Episode - 4F12
First Aired - 2/9/1997The Itchy & Scratchy Show
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, Totally Radical
style makes the show worse, Homer must do what he can to save the new guy.
This episode contains examples of:
- Bait and Switch: At first, Poochie's debut episode gave the impression something would happen at a fireworks factory.
- Bus Crash: Poochie's fate.
- Character Shilling: Homer suggests doing this as one way to boost Poochie's popularity.
- Cool Shades:
Roger Meyers: He's supposed to have attitude!
Artist: What do you mean, attitude?
Meyers: You know! Attitude, attitude, uhh... sunglasses!
- Executive Meddling: Thoroughly parodied.
- Green Aesop: Spoofed — "Always recycle — to the extreme!"
- Hate Dumb: As stupid as the Poochie ratings stunt is, the fans who complain about it get their fair share of mockery too.
- Remember the New Guy: The Simpsons' house guest, Roy.
- What Could Have Been: 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.
- Shoo Out the New Guy: 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.)
- Take That and Biting-the-Hand Humor: 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".
- Wag the Director: Homer attempts this in his last ditch effort to save Poochie.