Bart’s Dog Gets an F
I will not sell school property
Couch gag: Snowball and Santa’s Little Helper jump on the couch with the family
Director: Jim Reardon
Guest Voice: Tracey Ullman as Emily Winthrop, dog trainer
Synopsis: Lisa has the mumps and Santa’s Little Helper attends obedience school because he’s chewing everything in sight.
Discussion: Let me preface this by saying I was woken far too early this morning by my own dog. See, I live near a dog park and in summer, people like to walk their dogs insanely early in the morning to this dog park. My dog barks at them. A few things popped into my head as I was watching today’s episode, but did I think to write them down as I went along? Of course not! (Methinks I need a nap…)
We’ve all had dogs like Santa’s Little Helper, even if it’s only for brief periods. My dog, Jasmine, was a terrible puppy. Insanely cute, she would nibble on furniture, steal my underwear and hide under the lemon tree with them because she knew I couldn’t reach her there. Even now, if we leave food scraps lying around (i.e. easily accessible in the bin) she’ll wait til we’re in bed before helping herself. The barking thing, well, that comes with the territory (she’s a Maremma Sheepdog, that’s what they do).
But, I digress. Lisa’s mumps allows a subplot of making a Bouvier family quilt, which is then destroyed by the dog. The real turning point is when the dog destroys Homer’s expensive new shoes (Assassins, no doubt based on Nikes in the early 1990s. Even in Australia we wanted those shoes, but they were hideously expensive here, something around $300 if I recall correctly).
There are similarities between Bart and his dog. They are taught and taught and yelled at and disciplined yet don’t seem to get the message. But the episode wouldn’t work if Bart was the one doing the destruction- Marge and Lisa would never forgive him for ruining the family quilt (even if it was an accident). So despite the flaw where the dog has never behaved badly before this episode, the dog is really the only character capable of pulling this off.
In another cultural reference (and this episode is full of ’em), Dr Hibbert is sitting in his family home resembling a scene from The Cosby Show, which was airing opposite The Simpsons at the time. For more about the Cosby-Simpson battle, see the post from the first episode. Also keep an eye out for a brief mention of Ms Botz, who is apparently on the run again.