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October 9, 2015

The Simpsons: Two Dozen and One Greyhounds

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 1st 2006 6:01PM

simpsons(S06E20) This episode opens with Santa's Little Helper destroying the house. Everyone naturally assumes it's Bart, but as Bart points out, none of the destruction has his usual social commentary. They finally figure out it's the dog, but they can't figure out why it's behaving so crazy, so they take it to a pet store where the clerk performs a canine/human mind meld, a power only he and three other clerks possess. Really, he's just using this as a way to get the family to buy a lot of unnecessary doo-dads for Santa's Little Helper. On the drive home, the dog escapes out the car window and heads for the racetrack where Bart and Homer first found him. It's there that he finds love.

Santa's Little Helper's girlfriend moves into the house, and there's a funny montage in which the two animals go out for a romantic day in Springfield. The butcher shop gives them a steak, and for some reason the video store happens to have steak, too, as does an old woman who carries the meat in her purse. There's the obligatory Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene, but the two dogs actually fight over the spaghetti, just like real dogs. One of my favorite things about the pets on The Simpsons is how much they behave like real animals.

The female becomes pregnant and gives birth to twenty-five puppies, which the family places around the kitchen in various places: inside an apron, inside sugar and flour canisters, inside shoes, etc. If you stop and think about it, it's actually completely unnecessary, but it makes for some adorable images, so whatever, we'll let it go. Unfortunately, taking care of twenty-five puppies is too much, so Homer and Marge decide to sell them. Homer places them in a box in the front yard and places a sign that reads, "Puppies for free, or best offer." Unfortunately, the puppies don't want to be split up, and when Mr. Burns offers to take them all, Lisa has misgivings and convinces her father to say no. Burns steals them anyway while the family has their backs turned.

Bart and Lisa sneak into Burn's mansion to steal the puppies back, but not before he reveals in a catchy little song his plan to turn the puppies into a tuxedo. Burns also seems to have a soft spot for one puppy he's dubbed "Little Monty" and who can stand on his hind legs. You know, like that man who's always standing and walking. That's right, Rory Calhoun. In fact, Rory Calhoun is mentioned several times before the end, proving that no reference can be so esoteric it can't be repeated more than once.

The drama leading up to the puppies being rescued has some great moments. While Bart and Lisa try to coerce the puppies to go down the laundry chute, Smithers and Burns begin to open the door. Lucky for the kids, apparently the door handle must actually make several complete revolutions before the door will open. It's a perfect comment on similar scenes in suspense films when the killer takes much longer to break in than is reasonable. As if that scene wasn't unreasonable enough (but in a funny way), ask yourself how the hell Burns got to the basement the same time as the kids. Monty says he'll explain later, but of course, he never does.

In the end, Monty has a change of heart, which is good for him because he's now racing the dogs and making millions. Homer is so distraught he hangs himself. At least, by his shadow on the wall it appears he hanged himself, but it turns out he's just batting a lightbulb around because it makes him feel better.

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