Episode - 4F12\\
First Aired - 2/9/1997

''TheItchyAndScratchyShow'' is in a crisis of quality, after Roger Meyers sees a slight drop-off in ratings and Bart and Lisa admit that the show is getting a bit stale, so the writers create a new character (a dog named Poochie) and hire Homer Simpson to be the voice actor. But when Poochie's in-your-face, TotallyRadical style makes the show worse, Homer must do what he can to save the new guy.
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!!This episode contains examples of:
* BaitAndSwitch: At first, Poochie's debut episode gave the impression something would happen at a fireworks factory.
* BusCrash: Poochie's fate.
* CharacterShilling: Homer suggests doing this as one way to boost Poochie's popularity.
* CoolShades:
-->'''Roger Meyers:''' He's supposed to have attitude!\\
'''Artist:''' What do you mean, attitude?\\
'''Meyers:''' You know! Attitude, attitude, uhh... sunglasses!
* ExecutiveMeddling: [[invoked]]Thoroughly parodied.
* GreenAesop: Spoofed -- "Always recycle -- '''to the extreme'''!"
* HateDumb: [[invoked]]As stupid as the Poochie ratings stunt is, the fans who complain about it get their fair share of mockery too.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: A RunningGag involving Roy:
** When Bart and Lisa learn throung the newspaper that a new character named Poochie is going to be added to ''The Itchy & Scratch Show'':
--->'''Lisa:''' Adding a new character is often a desperate attempt to boost low ratings.\\
'''Roy:''' ''(walks in)'' Yo, yo! How's it hangin' everybody?!\\
'''Marge:''' [[RememberTheNewGuy Morning, Roy!]]\\
'''Homer:''' [[RememberTheNewGuy Yeah, hi, Roy.]]
** When Homer resolves to salvage Poochie:
--->'''Homer:''' I won't let them treat Poochie like dirt anymore just because he's the new guy.\\
'''Roy:''' Right on, Mr. S!\\
'''Homer:''' [[HypocriticalHumor Put a sock in it, Roy.]]
** When Poochie is killed off:
--->'''Bart:''' Tough break, Dad. I guess people just weren't ready for Poochie. Maybe in a few years.\\
'''Roy:''' ''(walks up to the family)'' Good news, everybody. I'm moving into my own apartment with two sexy ladies.\\
'''Marge:''' Oh, then I guess this is good-bye, Roy. [[{{Irony}} Maybe we'll see you in a few years.]]
* MagicRealism: The focus group leader asks the kids if this is what they want out of ''Itchy & Scratchy'' when said kids answer with equal excitement to two proposed premises -- Itchy and Scratchy dealing with real life problems, or Itchy and Scratchy becoming DenserAndWackier. The response to the combination of the two scenarios is lukewarm.
-->'''Milhouse:''' And also, you should win things by watching.
* PutOnABus: Roy's fate.
* RememberTheNewGuy: The Simpsons' house guest, Roy.
** WhatCouldHaveBeen: Originally, Roy was supposed to appear in "Time and Punishment" from "Treehouse of Horror V" as part of an alternate reality where Homer is the father of an annoying teenager.
* ShooOutTheNewGuy: Poochie's fate. In fact, the trope was originally named "The Poochie". (Poochie would appear twice more on ''Itchy & Scratchy'', though. In the non-canon Treehouse of Horror segment "The Terror of Tiny Toon" he's promptly hit by a police car as he's skating down the street. In another short, he's at Scratchy's funeral.)
* SpoofAesop: At the end of the episode, the family and pets gather around Homer, who says, "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."
* TakeThat and BitingTheHandHumor: The entire episode is a burn against TV executives who use cheap gimmicks to keep long-running shows fresh (including putting in committee-created "cool" characters, like Poochie and the Simpsons' unexplained house guest Roy) and the fans who complain when shows either change their dynamic or start to go stale.
** Roy in particular was an explicit reference to Fox at one point having tried to convince the Simpsons writers to add a new character living with the family to "spice up the show".
* WagTheDirector: Homer attempts this in his last ditch effort to save Poochie.