Dog of Death

Dog of Death                                        Written by John Swarzwelder
                                                        Directed by Jim Reardon

TV Guide synopsis

Santa's Little Helper notices subsequent resentment after the Simpsons make
sacrifices to fund his life-saving operation.  Voices: Harry Shearer, Hank
Azaria, Nancy Cartwright.

Title sequence

Blackboard :- `I saw nothing unusual / in the teacher's [sic] lounge'.
              `I saw nothing unusual / in the teacher's loun' at cutoff.

Lisa's solo:- very fragmented.
              Recycled from [8[FG]09].

Driveway   :- Homer says `D'oh!' when Lisa scoots past.
              Homer says `Waugh!' when the car closes in on him.

Couch      :- Homer gets there first and lies down.
              The rest of the family arrive and sit on him.
              Homer flails his arms.
              Recycled from [8[FG]06], except that we don't hear Homer's
              muffled protests.

Didja notice...

        Also Starring
            Maggie Roswell (Miss Hoover, nurse)
            Frank Welker (Santa's Little Helper and other animals)

    ... a beer was spilled on the pool table when everyone rushed out of Moe's?
        A very expensive accident. {ajr}
    ... the woman scolding her child by the Squishee machine?
    ... Julie Kavner voiced one of the teachers?
    ... Maggie poking SLH's eyeballs?  Notice also the peas that escaped
        from Maggie's TV dinner.
    ... one of the kids in Krusty's audience is asleep, his head tilted back
        and his mouth wide open?


Ted Frank {thf}:  One of the best episodes yet.  The writing's still up to
snuff.  I was worried for a minute that OFF were going to win the lottery.

David Hyatt {dh2}:  A pretty good average episode.  Some episodes are really
``hot'', because they're really special, like the baseball episode or the
arrowsmith [sic] episode.  This was a return to normalcy, and a good one.

Alan J Rosenthal {ajr}:  I think this is a good one; not one of the best, but
definitely up there.

J. D. Baldwin {jdb}:  My personal rolling-on-the-floor-with-laughter moment
was Burns' muffled voice through his longevity chamber when he said, ``Release
the hounds!''  I have no idea why this struck me as being so funny.

Yours Truly {rjc}:  A good showing, though not classic material.  My favorite
was the dramatic music as the vet says, ``He needs an operation to correct
it... or he'll die.''

Movie (and other) References

  + Ben Casey
        - the vet
        - the eyebrows {cla}
        - the Ben Casey theme played as they drove up to the vet hospital {str}
  ~ Old Yeller
        - SLH attacks a grizzly {jcl}
        - SLH rescues a baby from a burning building
  + Michael Jackson
        - The Michael Jackson Expressway
        - Kent Brockman's pet llama
        - Monty Burns' longevity treatment
  + A Clockwork Orange
        - The brainwashing scene
            - eyes propped open as something is dropped onto them
            - showing disturbing movies
            - Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Freeze Frame Fun

Stuff atop the Kwik-E-Mart roof

   boomerangs (There ya go, Chris.  An Aussie ref.)
   Skyro flying ring
   three-armed flying thing
   a mini-Frisbee

The Springfield Shopper

   Second story: President, Rock Star To Swap Wives

The winning numbers

   For $130,000,000: 17-3-25-42-38-49
   For $40,000: 3-6-17-18-22-29

Springfield Animal Hospital

   Signs reading ``Quiet.  Hospital Zone.''
   Two lions stand guard over the entrance.
    * One's arm is in a sling.
    * The other's head is bandaged.
   In the waiting room
    * Woman (Miss Winthrop?) with poodle.
    * Man with parakeet on head and dog on leash.
    * Man with armadillo on his lap.
    * Krusty with Mister Teeny, a cigar-smoking chimp.

