398. Stop or My Dog Will Shoot

(originally aired May 13, 2007)
So, in this episode, some stuff happened… yeah, this one certainly wasn’t as aggressively terrible as the last two, but I found it pretty damn boring. We open at a harvest fair set piece where the Simpsons get lost in a corn maze. They manage to get out, save Homer of course, who’s been a real joy to watch this whole first act. And by that, of course, I mean he’s been insufferably loud and obnoxious. Santa’s Little Helper picks up his scent and rescues him, which then springboards into him being trained as a police dog. He gets teamed up with Lou, and it becomes like a buddy cop movie, where he talks to him like he’s a human, and like he’s the renegade cop that needs to be talked down and told to take it easy. It sounds dumb, but I didn’t mind, it was actually kind of endearing. Also, Lou and Eddie are basically props at this point in the series, so it was nice to see one of them get some more screen time.

SLH becomes such a hardcore police dog, in a heated moment he bites Bart’s leg. I guess we’re supposed to feel sad for him and hope they reconciliation at the end, but I dunno. These shows feel so emotionally empty now; the era of “Dog of Death” was a long, looooong time ago. Bart gets a replacement pet, a deadly python, which none of the family objects to for some reason. He takes it to show-and-tell, it gets loose, knocks over some chemicals at the school, it’s evacuated, SLH rushes in and saves the day and makes up with Bart. Yawn. There’s a moment where the dog rushes in and nudges open Bart’s locker, and Lou understands that he misses his previous owner it pretty sweet. Hell, I’m more invested in their relationship than Bart and SLH, bizarrely enough. There’s a few token bits here that were kind of nice, but largely it was just a dull twenty minutes.

Tidbits and Quotes
– Homer is intolerable in the first act, with so many bits of him screaming that go on way too long: him trying to find the missing pine cone First Ladys, the endless bit of him thinking Marge wanted them to split up, getting electrocuted by the corn maze fence… Just leave him to die in there, I could care less at this point.
– More crummy cel-shaded 3D with the corn maze, where 2D characters are integrated in the CG rows of corn. It looks like crap. Also, Stephen Hawking is in the maze for some Godforsaken reason, in his third appearance. It’s strangely like Futurama in that he’s done three guest spots on both shows: the first being a larger part, and the latter two basically cameos. Except Futurama utilized him in a funny way all three times, and here, only his first I would consider good.
– I liked Bart’s dream of being rescued by SLH as Robocop, after he’d been cornered by Jason, Pinhead and a giant math book that bleeds out equations.
– How big is the Springfield Police Force? For new recruits, they have ten dogs, five horses and a dolphin. Considering the only police officers were see are Wiggum, Lou and Eddie, the force seems to have more animals than humans.
– I remember FOX marketed the episode solely on Bart getting the python; if the show isn’t focused on either Homer or Bart, they have to run promos featuring them heavily anyway. Also, Homer getting hurt is preferable, so every promo showed him getting strangled by the snake.
– Martin’s rabbit hopping inside the python’s gullet as it slowly gets digested into nothing as Bart stands by with a blank look on his face is a wonderfully grim gag.
– SLH drags Bart out of the building, just so Wiggum can snatch him and hog all the credit (“Hero cop saves boy! Hero cop saves boy!”) Remember two episode ago when he was urging him to commit suicide? I do. When did Wiggum become such a negative character?

6 responses to “398. Stop or My Dog Will Shoot

  1. In general, this is just a run-of-the-mill dull, late-period episode. There’s one minor thing that really bugs me, though. When the guy SLH helps get arrested gets free, it’s because of an improperly filled out police reports that is shown with paw prints on it. WHY THE GODDAMN FUCK WAS DOG FILLING OUT A POLICE REPORT?! HOW DOES THAT MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE WHATSOEVER??!! I mean, really, they couldn’t have thought of ANY other reason for the guy to get off? Like maybe he gets off due to some weird legal loophole? It’s just the silliest, laziest fucking thing ever.

  2. Yeah, Homer’s annoying in this episode. But luckily he’s not the focus of the plot. And hey, he does get strangled by the python in act three (though they had to ruin that gag by adding an obviously ADR’d “I’m okay!” while he’s on the floor- I guess we otherwise would’ve assumed the python killed him or something…).

    I like this one, although it goes without saying it doesn’t compare to the classic era. I think that can be assumed by default, really. But I did like how it focused on relatively minor characters and had an interesting premise (SLH getting hardened by fighting crime and taking out his anger of crooks getting away on technicalities towards Bart).

    My favorite bit was Wiggum gradually giving the class the whole week off (“Why did you let me do that? We are SO far behind!”).

  3. I didn’t see this one. Did Eddie get any dialogue? When’s the last time we’ve heard him speak? Lou is one of the better side characters in the later seasons, but I miss the team.

    • Eddie gets a few lines, but it’s mainly Lou’s time to shine. And yeah, I do miss seeing them out on the beat together, like in “Separate Vocations,” instead of just being Chief Wiggum’s joke enablers.

  4. This episode is one of the most boring ever, it seemed the longest 20mins of my life. It’s a weird episode too: there are many points where I felt a gag would have been funny, but it’s made in such a contrived way that they ruined it. And even Bart’s dream, which is okay, it feels more of a scene written by adults desperately trying to make it a classic childish Bart dream, but failing (a giant Math book? really too bland, and stupid, and not in a funny way)

  5. The 3D effects might not have been great, but I liked the first person sequences when SLH was searching for Homer in the corn maze. It was something unique for the show (though something they would do in the next two episodes too) and I appreciate it.

    With that said, the episode isn’t bad, but I agree it’s kind of boring. There just aren’t enough jokes to keep things going, though watching Lou and SLH is entertaining. I also liked Bart’s dream.

    The ending was so half assed though and reminded me of “The Canine Mutiny” (one of my least favorite episodes of the classic era).

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