[4F12] The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show                  Written by David S. Cohen
                                                 Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Production code: 4F12                       Original Airdate on FOX: 09-Feb-97
Capsule revision A, 21-Sep-97

"TV Guide" Synopsis {gb}

Itchy and Scratchy creator Roger Meyers picks Homer as the voice of a new canine character -- who's roundly rejected by the public.

Title sequence

Couch :- OFF sits on the couch, which is a mostly clever and detailed parody of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album cover. [Recycled from 4F06]

Did you notice...

... Hans Moleman auditioning for Poochie? ... 2F09 didn't have an Itchy and Scratchy at all? Dale G. Abersold: ... Marge is going shopping at 5:00 p.m.? Eric Elliott: ... the family portrait features Roy? Don Del Grande: ... Krusty's hair is bright green? ... the ratings drop on the chart lasts seven minutes, much longer than an I&S cartoon lasts? ... Lisa eats Frosted Krusty Flakes? ... Springfield Mall has a Hallstone's store (in a large building)? ... someone who looks like Hans Moleman with a cane is in the credit department? ... the Focus Group consists of Ralph, Becky, Nelson, Milhouse, Bart, and Lisa? (What, the only kids that were in the mall that day all happened to be in Bart's or Lisa's class at school?) ... Krusty has a "Kroon Along With Krusty" gold record? ... the poster behind Krusty says "The Krusty Show - Weekdays at 4:00" and the drum on it says "The Krusty the Klown Show", but the banner in the studio says "Krusty The Clown"? ... at the dinner table scene, somebody remembered that Lisa is a vegetarian? ... the animation cel used when Poochie "flies" is numbered "4F12" and "SC-273" (with a horizontal line in the "7")? ... when all of the kids are cheering that Poochie is dead, Maggie holds her arms up as well? ... Tress MacNeille is sounding more and more like Doris Grau? (Is Lunch Lady Doris ready for a comeback?) Jason Hancock: ... Krusty hit himself with seven pies? ... Bart and Lisa are eating cereal in the afternoon? ... the three-pronged fork hanging in the kitchen? ... I&S comes on at 4:20pm? ... the Android's Dungeon sells Pogs? ... the stack of doughnuts at the recording studio? Haynes Lee: ... ISP stands for "Internet Service Provider"? Ondre Lombard: ... this is the first time Itchy and Scratchy have been showcased since 4F06, which was when they first used 4F12's couch scene? ... Marge encourages Bart and Lisa to watch Itchy and Scratchy when she thought they were too violent in 7F09? ... Roy adopts a very sitcom-y lifestyle after leaving the Simpsons? Sean J. O'Neal: ... Homer seems a little cruel to the computer nerds who saved him in "Homer Goes to College"? Nate Patrin: ... the nunchucks in Poochie's back pocket in the Silverman-look-alike's test drawing and the Kwik-E-Mart display? ... the little heart on Roy's farewell note? Dallas Pesola: ... Krusty's show is produced at the Krustylu Studios? John Plasket: ... the garage door makes a loud noise? ... the I&S music appears during a Krusty scene? ... the Poochie artist has one eyebrow? ... Homer says that he is the worst Poochie ever? Benjamin J. Robinson: ... the tuba in the lead animator's office? (see Comments) Liam J. Scanlam: ... Poochie is supposed to be a beagle? ... Marge kisses Roy when he leaves? Marge Starbrod-Simpson: ... the is the first time Phil Hartman's done any of his regular characters this season? ... Marge tells the kids she's gonna buy something embarrassing at the mall? ... Poochie's outfit is almost remiscent of one of the kids in 3F24's?

Voice credits {dga}

- Starring - Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Krusty, Sideshow Mel, Pasty-faced lawyer, Weinstein, Itchy, Poochie [well, d'uh!], Barney) - Julie Kavner (Marge) - Nancy Cartwright (Bart, Nelson, Ralph, Database) - Yeardley Smith (Lisa) - Hank Azaria (Oakley, Meyer, Roy, Doug, Comic Book Guy, "Uh, in episode...", Moe, Carl) - Harry Shearer (Focus group guy, Animator, Otto, Cohen, Recording engineer, Scratchy, Jasper, Flanders, Brockman) - Special Guest Voice - Phil Hartman (Troy McClure) - Alex Rocco (Roger Myers Jr.) - Also Starring - Pamela Hayden (Krusty's secretary, Milhouse) - Tress MacNeille (Network lady, June Bellamy)

Movie (and other) references

+ Desilu Studios (started by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball) {jp} - Krustylu Studios [Was Krusty ever married to a woman named Lucy? -- {dp}] + Happy Days - Roy is a take-off of the Fonz ~ "Rocky and Bullwinkle" {jh} - Homer's statement about Poochie having access to a time machine may refer to Mr. Peabody + "Teen Beat" magazine {bjr} - "Toon Beat" + Apollo 11 {bjr} - When the astronauts landed on the moon, they said, "The Eagle has landed." + "Three's Company" {bjr} - The premise of Roy's new show recycles the one from this popular ABC comedy + "The Late Shift" - At the beginning of the Letterman/Leno post-Carson late night war, Jay Leno hid in a closet to hear what the executives were saying about him "Saturday Night Live", infamous Shatner sketch - In December 1986, William Shatner guest-hosted Saturday Night Live, and told Star Trek fans to "Get A Life" {hl}

Previous episode references

- The (seldom) voices of Itchy & Scratchy {ol} - [7F09] As a result of Marge's protest ("Lemonade?" "Please.") - [2F01] Plugging Itchy & Scratchy Land - [4F12] Engaging in "proactive" dialogue with Poochie - [7G06] Roy looks like an adult version of the Video Boxing champ {ljs} - [7F09] A Simpson appears in I&S (cf. the Marge squirrel) {mss} - [7F09] No one watches I&S - [7F09] The music played after Krusty's pie fight is the same as that played on the show when no one came to see it {ljs} - [7F09], [9F17] Itchy loses his eyes, and replaces them with bombs (cf. billiard balls) {ol} - [7F13] An episode ends with the screen changing to snow {ol} - [8F03] The last time Bart said "Don't have a cow" {ol} - [8F21] Simpsons have a guest of whom they know little about, who eventually moves out (and who calls Homer "Mr. S") {ol} - [9F07] Nobody appreciates Homer's attempts at rap {ol} - [9F16] An I&S cartoon with no humor that gives a moral at the end {ol} - [1F02], [2F17] The college nerds appear - [1F05] "We like Roy! We like Roy!" {jh} - [1F07] The lab-coated man and woman behind the two-way mirror are the doctors from 1F07 {ol} - [1F09] Jasper mentioned as being blind {jh} - [1F13] Homer saying "I'll field this one" at news conference {hl} - [2F01], [3G03] Episodes about "magic" and "robots"--the "far out" stories the man was referring to {ol} - [2F05] Moe calls Marge "Midge" - [2F07] Marge: "Kids? Kids..." {jh} - [2F09] at the question and answer session, someone mentions an I&S cartoon with that number - [2F11], [2F22] Database appears - [2F12] Homer calls Ralph a girl (cf. Jasper to Bart) {jh} - [2F14] Homer does a dog's voice {ljs} - [2F19], [3F07] Bart rejecting Marge's affections {ol} - [3F01] The first and only time Ned Flanders saw an I&S cartoon {ol} - [3F02] Ralph starts bawling {ol} - [3F03] The episodes p-code is displayed on a show not related to the Simpsons {ljs} - [3F08] "Let's get bih-zay!" {jh} - [3F09] Apu sings Cheap Trick song {hl} - [3F22] Someone else says "Don't have a cow" {ljs}