Books burning in the fireplace

   `The Lottery', Shirley Jackson's chilling tale of conformity gone mad
   `Fatherhood' by Bill Cosby
   `Fahrenheit 451', Ray Bradbury's novel about book burning
   `Canine Surgery'

The poster

   Candidate photos:
    Homer kicking SLH's butt
    Homer strangling SLH
    SLH shortly thereafter holding Homer's arm in his front paws
        and biting
    SLH burying Homer in a colossal pile of dirt
    SLH and Homer boxing.  SLH is on his hind legs.
        Homer appears to be losing the fight!

Lost Dog

   picture of SLH, with Homer's hands (preparing to strangle) at the edge
        of the photo.
   Phone KL5-3457

Brainwashing movie

                                                      ``Freude, schoene
    Poodle whapped with a rolled-up newspaper.          goetter-
    A water dish labeled `FIDO' is kicked.              funken
    Atom bomb detonates.                                Tochter
    Kitty plays with yarn.                              aus
    The Hindenburg explodes.                            Elysium.
    Tank runs over a doghouse.
    Dog drinking out of toilet, toilet cover            Wir
        comes down.  (*thwunk*)                         betreten
    President Johnson lifts his pet dog by the ears.    feuertrunken
        The dog reacts accordingly.                     himm-...''

Animation and continuity goofs

The lip synch is off during Bart's ``I'm going to find my dog!''  Any
guesses as to what the line originally was?

Theron Stanford {tws} points out that Burns' yard was surrounded by
bushes in ``Bart vs. Thanksgiving'' [7[FG]07] rather than a concrete wall.
Either it was a different part of the yard, or he boosted his security
arrangements after that pumpkin pie incident.

The UFA gives the Simpsons' phone number was 555-8707.

Comments and other observations


Previous episodes

    [7F14] ``Sniff that other dog's butt!''
           Ned's Assassins.
           Playing frisbee with Bart.
    [7F24] The Michael Jackson Expressway.
    [8F03] ``Have you seen my body today?''
    [8[FG]07] ``Fatherhood'' by Bill Cosby

Lottery odds

   For the odds to be 1 in 380,000,000, the lottery must be a ``6 from 83''
   drawing, for which the exact odds are 1 in 377,477,148.

Swartzwelder County

On the subject of writer John Swartzwelder and Swartzwelder County,
Story Editor Bill Oakley writes:
    This is indeed the same Swartzwelder of Swartzwelder County, and of
    several other references.  John likes to have his name appear on the
    show.  It's sort of a running joke around here.  His image appears in
    the baseball show, as one of Burns's long-dead baseball players (of
    whom no photo was available).  He is also the model for Herman, the
    owner of the military antiques store.

