Oh man. A crazy episode full of weird Disney references that gets a surprise Mr. Burns plot? Hell yes. This episode is clicking a lot of my buttons.
Things start off with Kent Brockman giving a news report in their new studio that has a big open window in the back like the Today show where the stupid townsfolk can gather around and be on TV. Kent talks about a rhino that escaped from the zoo being caught, just as another completely different rhino shows up and starts brutally goring the idiots outside the window, which is genius. But this episode isn’t about rhinos, and things actually get started right away, because while Bart is watching the news, everyone else shows up to complain about how all of their stuff is being destroyed, and they logically assume it’s Bart. But we quickly see it isn’t Bart, it’s actually Santa’s Little Helper, who is going absolutely crazy with energy, even when Bart and Lisa try to tire him out for a full day. He rips up all of their belongings, and digs up a bunch of annoying things Marge has buried. And things really get bad when he steals the cable TV cable, and starts ripping it out for all the houses in the neighborhood, leading to one of my favorite scenes of all time, and one that made my parents temporarily ban the show from my childhood eyes:
TV Announcer: [pleasant voice] “Your cable TV is experiencing difficulties. Please do not panic. Resist the temptation to read or talk to loved ones. Do not attempt sexual relations, as years of TV radiation have left your genitals withered and useless.”
Chief Wiggum: [peering under the covers] “Well, I’ll be damned.”
So without any other ideas, the family brings Santa’s Little Helper to a pet store, hoping that the experts there can help figure out why he’s so restless. And luckily the clerk there can do a super rare canine/human mind-meld, and is able to tell the family that they can fix his anxiety by buying him all sorts of stupid and expensive crap. So they do that, and as they’re driving home with all their booty, Santa’s Little Helper freaks out again, and ends up jumping out of the window, running back to the greyhound race track that Homer and Bart found him at. The family gets over to the track and start looking for Santa’s Little Helper, which quickly just becomes Homer gambling. He bets on a dog named “She’s the Fastest” and the family goes up in the stands to watch the race, and I guess pretend to looks for Santa’s Little Helper. And when the race begins we see She’s the Fastest get out into the lead. Unfortunately her win is ruined when Santa’s Little Helper comes out of nowhere and starts mating with her, leading to a truly great Bart line: “looks like he’s trying to jump over her but he can’t quite make it. C’mon boy, you can do it!” The crowd and her owner are pretty bummed about this, but the Simpsons find it adorable, and they end up taking her home.
And then the Disney stuff starts. The two dogs walk around Springfield like they’re Lady and the Tramp, getting steaks from local businesses, like the video rental place. They also hit up Luigi’s and get spaghetti that fell on the floor, which leads them to do the spaghetti kiss, before snarling at each other in fury. We then jump ahead in the story as Bart complains about how lazy Santa’s Little Helper is since his bitch moved in, and then is shocked to see a puppy “fall out” of She’s the Fastest. Apparently she’s not fat, she’s pregnant, and starts to give birth to a whole litter of greyhound puppies. And after hours of labor, she ends up giving birth to 25 new puppies, who are given ridiculous names: Rover, Fido, Rex, Spot, River II, Fido II, Rex II, Cleo, Dave, Jay, Paul, Branford, Dave II, Jay II, Paul II, Branford II, Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy, Donner, Blitzen, Grumpy II, King, Queenie, Prince, and the Puppy Formerly Known as Prince.
We then get to see the family deal with this pack of dogs they’ve gotten, and it’s great. They all sit there watching TV while yelling at Snowball II for not being as adorable as the dogs. But the love affair is pretty brief, because they get terrible, quick. They eat all of Bart’s socks, they sneakily eat Homer’s potato chips, and they’re so gross they require the family members to wear flea collars. And at that point Marge and Homer suggest getting rid of the puppies, which leads to a wonderfully sad scene when Lisa yells about getting rid of family members when they’re bothersome, and we cut to Grandpa sitting alone in his room at the Retirement Castle, answering a phone that didn’t ring in hope for a conversation. So they decide to keep the puppies until they do something bad.
And right on cue Marge tells them that they’re getting ready for a big dinner party with Reverend Lovejoy, the regional director of the IRS, and a drill sergeant that apparently was in charge of Homer when he was apparently in the Army. And, as you would expect, things go wrong and it’s all the puppies fault. They somehow got inside the turkey that was being served, and pop out onto the table, infuriating everyone who showed up. So Homer and Marge get ready to give away the puppies. And lots of people show up to get puppies, but they quickly find that they don’t want to be separated, and freak out when people try to take them away. Which raises a problem, since no one is going to want 25 puppies, right? Wrong! Mr. Burns shows up and tells them that he would gladly take all of the puppies, which raises some red flags for the family. They decide to tell Mr. Burns that he’s not allowed to have the puppies, and he acts completely fine with that, while immediately stealing the puppies when the family isn’t watching.
The family is then at a loss for who could have possibly stolen the puppies, and call the police. Chief Wiggum is of course not helpful, but he does mention the fact that Mr. Burns has gotten 25 new puppies, making Bart and Lisa suspicious. So they head off to Burns’ mansion and peep in on the old billionaire, only to find him lovingly bathing and taking care of the puppies. They get confused, especially when they see Burns loving one of the dogs who stands up like Rory Calhoun, naming him Little Monty. But Burns reveals his true colors right away, and Bart and Lisa find out that he isn’t going to love the dogs, his plan is to kill them and make a tuxedo out of their skin, because of course Mr. Burns has turned into Cruela DeVil. He then sings the amazing “See My Vest” song, a parody of “Be My Guest,” that’s about all the horrible animal clothes he has.
Bart and Lisa decide that this warrants them breaking and entering, so they get into the bathroom where the puppies are, and try to steal them back. Bart originally plans on throwing the dog out the window, thinking they’ll land on their feet, but instead they get the puppies to go down a laundry chute that’s in the bathroom. So Bart, Lisa, and the puppies go down the chute, and end up in a pretty lackluster laundry room, only to run right into Burns and Smithers, who apparently teleported down there. Burns takes out a gun and threatens to kill all the puppies but Little Monty, so Bart grabs him and sticks him with the other dogs to confuse Burns. This doesn’t work since Little Monty can stand up, so Bart makes some socks that are hanging on a clothesline hang over the dogs so they all stand up, leaving Burns with no other option than killing all the dogs and Bart and Lisa. But he has a change of heart, and agrees not to kill anyone, and instead uses the dogs to become champion greyhound racers, earning him even more money. We then end on the ridiculous joke where it looks like Homer has hung himself since he lost the award-winning dogs, but he’s actually just hanging from a support beam and playing with a light bulb.
This episode is a lot of fun. It’s got a bunch of weird Disney references, which I always enjoy, and the whole idea is just so goofy. The family getting an army of puppies from this mysterious female dog who never shows up again could be its own fun plot, but then we get a Mr. Burns third act, which is always a good thing. I love the idea of Mr. Burns being the Cruela DeVil of the story, and it his “See My Vest,” song is one of my favorite Simpsons songs of all time. Just so goofy and wonderful.
Take Away: If you get a litter of puppies, keep them, because they may make you rich!
“Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” was written by Mike Scully and directed by Bob Anderson, 1995.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons