Kill the Alligator and Run
"Kill the Alligator and Run" is the nineteenth episode of the eleventh season of the American animated television sitcom The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 30, 2000. In the episode, Homer suffers from a nervous breakdown after taking a quiz that reveals he only has three years left to live. To calm himself down, he and the rest of the Simpson family go to Florida for vacation. There, they end up in the middle of a raucous spring break. Homer joins in on the party and ends up getting himself and his family in trouble for killing the state's beloved mascot – an alligator named Captain Jack. The Simpsons run from the law and take jobs at a small restaurant while hiding from the police.
Diedrich Bader guest starred in "Kill the Alligator and Run" as a sheriff that tries to arrest the Simpson family, while Robert Evans and Charlie Rose guest starred in a scene in which Homer watches the two in an interview on television. Kid Rock and Joe C. also made guest appearances as themselves in the episode, performing at a concert in Florida that Homer attends. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Jen Kamerman. According to The Simpsons showrunner Mike Scully, it is despised by many fans of the show particularly for having an outlandish plotline. The reception of "Kill the Alligator and Run" by critics has been mixed to negative. Around 7.46 million American homes tuned in to watch the episode during its original airing. In 2008, it was released on DVD along with the rest of the episodes of the eleventh season.
Homer gets a magazine loaded with personality tests and quizzes his friends and family with them. Later on, he takes his own test which reveals that has only three years left to live. Terrified of his supposedly impending death, he develops insomnia and goes insane. Homer visits the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's psychiatrist, who suggests that he take a long vacation. The Simpsons go on a trip to Florida and find themselves in the middle of a raucous spring break when they get there. Marge wants Homer to stay in his hotel room, but he escapes to party and attends a concert featuring Joe C. and Kid Rock. Homer becomes the life of spring break until it ends and the wild college students return to their studies.
Homer, who still wants to party, rents an airboat and forces his family to come with him. He races through a swamp, accidentally killing the state's most famous resident and reptile – an alligator named Captain Jack, whom Marge, Maggie, Lisa, and Bart saw on a tour earlier while Homer made a fool of himself at the concert. A sheriff quickly arrives on the scene and despite the fact that Homer is the sole guilty culprit, the entire family is charged for killing the alligator. The family members flee from the sheriff and during a car chase they are hit by a train that pushes their car on the rail for several miles. When the Simpsons get off of the rail, they escape to a restaurant where they are given employment. They live in a nearby trailer and progressively turn into hillbillies. The sheriff eventually tracks them down and kidnaps them while they are sleeping. For their crimes (and Homer's foolish attempt at defending himself in court), the family is put into forced labor. One night when they are working at a party held by a judge in front of the capitol, tending to the guests (and failing to escape), Captain Jack strolls out of the capitol's doors. It turns out that he was never dead but rather knocked out. The family is acquitted, though they are banned from entering the state of Florida again (and several other states, excluding Arizona and North Dakota).
"Kill the Alligator and Run" was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Jen Kamerman as part of the eleventh season of The Simpsons (1999–2000). When the animation department finished its work on the episode, it had ended up being about four minutes too long and the staff of the show was forced to make some difficult cuts. One scene that was cut saw Captain Jack lying in state at the capitol in Florida, with Kid Rock being one of the people present to pay their respects to the alligator. The Simpsons showrunner Mike Scully has expressed regret for cutting this scene out because it "hurts the logic" later in the episode when Captain Jack crawls out of the capitol and reveals himself to everyone, without any explanation to how he got there.
Actor Diedrich Bader guest starred in the episode as the sheriff. The Simpsons producer Ian Maxtone-Graham directed Bader during his recording session, telling the guest star to do a Southern accent. The episode also features guest appearances from talk show host Charlie Rose and film producer Robert Evans as themselves. Evans and Rose appear in a scene at the beginning of the episode, when Homer stays up late and watches television because of his fear that he might die in his sleep. Rose is seen interviewing Evans on the television, and as they are talking about Evan's film Love Story, Rose says: "And the critics loved it, too. I remember Vincent Canby said, [turns to the camera] 'I'm going to kill you, Homer. You are so dead.'" The last part is imagined by Homer, who has become incredibly sleepy. Later in the interview, when talking about his unsuccessful film The Two Jakes, Evans says: "I said to myself, 'Evans, you forgot Hollywood Rule No. 1: [turns to the camera] Kill Homer Simpson.'"