Quotes and scene summary

 A ridiculous state lottery advertisement.
   Employee:  I don't need your crummy job, Mr. Employer!  I've won the lottery!
   Employer:  Well, who needs employees?  I won the lottery, too!
             [two window washers descend on a scaffold, each with a huge
              bag of cash (money overflowing) at his feet]
   Window washers: We both won the lottery!
   All:       [to camera] Why don't you win the lottery, too!
   Announcer: The state lottery, where everybody wins!
              (actual odds of winning, one in 380,000,000.)
   -- Truth in advertising, ``Dog of Death''
 The gang at Moe's Tavern watch the commercial.  Moe expresses his scorn.
   Bleah.  The state lottery.  Exploiter of the poor and ignorant.
   [turns on his neon sign:  BEER IS THE ANSWER]
   -- Moe scoffs at a lottery advertisement, ``Dog of Death''
 the rest of the gang go berzerk when they hear that the payoff is $130
 million.  They rush en masse to the Kwik-E-Mart, which is a madhouse.
   [on the phone]  Bart, I need some lucky numbers, fast!
   How old are you? ...  [jots it down]  Uh huh.
   And what's your birthday? ...  [jots it down]  No kidding.
   And what's Lisa's birthday? ...   What?  You don't know your
   sister's birthday??  What kind of brother are you!
   -- Homer catches lottery fever, ``Dog of Death''
   Apu:    Snap on your bulletproof vest, Sanjay, it's time for another bank run.
   Sanjay: All right.  But if I don't make it, promise you won't sleep with
           my wife.
   Apu:    I promise nothing.
   -- Read my lips, no lewd lapses, ``Dog of Death''
 At home...
   Homer: You'll never guess what happened, Marge.  Are you ready?
          I have a feeling that we may win... the lottery!!
   Marge: But we never, ever...
   Homer: I know you're excited, but calm down and listen to me carefully...
   -- Brimming with excitement, ``Dog of Death''
 Homer wants Marge to get all her money, but Marge says the full extent
 of her lottery involvement is one ticket a week with the girls at the
 hair salon.  They each play their birthday.  During the discussion, a very
 sick Santa's Little Helper wanders past.
   Marge: Homer, we're on a tight budget, here.  Promise me you won't get
          carried away.
   Homer: Yes, money.  ...  I mean, honey.
   -- Homer catches lottery fever, ``Dog of Death''
 A news report on the lottery comes on the TV.  (``Down in front!'' yells
 Homer at SLH.  SLH collapses.)  Kent Brockman reports that every copy
 of Shirley Jackson's ``The Lottery'' has been checked out of the library.
 Nevermind that it has absolutely nothing to do with winning the lottery.
 Homer angrily tosses his copy into the fireplace.
   Kent:    But there's already one big winner:  Our state school system,
            which gets fully half the profits from the library.
   Skinner: [talking with his teachers]
            Just think what we can buy with that money...
            History books that know how the Korean War came out.
            Math books that don't have that base six crap in them!
            And a state-of-the-art detention hall [holds up a scale model]
            where children are held in place with magnets.
   Teacher: [to no one in particular]  Magnets.  Always with the magnets...
   -- ``Dog of Death''
 Homer is convinced, having bought $50 worth of tickets, that he's going
 to win the lottery.  He asks the kids what they're going to do with
 their share of the money.  Bart'll put it in the bank.  Lisa will give
 it to the poor.  (How socially responsible of her.)  Homer scoffs, ``What
 do kids know about spending money.''  Homer dreams another impossible
 dream.  I won't try to describe it.

 It's lottery time.
   Kent: We now take you to the [lottery] drawing, live.  I hope you've got
         <your> tickets.  I've got mine.
   [at the police station, everyone's watching.  The phone rings.]
   Eddie:  They're about to start, Chief.
   Wiggum: [answers the phone]  No, you got the wrong number.
           This is nine-one....two.
   -- Lottery fever, ``Dog of Death''
 Krusty and Mel take time out from their show to watch the drawing.

 The first number is 17.  Homer tears up his tickets.  Marge note that
 you can still win something for matching five of six.  The second number
 is 3.  Homer tears up the tickets again.  Grampa sighs, ``I knew we
 wouldn't win.''  Homer scolds his father for keeping this information
 to himself.
   If you were seventeen, we'd be rich!
   But nooooooooooo...  You had to be ten.
   -- Homer scolds Bart, whose age he used to select his losing lottery numbers,
      ``Dog of Death''
 The final number is drawn, and Kent Brockman realizes he's won.  He
 celebrates, then regains his composure.  ``Recapping our day's top story,
 the winner of today's state lottery is... me, Kent Brockman.  Can we get
 a shot of me?''  A picture of Kent from a few seconds ago appears.
 ``There we go.''  He sets his ticket aside and tries to continue with
 the rest of the news, but he can't stand it any more and dashes off.

 Marge, always looking on the bright side, notes, ``At least we've still
 got each other.''  Grampa announces that the dog is dead, and the family
 rush over to find a limp SLH on the kitchen floor.

