In this parody of 101 Dalmatians (both the cartoon and live-action films), Santa's Little Helper cuts a destructive path across the Simpson house, which leads him to the dog track from "Simpsons Roasting On an Open Fire," where he mates with a female dog racer named "She's The Fastest" and becomes the father of 25 greyhound pups that Mr. Burns wants for his wardrobe.
This episode contains examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: After Mr. Burns sings about how he's going to make the puppies into a suit, Bart finds himself humming the song.Lisa: Bart!
Bart: Sorry. You gotta admit, it's catchy.
- The Cameo: Nanny from 101 Dalmatians appears briefly during "See My Vest".
- Celebrity Resemblance: Mr. Burns thinks one of the dogs standing on its hind legs looks like Rory Calhoun, of all people. What makes this particularly funny is that Smithers immediately knows who Burns is referring too, despite just a vague description given.
- Chekhov's Gun: The puppies' habit of chewing on Bart's socks.
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Mr. Burns does this when scheming how to steal the puppies.
- Comically Missing the Point: Chief Wiggum doesn't suspect that the 25 puppies Mr. Burns recently "found" might be the same ones the Simpsons lost.
- Earlier, he thought they were looking for their wallet.
- Costume Test Montage: Mr. Burns while singin his Villain Song.
- Crossdresser: Bart complains that because the puppies ate his socks, he has to wear Lisa's socks to school.Homer: How do you explain the culottes, boy?
Bart: (wearing a skirt) Well, I have to coordinate, don't I?
- Cruella to Animals: Mr. Burns plans to make the dogs into a suit. He has a whole wardrobe full of clothes made from animals, and one line in his song implies that he's willing to use his human servants if necessary.
- Cuteness Proximity: Mr. Burns tries to kill the dogs, but finds that he can't bear to do so because of their Puppy-Dog Eyes. He then turns his gun towards Bart and Lisa, but they make sad faces and whine as well, and Burns relents.
- Description Cut: When Homer and Marge think about selling the puppies because they're too expensive and a hassle:Lisa: Is that what we do in this family? When someone becomes an inconvenience, we just get rid of them?!
(cut to Grampa at the retirement home)
Grampa: (picks up phone) Hello? Is anybody there?
- Did Not Think This Through: Bart hopes a litter of newborn pups will attack a bully for him.
- The Simpsons are eager to give the puppies away and Homer is left kicking himself when they realize how much those dogs were worth.
- Double Standard: The Simpsons think it's cute when one of the puppies puts its paws on the TV screen. Snowball II tries it too, and isn't so lucky.Homer: GET THAT CAT OUT OF THE WAY!! (Snowball moves and the Simpsons eye her angrily)
- Driven to Suicide: It at first appears that Homer hung himself after losing millions of dollars from giving the racing dogs to Burns. Subverted in that he's actually swatting a lightbulb in the basement.
- Escaped Animal Rampage: Kent Brockman is reading the news in front of a window:In today’s news, a two-ton rhino escaped from the Springfield zoo. But zoo officials were quick to act, and Petunia, as she is known, is safely back in captivity. [A rhino appears outside the window and attacks the audience] In other news, a three-ton rhino that escaped from the zoo last week is still at large.
- Funny Background Event: The Escaped Animal Rampage above, playing out behind an oblivious Kent.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Getting past nothing. We actually see Santa's Little Helper mounting She's The Fastest, albeit from the shoulders up (some versions do exist where the shot is not cropped and viewers do see more of SLH mounting She's The Fastest)."It looks like he's trying to jump over her but he can't quite make it."
- Bart calling She's The Fastest a "bitch," which Marge feels is wrong. However, like Bart using "bastard" to describe Homer's half-brothernote , Bart is using "bitch" right in this context, since She's the Fastest is a female dog and that's the real definition of that word. However, because "bitch" is used more as a derogatory term for a woman or a man who doesn't act manly (or to describe something that's unfair or awful, as seen in the phrase "Life's a bitch and then you die"), people rarely use the word "bitch" to mean "female dog."
