insurance.
Marge: Ooh, stop blaming the beans!
- Noodle Incident: The story Homer tells at the dinner table: "So I says, 'Look, buddy, your car was upside-down when we got there. And, as for your grandma, she shouldn't have mouthed off like that!"
- Not Helping Your Case: When Homer was accused of sleeping on duty, he replied that instead of asleep, he was drunk.
- Riding the Bomb: When Herman shows Homer an A-bomb that was designed to kill beatniks, Homer not only imagines himself doing just that in a direct Dr. Strangelove parody, but also straddles the bomb in reality. Herman then directs Homer's attention to a sign posted nearby: "DO NOT RIDE THE BOMB".
- Special Guest: Sam Neill as Terry Molloy
- Suspiciously Similar Song: The cat burglar's musical theme is a copyright-friendly version of The Pink Panther theme music, and the final stretch of the episode features the trope applied to the music from It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
- Take Over the World: Homer's group wants to do this, though Homer denies as much.
- Take That: Homer and his group chasing down a street musician after he tells him he got his saxophone from Sears.
- This Is No Time to Panic: Subverted. Kent Brockman's initial report on the Springfield Cat Burglar — which suggests that mass murders may happen next, and that the burglar may be a Wolf Man — ends with him asking a professor if it's time for the town to panic over the matter. The professor says it is!
- Worst News Judgment Ever: Played for Laughs. While the cat burglaries are worthy of above-the-flap placement, the secondary story — "Man Marries Woman in Wedding Ceremony" — is less so.