Freeze frame fun

- Note on Krusty's door {jh} Cleaning Crew: The liquor is not for you - Posters in Krusty's office K R U S T Y C A P A D E S Featuring MR. TEENY [Mr. Teeny on skates, holding a cigar and letting out a puff of smoke] THE GREATEST SHOW! [Krusty, holding a hammer, stands behind a Krusty Show giant drum with a hole in it] WEEKDAYS AT 4:00! - Stuff in Krusty's office - Kroon Along With Krusty golden disk - miniature Krusty and Mel-in-cannon figurines - Krusty toothbrush and toothpaste - Krusty lunchbox - big Krusty alarm clock, with Krusty Seal of Approval - Krusty basketball (?) - Krusty doll - small Krusty alarm clock - Sign outside Mall Conference Room {dk} 5:00 FOCUS GROUP 7:00 NIGHT SCHOOL GRADUATION - Poochie Focus Group - Ralph, girl with white pigtails, Nelson, Milhouse, Bart and Lisa - Headline on the Springfield Shopper {bjr} FUNNY DOG TO MAKE LIFE WORTHWHILE - Trying out for Poochie {jh} - Otto, Ruth Powers, Hans Moleman, Ms. Hoover, Jimbo, Kearney, Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz, Mrs. Wiggum, Homer - Toon Beat Magazine $4.95 T O O N B E A T MAGAZINE [Poochie Homer Simpson sitting on and Homer's arm; POOCHIE! both are wearing sunglasses] The Voice Of COOL [UPC code] - At OFF's house during Poochie's premiere {jh} - Sitting on couch: Ned, Homer, Roy, Marge - Sitting on floor: Nelson, Milhouse, Bart, and Lisa - Sitting in chair: Grampa, Jasper - Standing: Carl, Lenny, Sam, Barney, Moe, Patty and Selma - On the boxes of hate mail {bjr} POOCHIE POOCHIE POOCHIE HATE HATE MAIL DEATH MAIL (FOREIGN) THREATS - Overseas Animation: Rough Draft {ddg}

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

- Krusty is bald on the front of the Krusty Flakes box. {jh} c Krusty's groans and "Kaboom" don't appear in the captions. {jp} * Bart never presses the stop button on the tape recorder, but the tape stops. {jp} + Nobody is eating rotisserie chicken while creating Poochie. {jp} - The McBain poster at the Android's Dungeon is spelled "McBANE." {jh} + In 1F02, the nerds unplug the TV during the greatest I&S episode of all times, to plug in their rock tumbler. Surely they weren't exactly fans of the show back then... {ps} c Marge's line, "I'm so glad you could join us for Homer's big premiere" was captioned as having Homer say, "I'd like to thank you all for coming out to my big premiere. {jh} * "In episode 4F12, when Scratchy was covered with carbolic acid, why didn't his bones disintegrate as well?" {ddg}


Dale G. Abersold: Hmm. I guess the writers read this newsgroup after all, eh? Actually, this was still quite a strong episode, and the numerous animation in-jokes were the icing on the cake. And it's always worthwhile to hear from Roger Meyers, Jr. (A) Greg Bigoni: I think that the a.t.s. lurkers who were offended by this episode were the ones that most deserved to be offended by it. The rest of us, myself included, got a good laugh out of it. It's a good feeling to know that I'm not the only person getting tired of these pathetic freaks who post "Worst Episode Ever" reviews every other week. Unfortunately, the a.t.s. satire overshadowed the plot, which wasn't one of the show's best... I don't think Krusty has ever been so unfunny before. Still, I thought the way that the writers disposed of Poochie was hilarious. (B-) Jennifer M. Blaske: I laughed so hard at a couple of spots that I had to hit the Pause button! But at the same time, I was thinking, "Boy, the people that thought "Bart Gets Famous" was self-indulgent are gonna hate this." I may be off-base, but as I was watching it I thought they were making fun of themselves as much as us. I hope that is true ... If it weren't for the fans they'd have no jobs, so making a whole episode to tell us off would be pretty inappropriate, IMO. (B+) Steve Frayne: The first time I watched this episode I was disgusted with it for its lack of direction with the plot and lack of typical humor coupled with the overall crumminess of poochie. However this one grew on me quickly in a similar fashion and for much the same reasons as did 3F16. To me the two episodes are very similar and both are very entertaining for the underlying point they individually make. This one managed to take the many criticisms, strengths, and trends that have developed before our eyes and mirror them in the Itchy & Scratchy show. Clearly this episode can't be judged well on the usual set of standards, but it has its more subtle merits which can't be overlooked. (B) Jonathan S. Haas: Well, there was an episode directly at us, the hardcore fans, and frankly, it stung. Because I fear that the portrayal of the fans in this episode was a little too on-target. Maybe we're a bit too much like the guys at the autographing session. And, well, here I am on the Internet within minutes, registering my opinion throughout the world. And they're absolutely right. They don't owe us a darnded thing. They've given us hundreds of hours of entertainment for free, and if anything, we owe them. A lot of people have lately talked about the "decline" of the Simpsons, and most people agree that the older episodes were better than the new ones. But maybe the show hasn't changed... maybe it's as good as ever, but after so many years, the characters can't have the same impact they once had. The writers put their answers to us, the fans, in the mouths of Bart and Lisa. A good episode that wouldn't be nearly as relevant to viewers unfamiliar with the fan community. Grade: A, because the writers would mock me if I gave it anything else. Jason Hancock: I thought this was a pretty good episode. Alex Rocco turned in another good performance as Roger Meyers, and the writers threw a lot of meta-humor and self-refs -- plus a long-overdue slam at people who criticize the show. The only problem I had was with Roy, who seemed to be thrown in. (B+) Ryan Johnson: While this episode seemed much more down to earth than ussual (a plus for me), it wasn't all that funny. I didn't find all the references to a.t.s. bashing the show all that funny, probably because they went on for so long. Why do I get the feeling that Roy will be back to visit us just as Cletus and Disco Stu have? This type of gag has become self mockery, not meta-humor. (C+) Margaret H. Jones: Either the writers are trying too hard, or they just don't give a damn anymore. This episode was utterly predictable and not funny. I wouldn't call it the worst episode; I would rather see it than Bart Gets an Elephant. Still, the idea of having a "cool" dog with Homer's voice is just absurd. (D) Diego Kontarovsky: A good episode, but a lousy ending. The cruelty of the network reminded me of the scene from episode #1F11, Bart Gets Famous, when Bart says, "Boy. Show business is kind of cruel, isn't it?" right before Krusty slams the door in his face. Overall, the scene where Homer talks to his brain after the Poochie premiere went kind of slow, and there was very little action, but a good episode. Loved the newsgroup reference. (B+) Ondre Lombard: No plot, full-fledged unpressidented attacks at people who rightfully observe The Simpsons' decline (the producers need to sit down and watch Homer's Odyssey, compare it to The Homer They Fall, compare Lisa's Substitute with The PTA Disbands and get a clue instead of just ranting and raving about us fans). The jokes clearly prove the writers can't differenciate those who are annoyed with minor details, like animation flaws from those who notice a decline in the feel of the show in general, especially including the characters. The episode was an outrage. It was very inconsiderate to the fans who aren't even on the internet. If you stripped it of its bitter flames, it would be an empty 10 minutes of nothingness. As Comic Book Guy said "One of the worst ever." (C) Blaine Moller: This episode talks directly to those people that write into this page with stupid and irrelevant comments and observations like the comments made by the nerds in the picture signing that homer had. The comic store owner perfectly represented some of the people that cant wait to get on the internet and degrade the episode that they just watched. If you dont quite understand the show and how it pokes fun at everything with little regard to continuity you need to change the channel. It's all in good fun, the jokes are the important part not wheather a character used a different toothbrush last episode or something stupid like that. Lay off the negativity and enjoy the humor. Classic Simpsons humor, Great episode as usual! (A) Sean J. O'Neal: I have always loved the way the writers use "Itchy and Scratchy" as a catharsis for their own experiences in creating "The Simpsons," and this episode is the best possible example of that. Finally, they tackle US! The scenes in the comic book store can ONLY be fully appreciated by us "hardcore" fans, and that makes this episode a delightful combination valentine/kick-in-the-face. (I nearly lost it, as I'm sure most of the rest of you did, during the "magic xylophone" and "worst episode ever" scenes -- I think this finally proves that the writers ARE reading this newsgroup.) I can't see how any of us can hate this one -- I mean, it's always nice to see yourself on TV. The first classic episode of the season. (A+) Nate Patrin: Whoa! The slams on the more pessimistic and nitpicky of us on a.t.s aside, this episode, frankly, rocked. It's a definite "watch several times, including with your friends who missed it" ep. Poochie was a hilarious parody of the "proactive"- i.e. "EXTREEEEEEME!" crap being pushed by marketers (his song was astoundingly bad- and hilarious). Roy was a strange addition to the cast (yes, I did get the joke), and the ending was a bit rushed, but who cares when we have the best Ralph line in ages: "My knob tastes funny..." (A) Werner Peeters: Second A+ for me this season, after The Springfield Files. I watched it twice in a row, because there are SO many good things about this episode: the meta-references including our beloved newsgroup, the Nancy Cartwright-like voice actor for Itchy and Scratchy, Homer's 'solutions' to the dropping viewer ratings, the psychic tormentation of Milhouse and Ralph crying for his mommy, and of course all the diabolical mayhem caused by our favourite cat and mouse duo! This was indeed a worthy milestone in the history of the Simpsons! And a rightful sneer to all the critic (Worst Episode Ever etc.); Lisa's comments about the evolution of Itchy and Scratchy throughout the years and the positive message at the end of the episode are things every Simpson fan should keep in his heart. (A+) Mark Aaron Richey: Being an A.T.S. regular, I was able to get most of the in-jokes directed at us and ourselves (Worst Episode Ever!!!), but the rise and fall of Poochie was simply not very compelling (though the only Poochie cartoons were brilliant. The entire third act just sat there until the final Poochie cartoon. Still, it's always nice to hear Alex Rocco as Roger Myers, Jr. BTW, is there anybody else who felt, for this record breaking episode, that they should have used the Flintstones couch gag (as brilliant at the Sgt. Pepper's gag is)? (B-) Benjamin J. Robinson: The alternate title for this episode might be, "Revenge of the Writers." This episode takes a terrific look at the often dicey relationship between a show and its viewers. The abundant meta-humor helps make the rise and fall of Poochie solidly entertaining. The Internet fan base should look kindly on this one; it's a keeper. (A) Matt Rose: WELL DONE WRITERS! That was a big time slap in the face to all the show's "fans" who keep ripping it to shreds. I no have no doubt in my mind that they really do read what we are all saying. So let me say this: That was brilliant. The best trend I have seen in recent episodes is all of the show's references to itself. And this entire episode basically was just that. "Don't have a cow Lisa". I also love the newsgroup bashing with the "dead/alive" and the "realism vs. cartoonish" threads. Clever, clever, clever. And at the same time perhaps we see a glimpse of how the show's voice actors are treated. This one will be talked about for a long, long time. (A+) Aaron Varhola: I think we can forgive David S. Cohen for writing "Lisa the Vegetarian". :) Sharp satire of the mindlessness of television executives (if you want to see a RL battle, look at alt.tv.animaniacs, and their loathing of Jamie Kellner for cancelling Freakazoid!, Road Rovers, and Earthworm Jim), with a few well-placed digs at some of us. Cohen's strength is in satirical material; an excellent example of his oeuvre along with "Much Apu About Nothing". (A) Yours Truly: My, oh my. When the writers spend a whole episode pointing at you, a mere paragraph seems small as a reply. Nonetheless, my thoughts could probably be summed up as these few words: "What the hell are you trying to say?" Were the writers admitting their faults ("It's those lousy writers")? Were they blaming the network for sticking its nose in their business ("proactive and paradigm")? Were they accusing us of being too "nerdy" ("magic xylophone")? Or were they bluntly asking us to shut the hell up ("you owe them")? As a self-referencing episode making fun of itself, this one was great, and I laughed my head off. As a message from the writers, I was left drifting. I guess your opinion will depend whether you're watching the show out of pure fun or sheer criticism. If it's both, like me, then the grading is even tougher. (B) AVERAGE GRADE: B (3.15) NIELSEN RATING: 15.67 (Ranked 17th out of 101) {ol}