 [End of Act One.  Time: 5:13]

 But the dog isn't dead.  He's just very weak.  Grampa refuses to admit
 his mistake...
   I'm tired of this conversation.  Let's talk about something else.
   I'm going home.
   -- Grampa Simpson, ``Dog of Death''
 The family take SLH to Springfield Animal Hospital, where the vet tries,
 but fails, to resuscitate a hamster with electrical heart stimulation.
 (The zapping appears to be doing more harm than good...)
 Realizing that the patient is lost, he says, ``This is the part of the
 job I hate.''  He takes the hamster and tosses it into a tiny basketball
 hoop mounted over the waste basket.

 Next up is SLH, which he diagnoses with a twisted stomach.  The life-saving
 operation will cost $750.  Homer says they'll talk about it as he carries
 SLH out of the examining room.  Bart constantly asks, ``What's there to
 talk about?''  In the waiting room is Krusty with a cigar-smoking chimp.
 ``Mister Teeny needs a refill of his nicotine gum.''

 On the ride home, Bart asks when SLH is going to have his operation, but
 Homer changes the subject...
   I want to tell you about the most wonderful place in the world:  Doggie heaven.
   In doggie heaven, there are mountains of bones, and you can't turn around
   without sniffing another dog's butt!
   -- Homer talks to Bart when SLH falls ill, ``Dog of Death''
 Homer lists some dogs in doggie heaven.
   Bart:  Is there a doggie hell?
   Homer: Well... Of course, there couldn't be a heaven if there weren't a hell.
   Bart:  Who's in there?
   Homer: Oh, uh... Hitler's dog... and that dog Nixon had, what's his name,
          um, Chester...
   Lisa:  [annoyed] Checkers.
   Homer: Yeah!  One of the Lassies is in there, too.  The mean one!
          The one that mauled Jimmy!
   -- Are there pirates in doggie hell?  ``Dog of Death''
 Bart asks, ``Wait a minute.  Does this have anything to do with SLH?''
   Marge: Honey, $750 is a lot of money.  We really can't afford this operation.
   Bart:  You're gonna just let him [SLH] die?
   Marge: I know you're upset...
   Bart:  Darn right, I'm upset!
   Marge: Bart, watch your language! ... Oh, you did.  Sorry.
   -- Save it for later, ``Dog of Death''
 Bart refuses to let them let SLH die.  He leaves, grumbling, ``Lousy,
 dog-killing, son-of-a...''

 Homer figures they'll get Bart a new dog, ``one with an untwistable
 stomach!''  SLH places his head in Homer's lap and whimpers pathetically.
 Homer eventually gives in.  ``Lousy, manipulative dog...''

 Homer pays a visit to Mr. Burns's office and asks to borrow money.
 Burns sort-of furtively summons security, who takes Homer away.
   Smithers: People like dogs, Mr. Burns.
   Burns:    Nonsense.  Dogs are idiots!  Think about it, Smithers.
             If I came into your house and started sniffing at your
             crotch and slobbering all over your face, what would
             you say?
   Smithers: ...  If <you> did it, sir?
   -- A tough question, ``Dog of Death''
 Marge catches Homer reading a Canine Surgery book and tells him he will
 not attempt the operation himself.  Homer says it's as easy as carving
 a turkey.  He then flashes back to Thanksgiving dinner, as all the
 guests shield their faces from the onslaught of lacerated turkey meat
 flying from Homer's electric knife...  He tosses the book into the

