Crazy Noises: Kill the Alligator and Run

Kill the Alligator and Run1

“Florida?  But that’s America’s wang.” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (but not on “clusterfucktastic”, which is my new favorite word).

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week.]

Mad Jon: So, you ready to get this shitshow going?

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, let’s.

Mad Jon: Kill the alligator and run?

Charlie Sweatpants: Since I already had to suffer through watching it, yes, let the catharsis begin.

Mad Jon: Excellent. I would like to begin by complaining about the parking cone hat man.

Charlie Sweatpants: Gotta start somewhere.

Mad Jon: I used to think this one was relatively watchable, then I realized that every time I watched it, I was either fucked up or doing something else.

Because when you really sit down to pay attention, I don’t think there are many other episodes in seasons before or recently after this one, that Homer is less of a detriment.

Charlie Sweatpants: How do you mean?

Mad Jon: I’m glad you asked.

Between the quiz master bit, the insanity bridge, and the perpetual spring break, Homer could not have been more of a zombie character.

Additionally, unlike recent episodes, such as the missionary one, the background characters do absolutely nothing but set him up even further.

There is no other focus, no boundaries, (other than Marge futilely tying him to the bed) to offset his insanity

  He actually asks his therapist why his baby isn’t gaining weight.

Charlie Sweatpants: So you’re saying that since the rest of the episode is as bad as he is, Jerkass Homer can’t do much damage to something that’s already a wasteland?

Mad Jon: No, I am saying that this time everyone steps back and lets him salt the earth.

I am not saying the rest of the episode wasn’t terrible, because it was. I am just saying that usually there is at least a semblance of an obstacle.

  And I don’t count the sheriff here, because he only makes it worse. And he drags Joe C down with him.

  There is a scene in this one where Homer drinks from the giant 40oz and actually says, “All for Homer, All for Homer.”

Charlie Sweatpants: There is.

Mad Jon: How… no. I was going to ask how he got up there when the bouncers instantly stopped him from helping what he thought was a lost child. But I’ve decided against it.

  Sorry… I had to get that off my chest.

Charlie Sweatpants: All valid points.

  Except that I’ve always hated this one with a bright and burning passion.

Mad Jon: You are apparently a better man than I.

Charlie Sweatpants: I can’t be 100% sure of this, but I’m pretty confident that I’ve only even seen this one twice before, the first time it aired and then again on syndication once and only once. Today was the third time, and I have no desire for there to ever be a fourth.

Mad Jon: No. You should definitely avoid this one.

Like I said, I must have never been paying attention, or my brain was distracted by the joys of youth, because this is the first time I feel I was actually paying attention, and I am worse off for it.

Charlie Sweatpants: The only semi-memorable thing here, other than “America’s Wang”, is that it somehow manages to consistently get weirder and more boring as it goes.

  You’d think by the time you get to the family being surrounded by a ring of fire after having been put on a chain gang, you’d be numb.

And yet, then the alligator comes walking out a building where he apparently was, and the show manages to hit a new note of “what the fuck?”.

Mad Jon: Or “we never cared in the first place.” One or the other.

This is of course, after the family celebrates their survival of a high speed train crash by taking a nap.

  I think someone was pulling ‘action cards’ out of a hat by that point.

Writer 1: “How can we make train crash and group nap fit in the same 30 second clip?”

Writer 2: “Watch and learn rookie!”

Charlie Sweatpants: Ugh, that may not be far off.

Mad Jon: Writer 3:”Oooh, I promised my mom we’d work ‘We built this city’ in somewhere…”

Writer 2: “Waaayyy ahead of you.”

The only + sign I have in my notes is next to “America’s Wang”, as you mentioned earlier. I literally have nothing else positive to say.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, that was pretty much it for the positive column.

  Even without the increasingly batshit story, there just wasn’t anything at all decent or funny going on.

I mean, when you have lines like Kid Rock saying “Yo, let’s waste that beyotch”, the writing can’t be much worse, even in theory.