Musicians Kid Rock and Joe C. guest starred in the episode as themselves, performing at the annual spring break concert that Homer sneaks out to attend. When Joe C. makes his first appearance on stage in the episode, Homer mistakes him for a child that has lost his parents. After performing his song "Bawitdaba", Kid Rock tells the audience that he is going to pour out forty gallons of malt liquor on the curb as a way of showing respect to his homies that could not make it to the concert. When Homer hears this he starts to drink the malt liquor. Just as Kid Rock and Joe C. are about to stop him by hurling Joe C. (now wearing a spiked helmet) at him with a slingshot, the sheriff arrives and settles the situation. Scully said in an interview with the Detroit Free Press that the staff of the show chose Kid Rock and Joe C. for the episode because the two "have a lot of stage presence" and visually are "a funny combination," and because the staff thought "they would be funny playing off Homer." According to Scully, the two musicians "had a great sense of humor [...] about themselves," with Kid Rock asking if "he could add a couple of his own lines. He wanted to introduce himself as 'the pimp of the nation.' We kept that in the show. It's quite a title." Kid Rock recorded some of his dialog over the phone, but also paid a 45-minute visit to the Simpsons studio in Los Angeles to record lines. Scully thought it looked like the singer enjoyed the experience and was surprised to see that he arrived on time. "My first reaction to that was, 'What kind of rock star is this?'," Scully jokingly told the Detroit Free Press. All of Joe C.'s lines were recorded over the phone.
The episode originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 30, 2000. It was viewed in approximately 7.46 million households that night. With a Nielsen rating of 7.4, the episode finished 46th in the ratings for the week of April 23–30, 2000. It was the third highest-rated broadcast on Fox that week, following an episode of Malcolm in the Middle (which received an 8.2 rating) and an episode of The X-Files (which received a 7.7 rating). On October 7, 2008, "Kill the Alligator and Run" was released on DVD as part of the box set The Simpsons – The Complete Eleventh Season. Staff members Mike Scully, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, Matt Selman, Julie Thacker, and Steven Dean Moore, as well as cast member Dan Castellaneta and guest star Diedrich Bader, participated in the DVD audio commentary for the episode. Deleted scenes from the episode were also included in the box set.
According to Scully, "Kill the Alligator and Run" is often cited by fans of The Simpsons as one of the worst episodes ever because of its structure and outlandish nature. Scully has said that the episode is "kind of three stories in one." Meyer, a writer and producer on the show, said in the DVD audio commentary that the fans thought it was "kind of a frenetic and crazy, chaotic episode," adding: "I can't disagree. But we had a lot of fun writing it, and we stand by it." While reviewing the eleventh season of The Simpsons, DVD Movie Guide's Colin Jacobson commented on the episode, writing: "Wow – this may be the most jumbled Simpsons to date! The episode seems to suffer from ADD as it can’t focus on any topic for very long. It flits from one gag to another with abandon and rarely makes much sense – or produces many laughs. Yeah, it has a few amusing moments, but it’s too scattershot to succeed." Annie Alleman of The Herald News, on the other hand, named "Kill the Alligator and Run" her eighth favorite Simpsons episode. Nancy Basile of About.com thought the best scene of the episode is the one where the Simpsons have become hillbillies and are sitting on their porch, and Bart says "I'm getting used to this country life. Teacher says I'm whittling at a tenth-grade level." Corey Deiterman of the Houston Press listed Kid Rock at number one in his list of the top five worst musical guests in Simpsons history.
- Alberti, John (2004). Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture. Wayne State University Press. p. 323. ISBN 978-0-8143-2849-1.
- "Simpsons – Kill the Alligator and Run". Yahoo! TV. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- Scully, Mike. (2008). Audio commentary for "Kill the Alligator and Run", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Bader, Diedrich. (2008). Audio commentary for "Kill the Alligator and Run", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Maxtone-Graham, Ian. (2008). Audio commentary for "Kill the Alligator and Run", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- "The Simpsons Episode: 'Kill the Alligator and Run'". TV Guide. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
- Jane, Ian (2008-11-01). "The Simpsons – The Complete Eleventh Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
- Swartzwelder, John; Kamerman, Jen (2000-04-30). "Kill the Alligator and Run". The Simpsons. Season 11. Episode 19. Fox Broadcasting Company.
- Duffy, Mike (2000-04-30). "Doh! Kid Rock hangs out with Homer". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on 2003-10-06. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- Jacobson, Colin (2008-11-19). "The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season (1999)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
- Associated Press (2000-05-04). "ABC, NBC dead even in prime-time ratings". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
- Meyer, George. (2008). Audio commentary for "Kill the Alligator and Run", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Alleman, Annie (2003-02-13). "'Simpsons' – favorites from a classic favorite". The Herald News. p. D1.
- Basile, Nancy. "'The Simpsons' Summer Vacations". About.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- "The Five Worst Musical Guests In Simpsons History". http://blogs.houstonpress.com. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
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