Comments and other observations

Long May You Run

Benjamin J. Robinson:  As you might know by now, this is a milestone
   episode.  "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" is the 167th episode
   of "The Simpsons," surpassing the record set by "The Flintstones."
   Actually, "The Simpsons" broke two longevity records for cartoons.
   "The Flintstones" aired for about six years (1960 to 1966).  "The
   Simpsons" broke the six-year "time barrier" last season, with "Two
   Bad Neighbors (3F09)."  Back in the old days, however, more episodes
   were made for each season; even though "The Simpsons" ran longer in
   the time sense, the cartoon cave people could still claim more shows.
   Well, until now.

Writer Watch

Dale G. Abersold:  David S. Cohen began somewhat shakily with the
   "Nightmare Cafeteria" segment of "Treehouse of Horror V" [2F03], and
   the much-hated "Lisa the Vegetarian" [3F03].  The "Homer^3" segment
   of "ToH VI" [3F04] was popular, however, and many have admired "Much
   Apu About Nothing" [3F20] and "Citizen Kang" from "ToH VII" for their
   political satire.  His next project is the "Chief Wiggum, P.I."
   segment of "The Simpsons Spinoff Showcase" [4F20].

Can you play "When the Saints Go Marching In" on that thing?

Benjamin J. Robinson:  After "The Simpsons" got the go-ahead to become a
   full-fledged series, the writers and producers met to flesh out the
   characters.  At this meeting, it was decided that Lisa would play
   some sort of instrument. As Matt Groening later said, it would be a
   way for her to express what was going on in her soul.  The problem
   was, which instrument?  David Silverman, who was the head honco for
   animation at the time, suggested the same instrument he played -- the
   tuba.  For whatever reason, that didn't fly, and Lisa ended up
   playing the saxophone.

   According to Dave Hall, the animator who draws Poochie resembles Mr.
   Silverman, and sure enough, we see a tuba in the background. Looks
   like someone decided to give his hobby a subtle plug.

   (The above information was drawn from reports of Mr. Silverman's
   first "meet the fans" talk in San Fransisco.)

The Writers' Unabridged Who's Who

Bob Beecher:  (Exec. Prod.) "Bill Oakley" was the first to speak at the
   conference table (he was wearing the blue shirt) and seated next to
   him with dark hair, glasses, and a plaid shirt was his partner, Josh

   Bill said that he holds the honor of being roughed up by Krusty in a
   later scene.

   George Meyer was the writer wearing the hat who gets fired.

      [Dan Greaney and Ken Keeler were quite active recently, so I'd
      guess those two might just be the other silent writers. Anybody
      knows better? --ed]

Jennifer Hale:  My brother is an entertainment editor at a newspaper and
   he interviewed David S. Cohen in the summer, and when he asked the
   publicity department for a picture of Cohen, they sent the drawing
   instead. If anyone cares, he was the one in the goatee with the squid
   on his shirt who mentioned something about rotisserie chicken.

Do the hallways keep repeating themselves?

Roger Smith:  The conference room where the I&S writers meet looks much
   like the room used for the Simpson's table read. The real one has
   cabinets and a TV screen in the wall at one end - but the real one
   doesn't change size like the cartoon one does.

   The hallways and other scenes of the buildings, however, don't look
   much like the Simpsons offices. The Simpsons offices are just behind
   the Fox backlot and are old 1930's or 1940's buildings with very
   narrow, cluttered hallways.

The lady of a thousand voices

Aaron Varhola:  Homer's co-star is obviously based on June Foray,
   legendary voice actress best known as the voices of Rocky and Natasha
   in "Rocky and Bullwinkle" [and as Granny in the Sylvester/Tweety
   cartoons --ed], and the first guest voice on The Simpsons, as the
   Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers Babysitting service receptionist in 7G01,
   "Some Enchanted Evening". If you like irony, she was played by Tress
   MacNeille, arguably the best and most prolific voice actress at

The Voice of Roadrunner

Dale G. Abersold:  In the original Roadrunner cartoon, "Fast and
   Furry-ous" (1949), the "meep-meep" of the Roadrunner was provided by
   a claxon.  By the time the second cartoon was produced however ("Beep
   Beep", 1952), the sound-effects people had lost the claxon.  So, they
   buttonholed Mel Blanc and got him to imitate the sound.  It was this
   recording of "Meep-meep" that was used afterwards in the many
   Roadrunner cartoons (This according to Blanc's autobiography "That's
   Not All, Folks."  A great read for those interested in cartoons,

And he didn't have to worry about anyone playing through

Benjamin J. Robinson:  The second astronaut picture Krusty showed us
   came from the Apollo 14 mission (January 31 to February 8, 1971).
   Astronaut Alan Shepard was (and presumably still is) an avid golfer,
   who joked that the moon's reduced gravity would improve his golf
   drive. Just before Shepard was to leave the moon, he produced a ball
   and a "club" made of some leftover scientific equipment. He hit the
   ball an estimated 400 yards.