- Hand Wave: Bart and Lisa escape Mr. Burns by sliding down the laundry chute. When they hit the floor, they start to run but are cut off by Mr. Burns:Bart: That's impossible! How did you get here first?!
Mr. Burns: Oh, there'll be plenty of time for explanations later. Right now, I think I'll be taking my puppies back.
- I Am Spartacus: Invoked by Bart as he makes all the puppies stand up to get closer to his socks.
- Meaningful Name: Parodied during the dog race, where Homer tells Marge he bet on She's The Fastest based solely on her name. Marge tells him that STF's name shouldn't be taken literally, but not only does STF take the lead in the race, but the announcer reveals the names of two other race dogs: "Always Comes In Second" and "I'm Number Three".
- Needle in a Stack of Needles/Shell Game: Burns has decided to spare one of the puppies after it stands up on its hind legs. Bart hides him among the other puppies to keep Burns from shooting them all. Burns tries to single him out by having him do his trick, but Bart then dangles some socks behind Burns to get all the dogs to stand up.
- Not What It Looks Like: Homer's shadow in the basement. To Marge it first looks like Homer hanged himself.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Lampshaded by Bart wondering how fast Mr. Burns and Smithers could reach the basement.
- Overly Long Gag: The puppies eating Homer's chips.
- Pet the Dog: Mr. Burns decides to spare one of the dogs because it can stand on its hind legs. He eventually spares them all.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Or rather, takes a sarcastic remark seriously:Lisa: They're [the greyhounds] our's! You stole them from us!
Mr. Burns: Here's a phone. Call somebody who cares.
(Lisa immediately dials 911)
Mr. Burns: (grabs phone) Give me that!
- See You in Hell: Subverted:Lovejoy: See you in Hell! (slams door, but pokes it back open) ...from Heaven. (slams door)
- Shadow Discretion Shot: When Homer appears to hang himself. (He's actually holding on to the rafter and swatting the lightbulb, which makes the shadow appear to be swinging.)
- Shoot the Dog: Mr. Burns is attempting exactly that but cannot bring himself to do it.
- The entire plot is a Whole Plot Reference to 101 Dalmatians.
- The song "See My Vest" spoofs "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast.
- Santa's Little Helper and She's The Fastest's date parodies Lady and the Tramp.
- One of the puppies is named The Puppy Formerly Known as Prince.
- Santa's Little Helper briefly changes his shape to squeeze out the car window.
- Skewed Priorities: When the Simpsons are supposed to be looking for the escaped Santa's Little Helper, Homer is seen at the betting window.Homer: Two bucks to win on number eight. (notices Marge; changes tone) And have you seen my beloved dog? (fakes crying) Gimme the ticket.
- Spaghetti Kiss: Parodied when Santa's Little Helper and She's the Fastest end up fighting over the strand.
- Spinning Clock Hands: As the family watch the puppies being born, after they count 24 the clock on the wall is shown spinning to a few hours later, after which the count is... 25.
- Tempting Fate: Deconstructed. All three guests to Marge's dinner are so full of praise, that it could only end in misery.
- A second example occurs later when Lisa accuses Burns of stealing the puppies. Monty hands her a phone and sarcastically tells her to "call someone who cares". Lisa promptly dials 911. (Burns yanks the phone out of her hands before the call connects).
- Touch Telepathy: Parodied. The pet shop employee mind-melds with the Simpons' dog in order to increase sales.
- Unplanned Crossdressing: Bart has to wear some of Lisa's socks because his own fell victim to the dog puppies. He's also wearing a skirt because he has to coordinate.
- Villain Song: "See My Vest".
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Anyone without a film degree any idea who Rory Calhoun was?
- Whole Plot Reference: To 101 Dalmatians.