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Recap / The Simpsons S 19 E 3 Midnight Towboy

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Homer becomes a tow truck driver while Marge makes Maggie more independent.


  • All There in the Script: Official FXX captions give the C.R.I.E. representative woman's name as Gerta.
  • Camp Gay: Homer attracts a whole group the very moment he makes the hook of the tow truck face him instead of away. When he corrects it, the gay group is disappointed and drives away.
  • Clingy Child: In the B-plot, Maggie becomes this and Marge is forced to seek outside help.
  • Compressed Vice: The typically independent and hyper-intelligent Maggie becomes a chronically Clingy Child to the point where Marge calls in a counselor, who works wonders by getting Marge to stop instantly responding to her crying. Pretty much all this does is provide a lead-up to Maggie's epic one-baby mission to rescue Homer so that it's not totally divorced from the rest of the episode—as we've seen before, this kind of heroic stunt is completely normal for her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • While Homer does go a bit crazy with his new job and tows vehicles that are breaking the slightest rules (including a school bus with the children still inside), the people of Springfield get revenge by tricking him into towing a car in Louie's area, leading to him getting kidnapped and needing to be rescued by Maggie.
    • Louie kidnapping tow truck drivers for working in his area (including one case where somebody wasn't aware they were still in the area).
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • During his search for milk, Homer seemed to have found a billboard about it but it was an acronym for "Mr. T is The Lion King".
    • C.R.I.E. "Creative Responses for Independent Edu-loving".
  • Groin Attack: In an unusual female example, Marge knees the female teacher in the crotch because the former was panicking over Maggie while the latter was holding her down so that she wouldn't intervene.
  • I Am Not Shazam: In-Universe, Homer tells his fellow prisoners a story about "a hilarious ogre named Shrek III." note 
  • Improvised Jet Pack: The bullies manage to create jet pack fuel out of a mixture of milk bought at the Kwik-E-Mart, Mentos, and lottery ticket scrapings, although it only creates enough thrust to make you hover about a foot off the ground, as demonstrated by Jimbo with two milk bottles full of fuel strapped to his back.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Louie looks a lot like his voice actor, Matt Dillon.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The people of Springfield who caused Homer to get kidnapped because he towed their vehicles (including Moe, Lenny, and Carl) never get found out or face any consequences aside from having to deal with people parking where they shouldn't.
    • Additionally, Louie never gets into any trouble for kidnapping tow truck drivers after Maggie rescues Homer.
  • Let's See YOU Do Better!: When Marge tried to browse the web to search for a solution for Maggie's clinginess, Bart and Lisa kept criticizing her navigating skills until she dared them to find a website. They quickly found one.
  • Literal Metaphor: "Crying over spilled milk" is an idiom that means to be upset over something bad that already happened and cannot be changed. In one scene, Homer literally cries over spilled milk.
  • Meaningful Name: "Guido"polis.
  • No Name Given: The teacher from C.R.I.E. who helps Marge with Maggie. The captions give her name as Gerta.
  • Partially-Concealed-Label Gag: Homer is driving around in search of milk, but none of the places he goes to have any. At one point, he sees a sign, partially obscured by a tree, which appears to say "MILK", but actually reads "Mr. T Is the Lion King".
  • Police Are Useless: Mayor Quimby explicitly claims that he hired Wiggum as police chief because he didn't want the towns laws enforced to the letter. No doubt to help with his own legal dealings.
  • Pun: When Homer becomes a tow truck driver:
    Ned Flanders: Top of the morning, Tow-mer.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: "Shut Up" Hug: From Maggie to Marge.
  • Title Drop: When Homer defends his new job to Marge.
    Homer: Marge, when you're married to a midnight towboy, you might not see him for days on end.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Flanders warned Homer about that. Homer threatened to use his power to kill whoever said that.