The Entertainment Movies section of Today’s (May 9) Time magazine introduces the Hollywood version of the children’s book, “The Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” under the title, “Watch The Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day trailer” with sub-headline:

The worst day of your life apparently includes car crashes, fires, alligators and kangaroos http://time.com/92987/alexander-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day-trailer/

Though it seems a humorous and creative combination, is “alligators and kangaroos” a set, or frequently used phrase to describe an encounter with unexpected, shocking and ominous things? Can we replace it with other creatures at will, say, rabbit and bear, rhinoceros and tiger, and snake and carpenter bee?

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    The only really common animal pairings include cats and dogs, cat and mouse, and a few one-offs, such as ant & grasshopper, owl & pussycat, tortoise & hare, and lions & tigers & bears (oh, my!). :) Commented May 8, 2014 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


No, this is not a common phrase.

They're saying alligators and kangaroos because the trailer for the movie literally contains alligators and kangaroos.

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    I'd add to that, the inclusion of 'alligators and kangaroos' adds a feeling of surprsises to the sentence, as these things are quite unexpected, unless you're a zoo keeper.
    – dwjohnston
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 21:44

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