Simpsons Did It!: “The Way Of The Dog”

So, the season finale for season 31 of The Simpsons, an episode that ran in mid-May…is set around Christmas?

I don’t make the rules, people.  In fact, it looks like nobody does.

But it is Christmas, and that means holiday decorations and Marge trying to get the family dog to wear a Santa hat for a photo.  Lisa keeps pointing out how the dog really doesn’t want to, and in fact, the dog seems more agitated than usual.  Santa’s Little Helper keeps having weird visions of three pale circles in a row, and the family’s usual gibberish to his ears apparently isn’t the slightest bit different from the gibberish Grampa is saying anyway.

Things get worse when Santa’s Little Helper destroys the family’s sofa while the humans are out.  Something has the dog really spooked and agitated, and Lisa suggests taking the dog to see a dog psychiatrist.  A world-renowned one named Dr. Elaine Wolff (guest star Cate Blanchet) is speaking at the community center for some reason, and the talk goes well if you’re a dog because she hates human beings and only really loves dogs.  She leaves early, showing only real affection for one other person, a longtime almost husband named Clayton (reoccurring guest star Michael York).

The Clayton thing is…really weird.

Anyway, Dr. Wolff is leaving and does sense something is really bothering Santa’s Little Helper, but she can’t stay so that would seem to be it.

Until the dog bites Marge at home.  Fortunately, it’s Christmas, and Homer wrapped a first aid kit as a Christmas gift.  Now, the Simpsons know the dog has problems of a more psychological nature, and Homer opts to take him to the cheapest vet he can find, and that guy decides to euthanize the dog more or less on the spot since Santa’s Little Helper bit Marge.  The Simpsons don’t want that, and the only thing keeping the dog alive is Chief Wiggum is really bad at his job of keeping the family under wraps until animal control shows up.

Fortunately, Dr. Wolff comes back and takes Santa’s Little Helper away for some therapy, putting the Simpsons in a dark mood, particularly Bart.

Now, Dr. Wolff’s techniques are weird, and she sees the dog is both afraid of and attached to the Santa hat, and asking the Simpsons about it reveals the flashback to the very first episode and where the family found the dog in the first place.

Ugh.  I wrote that first piece nearly four and a half years ago.  What am I doing with my life?

The long and the short of it is the three circles are Santa’s Little Helper’s mother’s teats, and he’s been missing his mama.  A trip out to the breeder has Dr. Wolff slap the breeder for callously removing a puppy from his mother because the pup was the fastest.  Then all the Simpsons slap him too, including Maggie.

But there’s a happy ending, and not just because the breeder chastises the Simpsons for a lack of creativity when it came to renaming the dog.

No, the happy ending is Santa’s Little Helper’s mother She-biscuit is still alive and the two dogs have a joyous reunion.  The Simpsons take both dogs home, and everything seems cool.  Homer doesn’t believe he has any more pets with issues.

And off to the side, Snowball the cat threatens a goldfish.

Well, that was season 31.  Will we get something more coherent with season 32?  I mean, we’re still supposed to get a season 32.  I don’t know why.

I’ll have another write up when that one comes around.  Good thing there’s plenty of Doctor Who to tide me over until then for noontime Gabbing Geek coverage.

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