Maybe they're watching us right now

Ryan Johnson:  I noticed that many people seemed suprised, if not
   shocked that the writers were aware of this newsgroup. We've known
   for some time that MG lurks and I think I remember someone quoting
   something that said the writers also read a.t.s. (Dave, help me out
   here =) I'd be shocked if the writers actually listened to what the
   "the show is going downhill crowd" says, but there is no reason to be
   suprsised that the staff of the show probably reads this newsgroup.
   If you were producing a show wouldn't you want to hear what people
   thought about your work? I know I would.

Get the chance to harass your favorite voice actor!

Aaron Varhola:  Voice tours are popular, as they draw people into cel
   galleries and comic book stores to meet the voice artists; children
   like hearing the actors do their characters' voices, while adults
   like to see their animation cels go up in value with autographs. :)

   Nancy Cartwright has read childrens' stories at L.A.-area bookstores,
   and Yeardley Smith has done gallery signings at the Comic Art Gallery
   in Melbourne, Australia, and the Cricket Gallery on Martha's
   Vineyard. Another ats/simpsons-l/lsfc denizen has met Harry Shearer
   in Australia as well.

   Probably the most famous one is the Warner Brothers Studio Stores
   voice tours for Animaniacs, where Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress
   MacNeille, and Maurice LaMarche appeared at WBSS's all over the
   country in the summer and fall of 1995 to promote Animaniacs and
   Pinky and the Brain. One of the voice tour stops was the weekend of
   the airing of an Animaniacs short, "Please Please Pleese Get a Life
   Foundation", making fun of nit-picking fans; said nit-picking fans
   had a convention in Sacramento that weekend to meet the voice tour.
   :) Previously, Warner Brothers Animation invited a group from
   alt.tv.animaniacs to tour the studio, meet some of the staff, and
   observe the scoring of a short. They also got to see nearly-completed
   versions of two shorts, including Please Please Pleese Get a Life
   Foundation, which was well-received.

   Incidentally, if you see any Simpsons voice actors at a voice tour,
   don't bother them with questions about minuitae. That's what David
   Silverman's presentations are for. :) Or, ask me or some of the other
   obsessed fans here.

One of us! One of us!

Dallas Pesola:  The I&S 2F09 blunder that was pointed out by the "Genius
   at Work" guy was hilarious.  My wife was watching with me and turned
   to look a me writing things down.  She said, "You're turing into one
   of them, aren't you?" I just kept writing.  ;-)

Dave Traubert sums it up best with a 1F02 quote:  "They're very nice
   boys, Homer, but they're clearly nerds."

Dear fan, IOU one successful cartoon, signed M.G.

Benjamin J. Robinson:  I'm sure the people who tolerate no criticism of
   "The Simpsons" will quote freely from Bart's answer to the Comic Book
   Guy. I'd like to present my counter-argument. Many people are under
   the impression that the networks make their money from the viewers.
   This is only indirectly true. Fox (and the other networks) really get
   their income from the advertisers who air their commercials during
   the shows. The network receives their money whether you like the show
   or not. The only reason they give a damn what you think is that
   advertisers aren't dumb enough to buy air time on a show nobody
   watches. When you post your opinion of the show (or write in, or call
   up), you're helping the network attract more viewers, and thus get
   more advertising dollars. That, to me, seems like a fair deal, and I
   plan to speak my mind about this show without feeling that I "owe"
   someone, or even a guilty conscience.

   So there!

Aw, just like on TV

By now, you certainly learned that this episode was first and foremost a
   self-reflection -- if not, I give up! There are many obvious
   references,  but more interesting are the subtle hints underneath.
   Here is a non-exhaustive list of correspondences between us and the
   Itchy & Scratchy universe. (Courtesy of Benjamin J. Robinson and Don
   Del Grande)

   At the focus group, the kids cheer loudly for both making the show
   more realistic, and for making it wackier. The same two camps exist
   on a.t.s. (To be fair, though, in real life two different sets of
   people make up the two groups.) In the same way, Bart heralds the
   final "Itchy & Scratchy" cartoon as a return to the old glory. This
   echoes the "old Simpsons vs. new Simpsons" arguments we see on a.t.s.

   Lisa comments that after several years, television characters don't
   have the impact they once have. Some people might apply the same
   sentiment to the Simpsons themselves.

   Lisa gripes that shows only add characters as a desperate ploy to
   boost flagging appeal. Lately, "The Simpsons" has been adding
   one-shot characters (e.g. Disco Stu) who later make repeat

   The woman who voices Itchy and Scratchy remarks that the Roadrunner's
   "meep, meep," was the product of studio tape. On "The Simpsons,"
   Maggie's pacifier sucking, and even some of Homer's "D'oh's," are
   stored on a synthesizer and called up when needed.

   At the autograph signing, an anal-retentive fan points out a silly
   technical goof no "sane" person would ever notice, using the
   episode's p-code. Need I say more? :)

   Homer dismisses "Itchy & Scratchy" as a children's show, just as some
   people do with "The Simpsons."

   Jasper thinks that Bart is a girl; Bart is in fact voiced by Nancy
   Cartwright, who also does Ralph, Rod, Todd, Nelson, Kearney, Wendell
   and Database. Other female-voiced boys include Milhouse, Martin,
   Jimbo, Dolph and Uter.

   The Comic Book Guy jumps onto the Internet to decry the "Itchy &
   Scratchy & Poochie" show as "the worst ever." (Notice he never
   provides any reasoning to back up his assertion.) Anyone who has
   subscribed to a.t.s. for more than four seconds can get this

   To "take care of" Poochie, the producers resort to inventing some
   previously unheard-of background information about him. Starting with
   "A Fish Called Selma (3F15)," the "Simpsons" producers have also been
   using this tactic. (Spring to mind Troy McClure [3F15], Apu [3F20],
   Kirk and Luanne Van Houten [4F04] and Ned [4F07].)

   Poochie's last cel is marked "4F12", this episode's p-code.

   Bart heralds the final "Itchy & Scratchy" cartoon as a return to the
   old glory. This echoes the "old Simpsons vs. new Simpsons" arguments
   we see on a.t.s. Similarly, Lisa feels lucky that "they're still
   putting on a program of this caliber after so many years", referring
   to The Simpsons beating The Flintstones' record.

Roger Smith:  One thing in this episode that struck me as particulary
   funny was Homer's question "Is this cartoon done live?" My friend
   from the show mentioned that one of the younger guests at a table
   read once remarked "Wow! I can't wait to tell my friends what's going
   to happen on the Simpsons next week." Of course, it's about nine
   months later that the shows air after the reading.

Those Immortal Threads

What's the Comic Book Guy's name?

The Comic Book Guy asks for an autograph to himself, and three others to
   some friends "of the same name".

John Manning remarked that Homer has no problem signing those pictures.
   To which Al Sigman replied: "Homer knows more than we give him credit
   for. I'll bet he even knows what state Springfield is in."

Loose Ends

Haynes Lee:  I searched the term "Worst Episode Ever" at Deja News and
   the term was quite prominent in the three newsgroups alt.tv.seinfeld,
   alt.tv.x-files and alt.tv.simpsons. The Star Trek newsgroups seem
   quite well behaved.

Benjamin J. Robinson:  In Greek mythology, Cerberus was the three-headed
   hound who guarded the gates of Hades.  I am not overly educated.

Haynes Lee:  Check the newsgroup alt.fan.monty-python. Half the posts are
   about tips for playing the Holy Grail CD-ROM game.

Chris Courtois:  What's left for another I&S-based show? Someone asking
   for nude pictures of Itchy?  [LOL -- ed]

Haynes "master of all anagrams" Lee goes after another one:

      Worst episode ever            Poster does review

James R. Cherry mentions that SKY's done it once again, by replacing
   this episode's couch gag with 8F24 (Simpsons meet Flintstones), but
   still leaving the original soundtrack.  "So therefore, while the
   Simpsons are standing still, you here Homer's `Hmmm?' and the sound
   of his feet tapping on the floor as he turns arround."

Sing it like you mean it!

Chris Courtois remains faithful to the tradition and provides us with
   some lyrics:

   - [4F12] The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show theme song

      (Voice A is the normal theme song voice; voice B is a new,
      lower-pitched, more dog-like voice.)

      Voice A: They fight!  And bite!
      Voice B: And bark!
      Voice A: They fight and bite and bite!
      Voice B: And bark!
      Voice A: Fight bite bark!
      Voice B: Woof woof woof!
      Voice A: The Itchy and Scratchy
               And Poochie Show!