Mad Jon: What gets me the most, is that most of the episodes we hate from this season have at least a few lines that remain quotable. I just don’t see that here.

Charlie Sweatpants: And on top of that, all the set pieces are just awful. They can’t even have Homer pull over without dragging it out.

Mad Jon: Or get a job without trying to kill his new employer seconds later, or drive a boat without getting his kids to party, or take a quiz without thinking he’s going to die… it goes on from here.

Charlie Sweatpants: And on and on and on, individual scenes take forever, jokes take forever, even the fucking plot twists take forever as we have to have two entire scenes of them getting arrested.

Mad Jon: That’s right. Two.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Kid Rock concert, as you mentioned, makes no damn sense and drags out, what, four times, longer than it needed to?

Mad Jon: About that.

  It just, kept, going.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there’s Homer’s multiple freak outs at the beginning, each of which seems to take longer than the last.

Mad Jon: A pink shirt landed him in the loony bin once, and this gets him a trip to Florida.

Again, clusterfucktastic.

He was trying to breast feed a plastic doll.

Charlie Sweatpants: He was. And that scene features one of those awful details where you wonder if they’re being malicious or if they just don’t care.

I’m speaking, of course, of Burns going through what appears to be an honest inspection before sleeping bag Homer shows up.

  That’s the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, that it is filled from stem to stern with hideous safety violations is one of its most endearing features.

Mad Jon: Yeah, Burns wasn’t even trying to bribe the government official.

  What is this world coming to?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, they needed that time to have each Simpson patiently explain which diner job they were getting and why.

  Where would it be without those?

Mad Jon: Fair enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there are so many damn repeats here, Homer freaking out about being mortal is just one of them.

The whole opening is a half-assed redo of the Reading Digest opening from “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington”. They struck up Louie-Louie for the second time only this time it was unironic, and there was Homer speeding past the train, which was done without the goofy suspense in “Homer the Heretic”.

Mad Jon: Plus: Plant safety inspection that outs Homer, family takes on new existence to escape peril, and Homer gets involved in a music festival.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is as bad as anything the show has done in the last four seasons. (Well, maybe not anything, but still.)

Mad Jon: The anything is definitely debatable.

But that’s not a positive thing, now is it?

Charlie Sweatpants:  No, it is not a positive thing.

It features every problem Zombie Simpsons has, tramples on older, better episodes, and has a plot that resolves itself when an alligator comes back from the fucking dead.

They spun themselves into such a tizzy that they barely made fun of one of America’s most mockable states. That alone should’ve gotten this show cancelled around this time.

Anything else here?

Mad Jon: No. I am ready to move on.

I can’t even think of a witty transition. That’s what this episode has done to me.

7 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Kill the Alligator and Run”

  1. 12 September 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Yep, this is horrible alright. I saw this when it was new in the UK and I think it may have been the last one before I stopped recording them every week.

    I did like, “No listening, you hear me?” “Uh… No?” “You just don’t learn, do ya?” That and Homer’s gormless arms-aloft smile with Louie Louie. That’s i

    Possibly the worst one. This or Co-Dependents Day, for me.

    • 2 abra cadaver
      13 September 2012 at 10:09 pm

      Worst one.. hmm… IMO it’s something like this:

      1. That 90’s Show
      2. Co-Dependant’s Day
      3. Simpsons Safari
      4. Kill the Alligator and Run
      5. the episode from a season or two back where they tried to make fun of Mad Men
      6. 99% of the rest of Zombie Simpsons, combined

      This episode is just horrible, it’s kinda written the same way as Simpsons Safari, where things just kinda stop and start abruptly with no real flow beyond just being little vignettes. Just an anarchic pace, just erratic and all over the place, and just stupid.

      And like other people have said, the only thing I really like is Florida being America’s wang. I call it that all the time.

  2. 3 colonelcoward
    12 September 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I remember laughing at the part where Marge says “Take ’em off the glass!” and the “America’s Wang” line is funny. Other than that, yep, terrible episode.

