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Recap / The Simpsons S 11 E 19 Kill The Alligator And Run

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Original air date: 4/30/2000

Production code: BABF-16

The Simpsons are going on spring break in Florida to hopefully cure Homer of his insomnia-induced insanity and fear of dying caused by answering a magazine quiz...but find themselves on the run from the law for running down the town's mascot, Captain Jack.


  • Anti-Humor: While in Palm Corners, the Simpsons stay at The Royal Fart Inn hotel. The young guests rearrange front sign to read "The Royal Frat Inn", instead. Most other writers would have set up the gag to be the other way around.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Simpsons hear the police bulletin about them that says "They're charged with gatorcide and defrauding an Amtrak snack bar.".
  • Artistic License Biology: Captain Jack has interlocking teeth like a crocodile, instead of an overbite like a real-life alligator.
  • As Himself: Charlie Rose, Robert Evans, Kid Rock and the late Joe C.
  • Baby-Doll Baby: Spoofed with Homer as part of his Sanity Slippage. His logic is that "a mother can't die, and I'm a mother," but he quickly appears to believe the doll is real.
    Homer: Well, why isn't my baby gaining weight?!
    Psychologist: Because it's made of plastic.
    Homer: I see.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The sheriff is a cruel man willing to allow innocent children (including an infant) to rot in prison for life because their father's crimes. His initial Reasonable Authority Figure is actually a lie; he's being paid by beer companies to turn the other cheek during spring break; once that's over, he'll be his true, evil self to criminals and their families.
  • Couch Gag: The Simpsons are barefoot and briskly walking across a bed of hot coals. When the family sits on the couch, they prop their feet up, revealing their black and smoldering soles.
  • Description Cut: After the sheriff tells the Simpsons that they are no longer welcome in Florida, Homer says, "Fine, there are plenty of other states that are happy to have us." Cut to Marge drawing an "X" through Florida on a U. S. political map, which shows every state also crossed out except for North Dakota and Arizona.
  • Deus ex Machina: The alligator being alive all along, allowing the Simpsons to go. To the Nth degree in the episode as-aired, which cut the scene explaining how the "dead" alligator wound up at the hotel where the Simpsons are waiting tables at a soirée.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Just as the Simpson Family evades being re-captured by the Sheriff with a train separating them, the car is suddenly struck by another train on a magically-appearing railway.
  • Disney Death: The alligator Homer accidentally ran over turns up alive and completely unharmed at the end.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Sheriff arresting the entire Simpson family and having them sentenced to life imprisonment for accidentally running over Captain Jack.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The sheriff is pretty "aw shucks" in attitude, but he has no problem arresting an entire family and sentencing them to lifetime imprisonment and using them as slave labor with the same lassitude.
  • A Fool for a Client: Homer defends himself and his family in court — and ends up getting everyone sentenced to hard labor in a chain gang, all because he opened with, "Drunken hicks of the jury..."
  • Going Native: Once the Simpsons accept a job at a swamp diner while hiding from the police, they quickly adapt to country life, complete with bumpkin dialect.
  • Green Gators: Real alligators are not as green as Captain Jack is.
  • Guilt by Association Gag: Despite the fact that only Homer ran over the alligator because he was driving the boat, the sheriff also arrests Marge, Lisa, and Bart because they were on the boat with Homer.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: It begins with the Simpsons going on vacation to cure Homer's insomnia, but halfway through the episode it becomes a story of the Simpsons' run from the law.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: A government inspector was about to give a passing score to Mr. Burns and the Nuclear Power Plant, saying "I can't find a single violation or employee acting strangely". That's when Homer shows up, unhinged from his breakdown.
  • Jerkass: The guy that whips Homer and Marge. Everything is whipping worthy to him. Including listening to a police officer trying to talk to them.
  • Karma Houdini: The Sheriff, his Assistant and the Judge are never shown to be punished for their actions.
  • Location Theme Naming: The two MTV VJs at spring break are called Sepulveda and Cienega, named after streets in West Los Angeles, California.
  • Madness Mantra: "Can't sleep, gonna die. Can't sleep, gonna die." (similar to the memetic "Can't sleep. Clown'll eat me." in "Lisa's First Word").
  • Mortality Phobia: Homer gets hit with this one hard, leading to increasingly weird attempts to prevent dying (even pretending to be a mother) throughout the first act.
  • Morton's Fork: When Homer gets told "No listenin', you hear me?", it's pretty obvious any answer would get Homer whipped.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Averted with Captain Jack.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Homer hates his psychiatrist's dad for a reason the man brought up during their session. Whatever it was he regrets mentioning it.