   - [4F12] Poochie Rap

      Poochie/Homer: The name's Poochie D
                     And I rock the telly,
                     I'm half Joe Camel
                     And a third Fonzarelli.
                     I'm the kung fu hippie
                     From gangsta city,
                     I'm a rappin' surfer,
                     You the fool I pity.

Musings from a veteran

Of all alt.tv.simpsons veterans, few (if any) could boast of being more
   expressive and vehement regarding the quality of the show than
   Matthew Kurth. Throughout the years, Matthew often expressed his
   views about the evolution of the show, and harshly criticized the
   rampant growth of laughs over continuity and characterization. Those
   views, and his losing faith in this new direction the writers seemed
   intent to follow, led him to step down as FAQ maintainer after two
   years, last January.

   It is of no surprise that an episode bent on defending the show and
   poking the viewers -- especially die-hard fans -- would induce a
   strong reaction from Matthew. Here is his reply, uncut and unedited.

   At first glance, it's very difficult to figure out exactly what's
   going on in this episode.  If you're a so-called hardcore fan of the
   show, it's quite possible you found it incredibly offensive.  If
   you're one of those fans who claim not to be hardcore, you probably
   laughed your ass off at "those geeks getting what's coming to them".

   Upon second glance, the episode looks like a $1.5M troll and/or "up
   yours" to critical fans -- specifically, those who post regularly to
   a.t.s -- and/or the commercial TV industry in general.  This is
   particularly interesting because all of a sudden the target audience
   has been narrowed to just a few hundred viewers.  Your average
   slack-jawed yokel watching the show was more than likely left
   mystified and wondering what the hell (s)he'd just seen.  This means
   that either the writers have a collective chip on their shoulder, or
   else no one blew the whistle to say, "Wait, what are we doing here?"

   I'm reminded of the MGM cartoon studio of the late 40s.  Bill Hannah
   and Joe Barbara were in friendly competition with Tex Avery's cartoon
   unit, and the two camps tried for months to outdo each other with
   gags and wild takes and general outrageousness, until finally, they
   showed a work print to Fred Quimby, then-Producer.  He watched
   placidly, then turned and said, "I don't understand what's going on."
   The inside gags had gotten so layered that the product was
   incomprehensible to someone not "in the know".

   Considering the dim view taken of die-hard fans, one has to wonder
   for a moment, because even though the writers make the product, where
   would the product be without the fans?  After all, who will go out
   and buy 3 copies of each CD, collect every figurine, doll, and
   T-shirt available?  Certainly your fair-weather fan might pick up one
   CD or a T-shirt with their favorite character -- the die-hard fan
   cannot support the show alone, but you have to wonder about the
   usefulness of biting the hand that essentially feeds them.

   At the same time, it must be said that fan criticism seems to be on
   the rise, at least in visibility if not in amount.  Examinations of
   the Season Three capsules does indeed show that contemporary critics
   were often harsh toward what are now considered classic episodes.
   However, never before have I seen so many document maintainers
   throwing in the towel and proclaiming they're giving up on the show.
   Not only that, but the fans have taken to targeting specific writers
   for perceived slipshod work.  (I'm looking to where Jennifer
   Crittenden's desk used to be...)  And as such, if I were a writer, I
   suppose I'd be scratching my head at what I was seeing coming from
   the mouths of the fans at the same time that the show is receiving so
   much "acclaim", to borrow from Krusty.

   And they must also be scratching their heads at what they've seen as
   far as the fans wanting real life vs. wacky hijinks.  What strikes me
   as interesting though is that almost every member of the test
   audience wanted to see both.  I guess the writers haven't tried
   having one ep to be of one type and the next of another, and not a
   hodge-podge that seems to satisfy no one.

   But one has to wonder exactly what has precipitated this fan bashing,
   or at the very least the seeming bitterness attached to it.  It's
   possible it's disgust at the manner in which every character, object,
   and moving thing winds up being portrayed in some sexually
   compromising position somewhere on the net.  It's possible it's a
   combined superiority-inferiority complex, where the writers are
   asking, "Who do these people think they are that they know so much
   that they can criticize our work?  They couldn't write their way out
   of a paper bag if they had to!" at the same time their work cannot
   seem to hold a candle to the work of those who have come before.  Or,
   as some have suggested, perhaps it is an inevitable result of the
   writers having access to unfiltered opinions of their work --
   something heretofore unheard of in the industry -- coupled with the
   also inevitable running out of situations to use for a show coming up
   on 200 episodes old.

   Now, let's look at what the writers have to say about the fans.  In
   the episode, the geeky fans bandy about p-codes and incredibly
   esoteric continuity errors.  What is stark about this is how the fans
   aren't criticizing the voice acting or the writing, for that matter,
   but editing and sound dubbing -- and they're laying this at the
   footsteps of the voice actors.  This is particular interesting
   because most of the fans who want to be taken seriously disagree with
   the writing above all, and in this episode the writers are shown to
   be lazy but otherwise beyond reproach. The phrase "displaced
   responsibility" presents itself here, should you choose to subscribe
   to that notion, so either the writers are accepting the entire
   responsibility for an episode including mistakes they have no control
   over, or the writers are saying "it's not our fault!".  Of course, it
   may also be just a grand coincidence, because of the obvious
   similarities of the Q&A session to Bill Shatner's famous "Get a Life"
   sketch from Saturday Night Live.  I suppose it's the individual's
   burden to decide.

   I guess, however, that there is still the potential for
   miscommunication, and I wonder whether the writers have been reading
   the episode capsules and the long recitations of goofs and errors and
   getting the impression that they are what most fans are annoyed
   about.  I can't speak for everyone, but I know that most of the
   people I know don't take most goofs too seriously -- particularly
   ones that aren't integral to some failed gag.  This portion of the
   controversy can be addressed only by the writers themselves.

   At the same time that this is going on, Darth (I'm sorry, David) S.
   Cohen presents Emperor Oakley and the rest of the Imperial Writers
   with some 20 minutes of meta-humor and reflexivity.  Things like the
   inclusion of Roy for no reason and dialogue written quite obviously
   out of character to rattle fans' cages seems to suggest that the
   writers set out rather intentionally to flame or at least flame-bait
   die-hard fans.

   In particular, Bart's lines about the fans owing the writers is
   particularly noteworthy.  Based on Emperor Oakley's comments to a
   British TV magazine about Lisa fans complaining about
   characterization as well as private comments to me claiming he cares
   more about Lisa than any "Abject Admirer of Lisa Simpson", I'd almost
   hazard a guess that Oakley wrote Bart's lines himself.  Brendan Dunn
   addressed this issue most accurately when he compared the legacy of
   "The Simpsons" to the reputation of a good restaurant.  The customers
   don't owe the restaurant anything, and the chefs don't owe the
   customers anything.  However, the chefs do owe something to the
   reputation of the restaurant.  And this is probably what irritates me
   more than anything.  If the writers are indeed angered at the
   reception their work is getting on a.t.s, then it seems more than a
   bit cowardly that rather than address the fans directly and attempt
   to discuss things openly, they go to their writers' retreat and come
   back to deliver a slap in the face to those individuals who, for
   better or worse, have found inspiration or solace in the program in
   previous years.

   And speaking of the phrase "out of character", it's anybody's guess
   as to just who was in character.  Lisa makes a few intelligent
   comments and then shuts her brain off, Bart lectures about viewer
   loyalty, Marge suddenly supports Bart and Lisa watching I&S, Homer is
   just plain uncharacteristic, Roger Meyers doesn't stick up for his
   product, and Krusty is overly melodramatic.  Okay, well, the Comic
   Book Guy is in-character, as are Nelson and Ralph.  However, this
   seems to be part of the troll and as such is only to be expected. How
   clever of the writers to think that writing characters intentionally
   out-of-character is funny.  And incidentally, it's harder to screw up
   toast than Ralph Wiggum's lines.

   In any event, Poochie comes across as nothing more than a reference
   to that bear from "CJ and Jamal" (or whatever that show was).  In
   fact, the magazine cover touting his debut is very reminiscent of the
   Animation Magazine cover for said program.  And of course, that both
   Roy and Poochie were meant to be amalgamations of current trends and
   stereotypes is to be expected.

