Recap: The Simpsons S 5 E 11 Homer The Vigilante

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: 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.
  • Calling Card: The cat burglar leaves his business card at his crimes.
  • 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.
  • 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: Terry Molloy.
  • Homage: The final few minutes of the episode are a homage to Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
    • In fact, when the 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Special Guest: Sam Neill as Terry 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.