Posts Tagged ‘Kill the Alligator and Run

26
Sep
12

Compare & Contrast: Homer Parties Like It’s Freshman Year

Homer Goes to College10

“Now, the only antidote to a zany scheme, is an even zanier scheme!” – Homer Simpson
“Why does it have to be zany?” – Fat Nerd

Since the show had all but run out of ideas by Season 11, it’s no surprise that they had to start revisiting topics and concepts that they’d already done with increasing frequency.  And while most of “Kill the Alligator and Run” is a bizarre slideshow of the family leaping from one goofy, vaguely Southern situation to another, it gets there by transporting Homer to a raucous college party and having him run around with the drunken kids.  As it happens, Homer had tried to party with college students once before, in Season 5’s infinitely better “Homer Goes to College”.

As with so many comparisons between The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons, to really get to the heart of the matter you have to put aside most of Zombie Simpsons usual problems.  So, no, the trip to Florida doesn’t have anything to do with spring break, nor does it have much to do with Homer’s odd freakout at the beginning of the episode or the subsequent multi-act run from the law.  And, no, Homer getting down with the college kids doesn’t make any sense on its own either, from his getting to the beach with a bed tied to him to his bizarre antics at the Kid Rock concert to the sheriff happily looking the other way for Homer.  All of those typical Zombie Simpsons shortcuts distract from just how empty the comedy here really is, so while they exist and are a big part of what makes this episode so very unwatchable, they aren’t what makes their take on “spring break” so utterly empty, boring and unfunny.

On the surface, both “Homer Goes to College” and “Kill the Alligator and Run” have Homer acting like a jerk around college kids.  But if you look just a bit deeper, you can see that Zombie Simpsons wasn’t doing anything else while The Simpsons was using Homer for far more than just him running around and yelling.

Kill the Alligator and Run2

Homer yelling and running, there’s a lot of this.

The premise of “Homer Goes to College” was that Homer, in his infinite stupidity, thought that all those Animal House style movies about college are what life on campus is really like.  When he actually got there, he figured that the jocks would be constantly beating the nerds, that the dean was naturally out to get everyone, and that the rest of the students would feel the same way he did.  Homer being Homer, he couldn’t see that none of that was true, and instead tried to do things like take the nerds on a beer fueled road trip and prank a nearby school that no one else on campus even cared about.  The jokes come fast and heavy, but the main idea on which everything else rests is that Homer is wildly out of place and spectacularly wrong about what college is like.

By contrast, in “Kill the Alligator and Run”, Homer isn’t wrong about anything.  In fact, he’s exactly correct about what it is all those young people are doing.  Because of this, the episode is left with hardly anything to do but exaggerate the wildness on display and hope for the best.  That’s how it gets stuck with having Homer and some kids turn over the family car, Homer ride to the beach on the top of a van, and a Kid Rock concert that features a cartoonish, Acme-sized bottle of booze and the late Joe C being fired out of a makeshift slingshot.  Like their hapless fluffing of Lady Gaga earlier this year, this is Zombie Simpsons making something look awesome and mistaking that for satire.

So while Homer is behaving like an out of control jerk in “Homer Goes to College”, there’s a point to it, namely that Homer is doing his level best to fit in with the insane depictions of college in movies and teevee.  Homer isn’t just stumbling around because that’s what he likes to do, nor is he insisting on it because he’s an invincible cartoon character, he’s just got it in his head that zany schemes and pig abduction are par for the course.  He can’t comprehend that Dean Peterson (but you can call him Bobby) isn’t some crotchety old jerk who hates fun, or that the students don’t think it’s funny that the professor dropped his notes.  He doesn’t even realize the nerds are nerds until his family tells him.

The Jerkass Homer in “Kill the Alligator and Run” is just and only that: Jerkass Homer.  He’s not interested in acting out some strange media portrayal, he just wants to run around and scream and drink for the sake of running around and screaming and drinking.  So when it ends, he just keeps it up, dragging his family along for the ride.  It’s the difference between this (which, let’s remember, is just the starting point for more insane adventures):

Kill the Alligator and Run3

And let’s not even wonder where he got the airboat or why the rest of them are going along with this.

And this (which is a movie parody and occurs at the end of the episode):

Homer Goes to College9

And, once again, Homer learns nothing.

12
Sep
12

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.




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