    I would argue that the worst episodes come here, right before it turns into Zombie Simpsons. To take the analogy to its absurd extreme, it’s like we’re watching the final death throes as it violently turns from living to undead. By season 13, the show had pretty much settled into bland mediocrity.

  3. 4 Chris
    13 September 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I’ve always felt this was one of the worst episodes in the show’s history. It has everything I hate about what the show became; Homer is completely insufferable, it’s a vacation episode, and it features a hip-in-the-moment cameo from Kid Rock that served no purpose except to say, “look, we’re still cool!” The Simpsons trying to act hip is like your parents trying to act hip, it’s just embarrassing for everyone involved. The Simpsons wasn’t even that hip when it was hip, if you catch my drift. Seasons 6-8 had guest voices like Meryl Streep, Lawrence Tierney, Donald Sutherland and Jack Lemmon. Real hip, huh? But they actually added to the episode with their characters, which is a novel concept by season 12.

    I think this is the episode where they officially ran the “generic banner” joke into the ground. I actually liked that joke at first, when Homer is in a children’s library and the lady asks him if he goes to that school, which he replies with “go school” and a banner that just reads “School” on it. But that was the only time I found that joke funny. I think later it was “Midseason TV” or something, and then in this one it’s something like “Mental Institution.” Yes, thank you for ruining one of the few jokes you guys did that I actually found memorable.

    The plot to this one is such a hot mess, and is it just me, or were they really starting to rely on those opening set pieces that end up having little to nothing to do with the episode? It seems around this time, maybe starting in season 10, the template for a Simpsons episode became “start out with something unrelated to the overall plot, but somehow gets us from point A to point B.” The one with Mel Gibson, for instance, has them test-driving an electric car at first. To say that has nothing to do with what the rest of the episode became would be an understatement, but it did allow them to get tickets to a test-screening for Mel’s new movie. I just watched “Dog of Death” the other day, and it starts out with lottery fever in Springfield, which serves to drive home the point that the Simpsons are broke and can’t afford the dog’s surgery. Huh, an opening set piece that relates to the overall story.

    • 5 colonelcoward
      13 September 2012 at 5:47 pm

      This isn’t totally a “Zombie Simpsons only” thing. They did this in classic Simpsons too–most egregious being the trampoline/Brad Goodman episode. Even though the two don’t fit well from a storytelling standpoint, the writers did at least work hard to make the transition logical and believable, which is more than you can say for this one. But the main reason it works is because it’s so damn funny. When I’m constantly laughing, I’m not going to be bothered if the storytelling is a little weak in places.

      The fourth season was where the writers started letting the storytelling take a back seat to the jokes. Not that they ever had bad storytelling, but starting with the fifth season there were a lot more episodes where it feels like the story is there to serve the jokes. They were willing to do things that seemed a little illogical, or maybe take some shortcuts, as long as they could get a really good comedic payoff. The thing is, though, the jokes have to be really great for you to pull it off. But by this point they were putting LESS effort into the storytelling, and the jokes weren’t even very good most of the time. So the whole thing just comes across as lazy, if not insulting to the viewer.

      Another thing was that even if the writers took liberties with logic and storytelling, they were very careful to stay true to the characters, and preserve their emotional depth. But they started slipping away from this, I think, in Season 7. At this point the characters had mostly been reduced to one-dimensional caricatures that exaggerate the least subtle aspects of their former selves.

  4. 7 abra cadaver
    13 September 2012 at 10:16 pm

    As bad as this episode is, I think the idea of the family having to start a new life in Florida could’ve been interesting. But that whole thing just kinda happens and then ends. There’s not even a joke there.

    Swartzwelder supposedly wrote this script but he also said he didn’t know who Kid Rock is. How does that work? Most likely, his script had something completely different for that part, and the rest of the staff wrote the whole scene specifically for Joe C and Kid Rock. Which is lame though the whole episode is, of course.

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