618. Dogtown

Original airdate: May 21, 2017

The premise:
Mayor Quimby passes dog-friendly legislation to attract tourists to Springfield, but these ultra-lenient laws result in all the dogs in town eventually turning feral.

The reaction: Regarding the premise, I find myself reminded of the Otto line, “What were you guys smoking when you came up with that?” Seeing as the writers are presumably big Rick & Morty fans, this feels like their version of “Lawnmower Dog,” except exponentially worse. As with some episodes (although fewer and farther between nowadays), there’s a good idea buried in there somewhere. The plot kicks off in a court case after Homer hits Gil with his car in an alley. His excuse was his brakes failed, and ultimately he had to hit either Gil or Santa’s Little Helper. Homer is let off thanks to the jury, and everyone else’s immediate sympathy toward the situation and undying love for dogs (and Gil’s hatred of the animals). That people would care more about a lovable mutt than a pathetic schmuck eating out of garbage, and then let dogs get away with anything because they’re so darn cute, that idea I think has potential. But it’s not as developed as it could be, in favor of having character reiterate things again and again, much like how I make this point in every single review. Do they think the audience has fucking Alzheimer’s that we need to reinforce what the plot is three or four times a show? So all of Springfield’s dogs are just wandering around, and eventually without having to respond to their human masters, they all turn feral and start attacking people. So now it’s like “Night of the Dolphin” from Treehouse of Horror XI, except this is a “real” episode. In an act of redemption, Gil proposes he’ll save the day, but in the end, he doesn’t. It’s like they just forget about him, but not in a way where it was purposeful. Just… whatever. Not to say this premise couldn’t work in a somewhat grounded fashion, but they certainly don’t have the ability to pull it off here. It’s like a Saturday morning cartoon premise. Or that of a popular adult animated comedy they just lifted it from.

Three items of note:
– There’s a pretty astounding joke that happens midway through that boggled my mind a bit. Santa’s Little Helper crawls halfway through the doggie door, exhausted from his new unchained life. This prompts Homer to hold up Snowball II and attempt to get the cat to grab onto its collar, despite her struggles and attacking him, as Bart and Lisa look on. This goes on for literally fifteen seconds, and I was really confused. I couldn’t tell what was happening, and why we were devoting so much time to this. Eventually, Homer succeeds in his mission, all so he can smugly proclaim, “Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in.” Bart and Lisa comment, dead-eyed, “Worth it.” “Totally worth it.” I can’t tell if they’re being sarcastic or not. But in case there were any niggling doubts, no. No, it was not worth it.
– Despite Santa’s Little Helper being featured throughout, Bart isn’t really that involved in this episode. You’d think there’d be a scene of him being grateful his dad didn’t hit him, or he would have more screen time worried about SLH and where he is and how they’re disconnected now, but not so much. The ending involves he and Lisa going out after dark to look for him, and ending up being cornered by a feral pack. They’re saved by Marge, who becomes the alpha dog by standing up to the crowd of mutts, and drop-kicking their leader chihuahua clear out of the dog park. She just straight up kicks the shit out of that dog. It’s not even framed like the dog was a legitimate threat to the kids so her motherly protection instincts kicked in, she just sort of stared the dog down, growled at it, and then knocked it the fuck out. This reminds me of a Thanksgiving episode of Bob’s Burgers with a similar ending, featuring the town being overrun by turkeys, and Linda becoming the alpha by headbutting their leader, which was infinitely more enjoyable, and made my fiancée almost pee herself with laughter.
– I guess Michael York had time to kill on the FOX lot, because this is the third time we’ve seen his veterinarian character this season, in addition to playing that creepy fuck Nigel in this episode. He’s got a good voice, and I feel like I would really enjoy his performance in a totally different show with a script that actually has jokes and is well written. Is that asking a lot?

One good line/moment: Hey, not BLANK! At an emergency meeting at City Hall, all of the townspeople are fed up with their dog-infested town. Sideshow Mel addresses the crowd, and we see that his hair is sans bone. And, this is the shocker, he never acknowledges it. They just let a sight gag go by without explicitly pointing it out or anything! It’s a freakin’ miracle!

And there it is. Every episode has been covered… at least for now. It’s pretty incredible timing that I finished just in time for the dawn of season 29. So, will I be continuing on to covering new episodes? Well, I’ve gone this far, so I guess I can’t stop now. Yes, so much of this ground has been covered, yes, I find I end up repeating the same points several times over, and yes, this is basically self-inflicted torture at this point, but a tiny sliver of me is still interested in how much lower this show can possibly go. I’ve been especially stunned by this past season, containing episodes I can honestly say are the absolute worst, maybe even some of the worst narrative television I’ve ever seen (“Friends and Family,” “There Will Be Buds,” “Dad Behavior,” “Fatzcarraldo,” “Kamp Krustier,” “The Caper Chase,” “Moho House”)


25 responses to “618. Dogtown

  1. Congrats on covering every episode (until the next season starts). You deserve an award for ploughing your way through hundreds of episodes of utter shite. Here, have a cake: http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/233/994/fd3.jpg

  2. Have you ever thought about going back to your other blogs like Disney or Dreamworks.

  3. I’m glad you’re going to keep going. Many people have done something like this, but you actually finished. And when all is said and done, this blog will stand as the fullest episode-by-episode critical analysis of the Simpsons ever done.