 The family are gathered around the dinner table.  Marge says she found
 a way for them to pay for the operation, but it'll entail sacrifices.
 Homer will have to give up beer, Bart will have to get his hair cut for
 free at Springfield Barber College, Marge will forego her weekly lottery
 ticket as well as stretching the food money.
   Marge: I found a way to stretch the food budget.
          Fried chicken night will now be organ meat night.
          Ham night will be Spam night.
          And pork chop night...
   Homer: [whining, fearing the worst] Oh...
   Marge: ... will now be chub night.
   Homer: Chub!?  I don't even know what that is!
   -- Neither do I, ``Dog of Death''
 Lisa won't be able to get volume 4 of Encyclopedia Generica from the
 grocery store (Copernicus to Elephantiasis), and Maggie's baby clothes
 will have to last a little longer.  (Maggie makes a muscle and her
 sleeve rips.)
   Marge, I've figured out an alternative to giving up my beer.
   Basically, we become a family of travelling acrobats!
   -- Homer's budget-saving plan, ``Dog of Death''
 The family wait in the animal hospital waiting room.
 Mr. Danielson's game cock has been saved.
 SLH goes under the knife.  The EKG goes flat...

 SLH runs down a tunnel...  ``Come to the light, boy...''
 SLH reaches the pearly gates, with its doggie door.  Then retreats...

 SLH returns to the world of the living, thanks to mouth-to-mouth

 A bandaged SLH is returned to the Simpsons.
   It's times like this I'm glad I flunked out of dental school.
   -- Veterinarian, ``Dog of Death''
 Two days later, it's ``lousy chub night''.  Homer spots SLH's dinner dish.
   Homer: Hey, how come he [SLH] gets meat and we don't?
   Marge: You wouldn't want what he's eating.  It's mostly just snouts and
   Homer: Mmmmmm...  snouts...
   -- ``Dog of Death''
 Kent Brockman's news report is somehow different.  Maybe it's the gold
 jewelry he's wearing.  Or the fur coat.
   Homer: Well, he's got all the money in the world, but there's one thing
          he can't buy.
   Marge: What's that?
   Homer: [thinks]  A dinosaur!
   -- ``Dog of Death''
 The next item is Principal Skinner receiving the lottery proceeds on
 behalf of the school system.  Springfield Elementary gets a brand new
 chalkboard eraser.  Skinner blows up, ``One eraser?  Well, I'm used to
 my government betraying me.  I was in Nam.  I served for three..''

 Kent announces this week's numbers:  3, 6, 17, 18, 22 and 29.
 Marge complains, ``If it wasn't for that dog, I would've won'' since
 those are the numbers she normally plays every week.

 Maggie's clothes fall apart, leaving her naked on the couch.

 Ms. Hoover tells the class they have to write a report on Copernicus.
 (Lisa slaps her forehead.  ``D'oh!'')

 Homer sings at Moe's Tavern for spare change.

 Bart suffers a horrible haircut at the barber college.

 SLH goes to each family member in turn.  Homer tells the dog to shove off.
 Marge is busy mending Maggie's clothes (while they're still in her back).
 Lisa is busy reading a ``third-rate biography of Copernicus'' she found
 at the bus station.  Bart just says, ``Dumb dog.''  SLH slinks away.

 In bed, Marge asks Homer if he closed the gate. ``Yes.''  We hear the
 gate swinging in the wind.  ``Oh, you mean <tonight>.''  Homer calls,
 ``Bart!  Close the gate.''  Bart yells, ``Lisa, close the gate!''  Lisa
 says, ``Close the gate, Maggie.''  Maggie lies in her crib, wearing a
 Crown Royal pouch as her baggie.

 SLH wanders out the gate, takes one last look at the house of the family
 that no longer loves him, and heads down the street.

 [End of Act Two.  Time: 14:10]

 The family call for SLH from the lawn, but he doesn't come.
 Homer:  ``Wait, there he is!  ...  No, that's a horse...''
 (Isn't that illegal? [8[FG]06])

 To the strains of Peter's Theme from Peter and the Wolf, we trace SLH's
 wanderings on a map.  He goes down Springfield River, into the woods
 (encountering a grizzly), through Swartzwelder County, rescues a baby
 from a burning house, chases a cat, and reaches the Michael Jackson
 Expressway, where he is picked up by the Springfield Dog Pound.

 Meanwhile, Marge is having trouble finding a picture of SLH in the
 photo album that she's willing to let the public see.

