Recap / The Simpsons S 5 E 11 Homer The Vigilante

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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: Mmm, touche.
  • Affably Evil: 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.
  • Calling Card: The cat burglar leaves his business card at his crimes.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: At the end after everyone forgives Molloy, Chief Wiggum reminds them that he broke the law and the appropriate punishment is him going to prison.
  • 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: Molloy.
  • Food as Bribe: That's how Molloy bribes the Simpsons' dog into letting him rob them. Homer takes a similar bribe that night.
  • Gentleman Thief: Molloy.
  • Homage: The final few minutes of the episode are an homage to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
    • In fact, when they reach the "Big T," you can see the "Big W" in the background.
    • Also caricatures 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.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After the moment mentioned in Easily Forgiven:
    Wiggum: Oh, sorry folks. [sarcastic] Gee, I really hate to spoil this little love-in, but Mr. Malloy broke the law. And when you break the law, you gotta go to jail.
    Quimby: Uh, that reminds me, er, here's your monthly kickback.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: After people decide the Springfield Cat Burgler is not so bad after all and want him released from jail.
    Chief Wiggum: Oh, sorry folks. Gee, I really hate to spoil this little love-in, but Mr. Malloy broke the law. And when you break the law, you gotta go to jail.
    Mayor Quimby: Uh, that reminds me, er, here's your monthly kickback.
    Wiggum: You just...you couldn't have picked a worse time.
  • 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 first forms the militia, Marge is concerned about having guns in the house. Homer assures her that they know what they're doing, but he's repeatedly interrupted by the group's guns accidentally going off. And one of the members holding a rifle that went off accidentally is Bart.
    • When Homer was accused of sleeping on duty, he replied that instead of asleep, he was drunk.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder:
    Lisa: If you're the police, who polices the police?
    Homer: I dunno... Coast Guard?
  • 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".
  • Rule of Three: "Since the police can't seem to get off their duffaroonies to do something about this burglareeno, I think it's time we start our own neighborhood watch...aroonie!"
  • Shout-Out: When Homer and Skinner nod back and forth to each other, the theme to Dragnet plays.
  • Special Guest: Sam Neill as Molloy.
  • Spinning Newspaper: Used to show the cat burglar's crime spree... until the burglar takes it too.
  • 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!
  • Too Dumb to Live: Chief Wiggum has a handkerchief the cat burglar left behind during a robbery and is about to let a police dog smell it when he decides to use it to wipe some sweat from his face. Unsurprisingly, the dog attacks Wiggum.
  • 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.
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