   Even so, the strongest criticism of the show over the past few
   seasons is that the writers no longer respect the characters they
   write for, and as such this episode is pretty damning evidence, even
   for the sake of meta-humor.  In "The Front", Bart and Lisa accept the
   challenge to take something bad and make it better.  In "Itchy &
   Scratchy & Poochie", however, the message is to sit back and just be
   thankful you have it at all.  You have to wonder about this message
   though in light of Matt Groening's work, which has always been about
   bucking the establishment -- which, in turn, makes me wonder about
   the wisdom in Mr. Groening's showing up in the production offices a
   scant once a month (so I've been told).  It would seem that Oakley &
   Weinstein are the ones in effective control of the show, and for that
   reason, old-school fans can take heart in knowing that Emperor Oakley
   and Jabba the Weinstein are leaving at the conclusion of Season Eight
   -- although it's my understanding that Mike Scully will be assuming
   Executive Producer duties, and from what I've seen of "Lisa on Ice"
   and "Lisa's Date With Density", it could be "out of the frying pan
   and into the fire" for the remainder of the series -- although I'd be
   more than willing to issue a public retraction to this should Mike
   Scully prove me wrong. (And here people were complaining about David
   Mirkin's influence on the show...)

   In the end, it's still hard to say exactly what this episode was
   trying to prove, and as such, perhaps that in itself is the strongest
   criticism of the episode: it doesn't clearly define its targets, nor
   does it really zero in on them, and at the same time, goes one step
   further toward alienating the fans from the old days who remember
   when the show produced the occasional tearjerker and you never had to
   wait more than a week for an episode that probed your intellect, your
   emotions, or both.

   Regardless, the episode will no doubt generate controversy until the
   show lapses into distant memory, for good or ill.  And regardless of
   whether it was intended as flame or troll or something else entirely,
   it's quite obvious that fan-writer relations aren't what they were
   just a scant two years ago.