 Ned finishes his recycling spiel to Burns, who sarcastically says he
 can't wait to paw through his garbage.  ``Release the hounds.''  Ned's
 running shoes prove helpful.  One of the hounds (``Crippler'') is old,
 and Burns remembers the dog's hippie-nabbing during the sixties.

 Burns and Smithers look for a replacement at the dog pound, and they
 find SLH (busy sniffing another dog's butt).
   Why here's a fellow.  Wiry, fast, firm, proud buttocks.  Reminds me of me...
   -- Monty Burns selects a new attack dog (SLH), ``Dog of Death''
 Meanwhile, Homer finishes posting a huge sequence of posters of SLH,
 then walks away.  The building he posted them on is demolished.

 SLH's first lesson as an attack dog:  Neutralizing intruders.
 Smithers is dressed as a girl scout (``Wanna buy some cookies?''),
 but SLH just licks his face.
   If that were a real girl scout, I'd have been bothered by now!
   -- Burns scolds SLH, his new attack dog, ``Dog of Death''
 Lisa shows Barney a poster.
   I know how you feel.  I lost my dog, too.  He's in here somewhere...
   [a muffled whimper emerges from somewhere in his apartment]
   -- Barney can't help find SLH, ``Dog of Death''
 His eyelids propped open, SLH is forced to watch a movie.  Another
 sequence that defies description.

 The family are nearly resigned to having lost SLH forever.
   That was his dish...  And that was his leash...  And that's where he took
   a wizz on the rug... [sobs]
   -- Homer looks back on the days with Santa's Little Helper, ``Dog of Death''
   Marge: Homer, get a hold of yourself.  Even if he [SLH] <has> passed on,
          there's no reason to cry.  Remember, doggie heaven?
   Homer: Oh, Marge, there is no such place!
   Marge: Ahem.
   Homer: [spots the kids]  Or...  To put it another way...  There <is>...
   -- Yes and no, ``Dog of Death''
   Bart:  I'm not giving up.  I don't care if I have to knock on every door
          in this two-bit town.  I'm going to find my dog!
   Homer: And I'll be right here watching TV.
   -- He'll be with you in spirit, maybe, ``Dog of Death''
 Meanwhile, Burns taunts SLH into attacking him.  Success.

 A very tan Kent Brockman answers his door.
   Kent: [answering the door]  Hello, I'm Kent Brockman.
   Bart: Um, excuse me, sir.  I lost my dog.
   Kent: Mm hm.  And I suppose you want me to buy you a new one, mm?
         You know, ever since I won the lottery, everybody wants a
         piece of Kent Brockman.  Homeless this and hungry that...
   -- ``Dog of Death''
 Kent is called back in by his butler.  ``Your llama just bit
 Ted Kennedy.''  ``Good!''

 Bart rings Burns' door.  Burns is in one of those glass cases.
   Smithers: Um, I hate to interrupt your longevity treatment, sir,
             but there's a sweet little boy at the door.
   Burns:    Release the hounds.
   -- ``Dog of Death''
 The hounds are released, with SLH leading the pack.  Bart recognizes
 his dog, but the recognition isn't mutual.  Bart runs for his life
 and is cornered by SLH.  SLH leaps (in slo-mo) at Bart, then (in
 a doggie flashback) eventually recognizes his former master.
 SLH growls at the other attack dogs, who scurry away.

 SLH is back in his loving home, being petted by everyone.

 As we pull back from the Simpsons house, the following subtitles appear...
   -- Watching cartoons is also dolphin-safe, ``Dog of Death''
 [End of Act Three.  Time: 20:05]
   Episode summaries Copyright 1992 by Raymond Chen.  Not to be redistributed
   in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes themselves, of course,
   remain the property of The Simpsons, and the reproduced articles remain
   the property of the original authors.  I'm just taking credit for the

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