  4. Congrats on reaching this point. I still remember you quitting the blog twice on frustration, but eventually you kept going.

    Now that the blog is going to be updated more sparsely, I’d love to see you go back to your other blogs, specially Dreamworks (you stopped just when the studio was starting to get interesting).

  5. Congrats! Now, why not treat yourself with some Futurama? 😉

  6. It must be weird for you to come back to watch the new episodes every Sunday. Will it be the first time since “The Great Wife Hope”?

    “The Serfsons” sounds interesting, and I liked the promos I saw, but it will probably be another splendid “parody” with an emphasis on references rather than coherent history.

  7. Hopefully civilization as we know it outlasts The Simpsons so I can read your finale post.

  8. I’m surprised you hated “There Will Be Buds” as much as you did (not to say I’m surprised you disliked it, mind you.) Due to several positive notices, it was the first new episode I had seen in eight years. I mainly found it uninteresting, but it at least stayed on track storywise and had a couple laughs. Still, watching it was depressing because of how worn the show felt. Character voices that were sounding strained in 2008 were now practically unrecognizable. The whole plot of “Kirk tries to be Homer’s friend but Homer doesn’t like it” felt like something they pull out of a display marked “In case of no fresh ideas, break glass.” Then, there’s the whole “we’re edgy because we take jokes from the cow that Family Guy and South Park milked dry around 2006” with Kirk apparently being a Truther.

    Then, I tried to play along reading this blog with one episode per season. The ones I landed on were the World Cup one, “The Kids Are All Fight,” and “The Girl Code.” Each one was awful and had multiple instances where I questioned whether it was worth it to keep watching. A 22-minute comedy should not feel like a chore. I’ve seen scattered episodes of Family Guy in the last couple years that have been ten times funnier and more coherent plotwise than those episodes. “The Simpsons Guy” was actually funny at times.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize The Simpsons has never-ending value as a property, both commercial (obviously) and artistic. Like, even if the show has used up every possible plot idea (and they seemingly have) it doesn’t have to be this bad. Having Al Jean run things since the start of Bush Jr.’s first terms has clearly put it in the worst rut imaginable, and Matt Selman just provides the illusion of a respite from that blandness. Again, I say this having only seen four episodes since 2008, but I know I’m not just stumbling upon the “lesser” episodes.

    Even if the show is announced as ending with the 30th season (which I’ve heard talk about), it won’t stick. I can see it coming back in five years, with a whole new voice cast, written by outsiders who want to start fresh. It should’ve been euthanized no later than right after “Behind the Laughter,” but if this show is surely going to continue on forever, why not give it some freshness?

  9. If there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s network television’s constant decline in quality.

  10. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Inspired by your blog, I started my own “reviewing every episode from beginning to end” blogs a few years ago, first with Ren & Stimpy and later with Excel Saga. It was fun to do, even when an episode sucked.

  11. I’ve seen people call this episode the worst of the entire franchise and I just can’t agree with it. Oh sure, it’s not a good episode, in fact, it’s down right stupid. However, being stupid doesn’t qualify you as being the worst. I’m not even sure this episode would make my top 20 worst episodes list.

    Now with that said, I do have to disagree with you on one aspect Mike, I loved the “Look what the cat dragged in” joke. It was the only time in the entire episode both myself and my g/f were laughing out asses off. I do agree it went on for too long though.

    Anyway, this episode did make me start to consider those theories about Homer being in a coma though. I’m not sure why it took this long to think about that theory, but it did.

    Now with that said, I have been going back and forth as to whether or not I want to watch Season 29, but if you are going to be reviewing them, I might as well so I will know what you are talking about. With that said, I just finished Season 3, so I will be posting on the episodes I have yet to read your reviews on later.

  12. I just watched it. Awful episode. And did anyone notice Poochie in the bit with all the dogs?

  13. Oh fucking hell man, DO NOT WATCH SEASON 29’S PREMIER!!!!!!!

    • Episodes like that one edge other gimmick episodes like “Simpsons Tall Tales” closer & closer to classic gold status in my mind.

      • Kaiju no Kami


      • Bleeding Gums Murphy

        Everytime I choose to watch a Zombiesode because someone praised it or enjoyed it or sorta liked it, I always have the same experience: THEY’RE LYING, ZOMBIE SIMPSONS IS ALWAYS TERRIBLE REGARDLESS OF THE SEASON, THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT A ZOMBIESODE THE WORSE IT GETS

  14. Congrats on making it through every episode thus far. I’m sure I couldn’t handle going through all of that. Sure you have more bad episodes to sit through in the future, but at least you’ll be able to take a break in-between them now as opposed to doing a new review almost everyday.

  15. Dude, are you being sarcastic?

    I don’t even know anymore.

  16. Wait, this was the last one? Fuck, now what am I supposed to do when I should be workingm

    I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!

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