    • How the hell did the family get banned from 48 out of 50 United States?
  • Persona Non Grata: The Simpsons are not allowed to return to Florida ever again (even though they would return later in "Catch 'Em If You Can" and "Special Edna"). As of now, the only states they're not banned from are Arizona and North Dakota, which further complicates theories on where Springfield is, or if they're in one of those crossed out states, why they haven't been kicked out yet.
  • Random Events Plot: Most of the episode deals with various obstacles the family encounter while running from the law after seemingly killing a valuable Florida alligator. They're only in Florida in the first place because Homer came down with a bad case of Sanity Slippage due to Mortality Phobia after his death was predicted by a magazine quiz.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Subverted with the sheriff in Florida. He appears to be this at first when he hauls a drunk and disorderly Homer back to his hotel, chuckling that "boys will be boys." It turns out that he's paid to be reasonable during Spring Break: the rest of the time he's enough of an off-the-wall hardass to cuff Bart, Lisa and Maggie along with their parents and haul the whole family in for life imprisonment after their boat hits an alligator—notably without checking to see if the creature in question is actually dead.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: In a throwaway joke, Bart complains Homer's money isn't real, "it's printed by the Montana Militia!" Homer tells Bart "It'll be real soon enough!"
  • Running Gag: Homer constantly trying to turn whatever song's being sung at the moment to Starship's "We Built This City (On Rock and Roll)"
    • The café owner saying, "I like that." Culminates with:
    "Hey, you're stealin' my trailer!... I like that.
  • Sanity Slippage: Homer, as a result of insomnia brought on from a magazine quiz predicting he's gonna die (even Marge looked worried when she read the results). It escalates to Homer hopping around in a cowboy sleeping bag, completely naked, at the power plant while nursing a baby doll.
    Homer: A mother can't die, and I'm a mother.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The alligator being named "Captain Jack" is a reference to Leave It to Beaver, Marge even mentions that she wouldn't mind if the animal crawled up her toilet.
    • An MTV presenter having a jewel in her hand that lights up because it's her 25th birthday, leading to her being taken away and replaced by a younger presenter, is a parody of Logan's Run.
    • The evil warden with the mirrored sunglasses and a beef with Homer homages Cool Hand Luke.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are sentenced to life imprisonment by Florida for Captain Jack's (apparent) death only because they are Homer's children.
  • Special Guest: Diedrich Bader as the Sheriff.
  • Steam Never Dies: An unusual variation: the freight train and the Amtrak passenger train described in the below trope have diesel locomotives (the freight has what resembles an EMD GP7 or GP9, while the Amtrak train has an F40PH locomotive), but the sound of a steam locomotive whistle is used with them!
  • Take Our Word for It: The quiz results predicting Homer's death are apparently accurate enough that even Marge was freaked out when she read them.
  • Take That!: Mike Scully, John Swartzwelder, and Jen Kamerman must have deplored "We Built This City". When Homer sings it at the Kid Rock concert, he is immediately booed at, and when he sings it with his family, they quickly get annoyed.
    Homer: (singing) We built this city / This kickass city. (pretending to sing into a microphone) What kind of music / Built this city? (holds his pretend-microphone up to Lisa)
    Lisa: (half-heartedly singing) Rock and roll...
  • Train Escape: Just like in "Homer the Heretic", Homer manages to evade the sheriff by driving his car across a railroad crossing and just missing a freight train. But then it's a Double Subversion as it was revealed to be a double-track crossing, and the family ends up hit by an Amtrak train going the other direction.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The dialogue in Charlie Rose's interview with Robert Evans (other than the times Homer imagines them plotting to kill him) does make sense, but the subject matter is incredibly esoteric, to the point where Homer believes they're speaking gibberish.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Both the sheriff and his assistant take care of the Simpsons' sentence, and the assistant whips Homer for any reason he can find (such as saying any answer Homer gives is wrong — when Homer actually asks about this, the man says Homer is forbidden of listening anything) and use them as slave labor. Putting the whole family in lifetime imprisonment because of Homer's stupidity puts them here.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: In the final scene, the Simpsons' map has no indication of which state they live in. The only one not crossed out is North Dakota (after they are banned from Florida and Homer complains about Arizona smelling funny), and Lisa announces that they are on their way.
  • Working on the Chain Gang: Where the entire Simpsons family (including Maggie) end up after they are found guilty for the "death" of Captain Jack, the alligator.
  • Your Television Hates You: When Homer starts freaking out, he imagines Vincent Canby and Robert Evans both directly threatening him through the TV.