Lifetime of Simpsons

S28 E21 – Dogtown

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Well folks, we’re closing out our final full season of the Simpsons here on Lifetime of Simpsons. And what better way to end Season 28 than by having Springfield face yet another Apocalypse? This time it’s dogs!

And it all begins in a very surreal way, with Homer driving home in the opening sequence, only to suddenly become the episode. On his way home Homer runs into a lot of traffic, and decides to use a GPS app to find the best way home. And, of course, it doesn’t go well. The app takes Homer all over the town, getting him more and more lost until it points him down a sketchy alley. It’s a very tight fit, and he pretty quickly runs into trouble.

The alley gets really narrow at a point, and it seems like Homer is going to have to either his Santa’s Little Helper or Gil, both of whom are looking through trash cans in the middle of this alley. So, doing the only logical thing, Homer plows Gil over, saving his dear sweet dog. Unfortunately, that also means that Homer is now liable for getting in a car accident with a random pedestrian, and has to stop by his insurance agent to see how that’s going to pan out.

Not well, it turns out! The agent tells them that Gil can completely destroy them if he wants, and recommends going to visit him and smooth things over. So, the Simpsons head over to the hospital and find that Gil is in rough shape and completely planning to sue them into oblivion. They do their best to convince him to drop the whole thing, but he ignores them, and promises he’ll see them in court.

A little bit later we see the Simpsons and Gil at the court house, ready for what promises to be a really brutal battle. Everyone is convinced that Homer is going to lose this case, because obviously, and they just seem to be going through the motions. Until Homer gets up on the stand as a witness and says that he had no choice to hit Gil, because otherwise he’d have had to hit and potentially kill his dog, and he’d never do that.

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This realization really moves the jury, and they suddenly find themselves very sympathetic to him. Homer’s crappy lawyer picks up on this, and starts pushing things in that direction. They put Bart up on the stand to tell the story of how they got Santa’s Little Helper, and that really melts the jury’s hearts. Gil somehow has afforded the Blue Haired Lawyer, and he’s baffled by this defense, having no idea how to fight against it. And, eventually, the jury ends up finding in Homer’s favor, deciding that dogs are more important than people. Or at least Gil.

Homer and Santa’s Little Helper then become something of local celebrities, since this absurd case has really hit Springfield’s zeitgeist. People just start stopping Homer and Santa’s Little Helper in the street while on walks, drawing pretty massive crowds. And this eventually catches the attention of Mayor Quimby, who is always looking for popular things to latch onto and gain votes for. So, he sees the sudden outpour of love for dogs and switches some laws around to make Springfield the most dog-friendly town in America.

Springfield then becomes a paradise for dogs, letting them walk around freely, and basically become holy creatures that no one is allowed to bother or harass. Unfortunately, this quickly becomes a problem as packs of dogs begin milling around the town with no one able to stop them. Things even get to the point that the police arrest the local vet, Dr. Budgie, because he had the gall to poke and prod dogs. Budgie tries to warn them that bad things are about to go down, but the police just ignore him.

And, before you know it, Springfield has become a full-fledged dystopia with feral dogs wandering around everywhere, keeping the people of the town in constant fear. Everyone is spending more of their time inside to avoid the dogs, and even Santa’s Little Helper has abandoned the Simpsons to join the pack. Bart’s obviously dismayed by this, but there doesn’t seem to be any way around this, because the dogs are now in complete control.

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Eventually though enough citizens decide that they need to do something about the dog apocalypse, and manage to hold a Town Hall meeting to discuss their options. Dr. Budgie tells them that things are going to be very difficult, because the dogs have now made themselves the alphas of the town, and that they aren’t going to go back to the old ways very easily. But, they ignore that and decide that if they just repeal the laws everything will go back to normal.

They don’t! Things in Springfield are getting worse and worse, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone willing to be a hero. Until Gil shows up! He decides that this will be the perfect way to redeem himself, and he and Homer begin planning on a way for him to become the new alpha of the pack and restore humans to the top of the food chain.

Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa have become worried about Santa’s Little Helper, and start wandering the town with the protection of the Crazy Cat Lady to look for him. Eventually they come across the old dog park, and decide to check inside for their friend. Unfortunately they’re quickly surrounded by the pack of feral dogs, and are forced to climb up into a tree to hide from them.

Things look pretty dire, until they get sudden help from Marge, who has been out looking for them. She begins scolding the dogs, and comes face to face with the new alpha of the pack. Milhouse’s pathetic Chihuahua. But, Marge just kicks the dog, and becomes the new alpha. She then brings down the reign of the dogs and returns things to the natural order, just as Gil arrives and finds that his bad luck has kept him from being respected yet again. Marge then wanders the town, returning all of the dogs to their owners and returning things to the status quo.

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Okay, this is a really weird episode. I guess this episode is maybe a reference to the Hungarian movie White God where dogs take over a town, but who knows it may just be randomness. And I kind of dug it. The show hasn’t really been doing that well with emotional episodes, often just treading ground that I’ve seen multiple times before, and most of them have just fallen flat. So at least this episode actually gives me something that I’ve never seen from the Simpsons. We’ve seen Springfield thrown into chaos and brought to the brink of dystopia, but never from packs of wild dogs before! I feel like if it had focused even more on Santa’s Little Helper and Bart it could have been even better, but it was a fun and goofy way to finish the season out, and it worked for me.

Take Away: Dogs are worth more than people.

 

“Dogtown” was written by J Stewart Burns and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2017.

 

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