Quotes and Scene Summary {dga}

It's the Krusty the Klown show! I hope you enjoyed my one-man pie fight, kids! -- Krusty learns to deal with cutbacks, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Krusty then introduces the next feature: a new Itchy & Scratchy cartoon, "Why Do Fools Fall in Lava?" Tourist Scratchy visits a volcano with a bungee jump, operated by a certain homicidal mouse. He pays for the jump, but is shocked when Itchy slashes him open with a knife, ties his intestines to the railing, and pushes him over the edge. Luckily, his fall is broken by his entrails, suspending him a few feet over the lava. Up above, however, Itchy has inserted a funnel into Scratchy's intestine and is pouring gasoline into it. Scratchy frantically covers his mouth to keep any of the flammable liquid from escaping, but eventually, his cheeks swell up, and Scratchy lets the gasoline burst out of his mouth. He is instantly vaporized. No one in the Simpson home is watching the hilarious antics of the cat-and-mouse duo, however. Marge walks through the living room and notes that the television is on, but the room is empty. She finds her children eating cereal in the kitchen. Marge: You're missing the Itchy & Scratchy Show. Don't you like it anymore? Lisa: [reading the back of a Frosty Krusty Flakes cereal box] Sure, we love it. But how can we watch T.V. when it's so beautiful out? -- Nature and its 12 essential elements, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Bart: Well, yeah, Mom. I mean, we love you and Dad too, but God knows we don't need to see you every day. Marge: An occasional hug is all I ask. [hugs him] Bart: [protesting] Mom! You can hug me when I'm asleep. Marge: I do! Bart: [screams] -- Bart gets weirded out, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" At Krustylu studios, Roger Myers Jr. steps inside the office of a groaning Krusty. Myers: Hey, Krusty, you look great. You get your teeth bleached? Krusty: Yeah, it's a new kind of polymer treatment... [wakes up] Hey, shut up! You're here 'cause your Itchy & Scratchy cartoons are stinking up my ratings. Look at this breakdown of yesterday's show. [Krusty's finger follows the ratings graph, which suddenly plummets at 4:20] Myers: What happened here? Lightning hit the transmitter? Krusty: See, that's what I thought at first, but then... [snaps] Hey, shut up! -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Turns out this is when Itchy and Scratchy "crash-landed" on the show. Myers: But "Itchy & Scratchy" is critically acclaimed! Krusty: Acclaimed!? [spits] I oughta replace it right now with a Chinese cartoon where the robots that turn into... blingwads! -- Ooh, I smell a success story there, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" But Krusty is willing to give one more chance to the cat and mouse duo. Krusty: Get out! Don't come back 'til you fix "Itchy & Scratchy"! [Myers walks out, slamming Krusty's office door so hard that it comes of the hinges, shattering the window.] Woman: Okay, Mel, you can go in now. [Sideshow Mel enters, holding a tin can] Mel: Krusty, I've come to solicit donations for the Rock 'N Roll museum, and... [Krusty stares at him] uh... I'll come back later. -- Good thinking, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" At Springfield Mall, Marge is shopping with her three children. Marge: I need to purchase a brassiere. You kids wait over here in the credit department. Bart: Oh, can't we just wander around and meet you back here later? Marge: Mmm...okay, just be careful. [Bart and Lisa run away happily. Before long, they encounter a creepy-looking guy who speaks to them] Man: Would you kids like to come with me? Bart: [simultaneously with Lisa] Sounds good to me! Let's go! Lisa: [simultaneously with Bart] Okay! Guess so. -- Bart and Lisa follow parental advice, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" The man has invited Bart and Lisa to participate in a cartoon focus group study, along with Ralph, a girl from Bart's class, Nelson, and Milhouse. They are excited to learn that they will be watching some cartoons. Man: We want you to tell us what you think. And, be honest, because no one from the show is here spying on you. [chuckles] [a sneezing sound comes from a huge mirror set along a wall of the room; the mirror shakes] Lisa: Why is that mirror sneezing? Man: Ah, look, it's just an old, creaky mirror, y'know, sometimes it sounds a little like it's sneezing, or coughing, or talking softly. Lisa: [suspiciously] Hmm... [the focus group guy surreptitiously gives a thumbs-up to the mirror] -- Yeah, right, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" The focus group guy goes on to say that each child has a knob that they can turn right if they like what they see, left if they don't. Man: You each have a knob in front of you. When you like what you see, turn the knob to the right. When you don't like what you see, turn it left. Ralph: [knob in mouth] My knob tastes funny. Man: Please refrain from tasting the knob. -- `17/ of all children dislike the taste of knobs', "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" The first cartoon: Playing pool, Itchy knocks out Scratchy's eyeballs with a cue ball: Scratchy replaces them with the "6" and "9" balls. Everybody laughs and turns their knobs right. The next setting is an island. [a musclebound man in bikini trunks flexes in front of the camera] [Nelson slyly turns Milhouse's knob to the right] Milhouse: Hey, quit it! Myers: [supervising the results behind the mirror] They like Itchy, they like Scratchy, one kid seems to love the Speedo man... what more do they want? -- More Speedo men!, more Speedo men!, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Back with the focus group... Man: How many of you kids would like Itchy & Scratchy to deal with real-life problems, like the ones you face every day? Kids: [clamoring] Oh, yeah! I would! Great idea! Yeah, that's it! Man: And who would like to see them do just the opposite -- getting into far-out situations involving robots and magic powers? Kids: [clamoring] Me! Yeah! Oh, cool! Yeah, that's what I want! Man: So, you want a realistic, down-to-earth show... that's completely off-the-wall and swarming with magic robots? Kids: [all agreeing, quieter this time] That's right. Oh yeah, good. Milhouse: And also, you should win things by watching. -- Conflicting results, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Myers, fed up, turns on the light in the observation booth, making himself visible to the kids. Myers: You kids don't know what you want! That's why you're still kids; 'cause you're stupid! [sticks his face to the window, difforming his nose] Just tell me what's wrong with the freakin' show! [turns the lights out] Ralph: [starts crying, turns the knob left] Mommy! -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Lisa takes the stand, walks to the mirror, and explains (to her reflection) that there's nothing wrong with it, but that after so many years, the characters lose something of their impact. Myers turns the lights on. Myers: That's it. That's it, little girl! You've saved "Itchy & Scratchy"! Lawyer: Please sign these papers indicating that you did not save "Itchy & Scratchy". -- Taking no chances, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" At "Itchy & Scratchy, Intl.", Myers has called a meeting of the writers along with Krusty and a lady from the network. Myers: I have figured out how to rejuvenate the show. It's so simple, you egghead writers would've never thought of it! What we need is... a new character! One that today's kids can relate to! [writers look at each other, uncertain] Oakley: Are you absolutely sure that's wise, sir? I mean, I don't want to sound pretentious here, but Itchy and Scratchy comprise a dramaturgical dyad. Krusty: Hey, this ain't art -- it's business! -- That's the spirit!, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Krusty: Whaddya got in mind? Sexy broad? Gangster octopus? Myers: No, no. The animal chain of command goes mouse, cat, dog. [to the writers] D-O-G. Weinstein: Uh, a dog? Isn't that a tad predictable? Lady: In your dreams. We're talking the original dog from hell. Oakley: You mean Cerberus? -- Does he drive a `Persephone'? "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Lady: We at the network want a dog with attitude. He's edgy, he's "in your face." You've heard the expression "let's get busy"? Well, this is a dog who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly. Krusty: So he's proactive, huh? Lady: Oh, God, yes. We're talking about a totally outrageous paradigm. Meyer: Excuse me, but "proactive" and "paradigm"? Aren't these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? [backpedaling] Not that I'm accusing you of anything like that. [pause] I'm fired, aren't I? Myers: Oh, yes. -- Is that what happened to Jon Vitti?, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Meyer: The rest of you start writers thinking up a name for this funky dog; I dunno, something along the line of say... Poochie, only more proactive. Krusty: Yeah! [Myers, Krusty and the lady leave] Oakley: So, Poochie okay with everybody? All: [reclining in their chairs] Yeah... -- And thus a dog was born, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" It's now time for our animator, the exact twin of David Silverman, to perform his magic and give form to the concept... [Silverman draws a standard dog] Myers: No, no, no! He was supposed to have attitude. Silverman: Um... wh-what do you mean, exactly? Myers: Oh, you know, attitude, attitude! Uh... sunglasses! Lady: Could we put him in more of a "hip-hop" context? Krusty: Forget context, he's gotta be a surfer. Give me a nice shmear of surfer. Lady: I feel we should Rasta-fy him by... 10 percent or so. [the resulting dog is rather... proactive] [all stare at it w/o any expression] Myers: Hmm... I think he needs a little more attitude. [Silverman blackens in Poochie's sunglasses] All Three: [variously] Oh, yeah, bingo. Yeah, that's it! There it is, right there! I love it! -- Another cartoon character created in less than 15 minutes, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" The next morning, OFF (with one obvious missing character) is eating breakfast, when the newspaper headline catches Bart's eye. Bart: Hey, Lis, look! They're adding a new character to Itchy & Scratchy! [reads] Poochie the dog?! Lisa: [unfooled] Adding a new character is often a desperate attempt to boost low ratings. Roy: Yo, yo! How's it hangin' everybody! Marge: Morning, Roy! Homer: Yeah, hi, Roy. -- Rim shot, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Homer reads that they are having open casting for the dog's voice. Lisa encourages him to try out, since he has a funny voice. He denies this. Bart: Haven't you ever listened to yourself on a tape recorder? Homer: I prefer to listen to Cheap Trick. -- Or Grand Funk Railroad, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Bart holds up a tape recorder and asks his Dad to say something. He does so, affecting a "smooth deejay" voice. He is shocked at what he hears. I don't sound like that, do I? Oh... I don't like having such a hilarious voice. -- Homer, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Bart, however, is optimistic about Homer's chances at stardom. Somewhat later, the voice auditions are going on. First up: Otto. Otto: [deridingly] Whoa-ho! A talking dog! [chuckles] What were you guys smokin' when you came up with that? Cohen: [peeved] We were eating rotisserie chicken. -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" The show goes on. Otto: [in his traditional fashion] Ruff, ruff. I'm Poochie, the rockin' dog! Myers: You're perfect! In fact, you're better than perfect! Next to you, perfection is crap! Troy: Ruff, ruff! I'm Poochie, the rocking dog! Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such cartoons as "Christmas Ape" and "Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp". Myers: You're even better than this guy! [to Otto] Take a hike, you bum. Otto: [moans] -- Easy come, easy go, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Homer: [clears throat] Ruff, ruff! I'm Poochie, the rockin' dog! Myers: Now, that's just bad. You've got no attitude, you're barely outrageous, and I don't know what you're in, but it's not my face. Next! Homer: [angry] Oh, no attitude, eh? Not in your face, huh? Well, you can cram it with walnuts, ugly! Myers: That's it! That's the Poochie attitude, do that again! Homer: Huh? I can't, I don't remember what I did. Myers: Then you don't get the job. Next! Homer: [sarcastically] Oh, I don't get the job, do I? We-ell boo-hoo! I don't get to be a cartoon dog! Myers: That's it, you've got the job! Homer: [still sarcastic] Oh, now I've got the job, huh? [quietly] Oh, thank you. -- Homer's audition, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" [End of Act I, Time: 9:20] Next up for Homer: a recording session. She smells sheep smells by the sheet shtore. -- Homer's voice check, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" A lady in the studio tells him to relax. She introduces herself: June Bellamy, the voice of Itchy & Scratchy. Homer is amazed and amused that a woman does those voices. Homer: How'd you get to be so good? June: Oh, just experience I suppose. I started out as Roadrunner. [as Roadrunner] Meep! Homer: You mean "meep-meep"? June: No, they only paid me to say it once, then they doubled it up on the soundtrack. [to herself] Cheap bastards. -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Myers gives them their scripts. Homer: Is this cartoon going on the air live? June: No, Homer. Very few cartoons are broadcast live, it's a terrible strain on the animators' wrists. -- Fighting cartoon urban legends, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Homer and Poochie are the toast of cartoon fandom. Poochie appears everywhere, even in a Kwik-E-Mart sales display (saying "Brillo Pads 98c", courtesy of Apu). Homer and June make a personal appearance at "The Android's Dungeon", which is overflowing with cartoon cognoscenti, including Doug, Benjamin, and Gary, the nerds from Homer's college days. Doug: In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a [the three nerds chuckle] magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder. June: Uh, well, uh... Homer: I'll field that one. Let me ask you a question. Why would a man whose shirt says "Genius at Work" spend all of his time watching a children's cartoon show? Doug: [embarrassed pause] I withdraw my question. [starts eating a candy bar] -- First William Shatner, now Homer Simpson..., "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Database: On the "Itchy & Scratchy" CD-ROM, is there a way to get out of the dungeon without using the wizard key? Homer: What the hell are you talking about? June: You're a lifesaver, Homer, I can't deal with these hardcore fans! -- If you can't stand the heat, stay out of a.t.s, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" CBG: [clears throat] Your attention, please. Fan: Uh, in episode... CBG: Your attention, please! -- Will we ever shut up?, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" CBG: Mr. Simpson will now be autographing 8x10 glossies of Poochie, ONE per customer. Please form a line. There will be no cutting. I'm talking to you, Mr. Cutter. [later...] CBG: [cutting through] Pardon me, look out, pardon me, excuse me, hot soup... Hi. Kindly make one out to me, and three out to my friend of the same name. -- Some of life's greatest mysteries, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" The big day has arrived. For the first episode of the new show, Our Favorite Family has invited many of their friends and acquaintances to watch. You know, Poochie's based on me... -- Barney Gumble, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Jasper: Is this seat taken, little girl? Bart: I'm not a girl! Are you blind? Jasper: Yes. -- Touche! "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Krusty appears on-screen, dressed up for the occasion, against a dark background, only lit by a dim spotlight. Krusty: Once in a great while, we are privileged to experience a television event so extraordinary, it becomes part of our shared heritage. [picture of astronaut on the moon, against American flag] 1969: Man walks on the moon. [picture of astronaut about to swing on the moon] 1971: Man walks on the moon... again. [pictures stop] Then, for a long time, nothing happened. Until tonight. -- Slow century, indeed, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Krusty gives the signal, and a packed audience of kids cheer the arrival of the Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie show. Thus begins "The Beagle Has Landed." Itchy & Scratchy are driving together. They pass signs reading "Fireworks Factory-2 Miles", then "1 Mile", then "1/2 Mile", when they pass by the surfer dog. Itchy: Look, Scratchy, it's our new friend, Poochie. Scratchy: What's that name again? I forgot. -- Rub it into the audience's heads, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Poochie introduces himself in an obnoxious rap. Scratchy: Ooh, Poochie is one outrageous dude. Itchy: He's totally in my face. -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Poochie then proceeds to a guitar "solo", driving the show further from its tracks and into some new "see how Poochie rocks" farce. When are they going to get to the fireworks factory? [starts sobbing] -- Milhouse, just like after a long division, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Moe: Can somebody tell me what the hell is going on? Midge, help me out here. Homer: Quiet! You're missing the jokes! -- I certainly am, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" The cartoon continues, as Poochie capers about in a proactive and outrageous fashion, including skateboarding and basketball -- both at once. Poochie: [hands out his hand to Scratchy for a high-five] Catch you on the flip side, dudemeisters. [Scratchy extends his arm -- Poochie withdraws his] NOT! Hey, kids, always recycle... [screams] to the extreme! Bust it! [he drives away in the sunset, past the fireworks factory] -- And thus endeth the cartoon, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Dismay. "That stunk!" says Nelson, which seems to be the general opinion, although everyone else is too tactful to say it in Homer's presence. People begin filing out. Ned: Homer, I can honestly say that was the best episode of "Impy & Chimpy" I've ever seen! Carl: Yeah, you should be very proud, Homer, you, uh... got a beautiful home here. -- High praise for... "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Nelson punches Bart on his way out, and soon the living room is empty. Homer: So, it was pretty okay, huh? Bart: Mom, can we go to bed without dinner? Marge: Yes we can. [they rush upstairs, quickly followed by three bangs of slammed doors] -- Family support, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Homer: Well, at least I liked it. Didn't I? Brain: Oh, you don't want to know what I really think. Now look sad and say "D'oh". Homer: [sadly] D'oh... -- The harshest critic, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" [End of Act II, Time: 14:42] Breakfast the next morning. Homer is wallowing in self-pity, but Lisa tries to give him solace by telling him that Poochie was "a soulless by-product of committee thinking." Lisa: You can't be cool just by spouting off a bunch of worn-out buzzwords. Bart: Don't have a cow, Lis! Marge: Bart's right. Let's none of us have a cow. -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Adds Marge, "All that matters is that the fans of the shows liked it." In the Android's Dungeon... CBG: Last night's "Itchy & Scratchy" was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured that I was on the Internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world. -- He must be an AOLoser, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Bart: Hey, I know it was great, but what right do you have to complain? CBG: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me. Bart: What? They're giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them. CBG: [pauses] Worst episode ever. -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" On "My Two Cents", Kent Brockman also pans the show's new direction. Far be it from me to gloat at another's downfall, but I have a feeling that no children are gonna be crying when this puppy is put to sleep. [laughs] -- Kent Brockman's `My Two Cents', "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Krusty, watching this report, is desperate. A meeting of the writers and producers has been called to fix the problem. Krusty: What the hell happened?! Lady: I'd attribute the product failure to fundamental shifts in our key demographic, coupled with the overall crumminess of Poochie. -- Executive answers, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Krusty continues with his bawling, begging the writers to do something. Homer comes in with his suggestions. Homer: One, Poochie needs to be louder, angrier, and have access to a time machine. Two, whenever Poochie's not onscreen, all the other characters should be asking "Where's Poochie"? Three... Myers: Great, great. Just leave them right there on the floor on your way out. -- Maybe the blingwads idea wasn't so bad after all, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Homer suspects that all may not be well, so he eavesdrops on the meeting. His face takes a shocked expression. That night, Homer tells his family what he heard. Homer: Then they said they were going to kill Poochie off! Bart: [joyful] Really?! [faking sadness] Oh, how terrible. Lisa: Yes. Terrible. -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" It's not your fault, Homer. It's those lousy writers. They make me madder than a... um... yak in heat! -- Marge, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Homer agrees. Homer: I won't let them treat Poochie like dirt anymore just because he's the new guy. Roy: Right on, Mr. S! Homer: Put a sock in it, Roy. -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" In the recording studio, Myers and company prepare to record Poochie's death scene, but Homer refuses to stick to the script as written. Instead, he wants to read some lines that he himself wrote. Myers refuses to let him, until June threatens to quit. Finally, Myers relents, and lets Homer read what he wants to. June: [in Itchy's voice] Hi, Poochie. You look like you've got something to say. Do you? Homer: [Poochie voice] Yes, I certainly do! [normal voice] Hello there, Itchy. I know there's a lot of people who don't like me and wish I would go away. I think we got off on the wrong foot. I know I can come off a little proactive, and for that I'm sorry. But if everyone could find a place in their hearts for the little dog that nobody wanted, I know we can make them laugh and cry until we grow old together. -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" "..aaand cut!" The writers and producers applaud Homer's sentiments. Some time later, the latest "I&S&P" episode is about to air. Now kids, I know you loved the old Poochie, but the new one is going to be better than ten Super Bowls! I don't want to oversell it, judge for yourselves. -- Homer, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" At an ice sculpture contest, Itchy begins cutting into Scratchy with a chainsaw. Suddenly, Poochie wanders by. Itchy: Hi, Poochie. You look like you've got something to say. Do you? Poochie: Yes, I certainly do! [Roger Myers' voice] I have to go now. My planet needs me. [the cel with Poochie on it is crudely moved upwards] [some crudely-scrawled titles move up, stating "Note: Poochie died on the way back to his home planet"] Bart: Wow, Poochie came from another planet? Lisa: Uh, I guess... -- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Homer is shocked to have been double-crossed. Krusty: Poochie's dead! [laughs] [children in the audience cheer loudly] Well kids, we all know that sometimes when cartoon characters die, they're back again the very next week. That's why I'm presenting this sworn affidavit the Poochie will never, ever, ever return! Lawyer: This document conforms to all applicable laws and statutes. [kids cheer] -- Never feer Poochie: The Next Generation, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Bart and Lisa are cheering too, but they hide it (badly) from their father. Bart: Tough break, Dad. I guess people just weren't ready for Poochie. Maybe in a few years. Roy: Good news, everybody. I'm moving into my own apartment with two sexy ladies. Marge: Oh, then I guess this is good-bye, Roy. Maybe we'll see you in a few years. -- Until he gets his own show on Fo-ox!, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Well, I guess I learned my lesson. The thing is, I lost creative control of the project. And I forgot to ask for any money. Well, live and learn. -- Homer, no longer the money-driven workaholic he once was, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" Later, Bart and Lisa are in front of the tube, watching a new Itchy & Scratchy episode, back to its traditional form. Itchy & Scratchy are doing a William Tell act. Scratchy is understandably nervous, but is relieved that the arrow strikes the exact middle of the apple. Unfortunately, it pierces the tank of Carbolic Acid that he is standing in front of. The acid streams out and instantly skeletonizes the cartoon feline. Bart: It's back to the basics, classic "Itchy & Scratchy." Lisa: We should thank our lucky stars that they're still putting on a program of this caliber after so many years. [they both stare at the tube for a while] Bart: What else is on? [Lisa changes the channel, screen goes to static] -- Switching to `3rd Rock'?, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" The Executive Producer credits go up over static. [End of Act III, Time: 21:27]


{bb} Benjamin Ball {bjr} Benjamin J. Robinson {ddg} Don Del Grande {dga} Dale G. Abersold {gb} Greg Bigoni {gg} Greg Galon {hl} Haynes Lee {jh} Jason Hancock {jk} Joe Klemm {jp} John Plasket {ljs} Liam J. Scanlan {ol} Ondre Lombard {ps} Pablo Sanchez {tg} Ted Graham {tg2} Timothy Goddard {vc} Vince Chan

Legal Mumbo Jumbo

This episode capsule is Copyright 1997 Frederic Briere. It is not to be redistributed in a public forum without consent from its author or current maintainer (capsules@snpp.com). All quoted material, episode summaries and even more "True Lies" voiceovers remain property of The Simpsons, Copyright of Twentieth Century Fox. The transcript itself is Copyright 1997 Dale G. Abersold. Provided as is, with no express or implied warantee, except that provided by the law. This work is dedicated to Raymond Chen, James A. Cherry, Ricardo Lafaurie, and all of those who made episode capsules what they are today. Many well-deserved cheers and thanks to Dave "always ready" Hall, who provided me with alt.tv.simpsons archives over two months. This capsule wouldn't be nearly as complete without his invaluable help.