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

''WesternAnimation/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.
!!This episode contains examples of:
* AnswerCut: After Poochie's debut, Marge comments that what matters is what the fans think. Cut to Comic Book Guy calling it the "Worst Episode Ever!"
* BaitAndSwitch: At first, Poochie's debut episode gave the impression something would happen at a fireworks factory.
* BusCrash: Poochie's fate.
-->''Note: Poochie died on the w[[AC:a]]y b[[AC:a]]ck to his home Pl[[AC:a]]net''
* CatchPhrase: This episode marks the first appearance of what would eventually become Comic Book Guy's signature phrase: "Worst [thing] ever."
* CharacterShilling: Homer suggests doing this as one way to boost Poochie's popularity. Poochie's debut episode has Itchy and Scratchy doing it as well.
-->'''Scratchy:''' Wow. Poochie is one outrageous dude!\\
'''Itchy:''' He's totally in my face!
* CompletelyMissingThePoint:
** Immediately after Poochie's debut, Nelson declares "that stunk!" Homer still asks and expects praise from everyone else.
** In fact, throughout the entire episode, Homer never understands that everyone but him hates Poochie, even when the evidence is staring him in the face.
* CoolShades:
-->'''Roger Meyers:''' He's supposed to have attitude!\\
'''Artist:''' What do you mean, attitude?\\
'''Meyers:''' You know! Attitude, attitude, uhh... sunglasses!
* CrossDressingVoices: In-universe, Itchy and Scratchy are both voiced by [[TalkingToHimself the same woman]].
* DescriptionCut: After Poochie's bad debut, Marge says the important thing is if the fans like it. Cue to...
-->'''Comic Book Guy:''' Last night's episode of Itchy and Scratchy was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever!
* DeniedFoodAsPunishment: Bart and Lisa do it to ''themselves'' after the disastrous ''Poochie'' opener:
--> '''Homer''': So... it was pretty okay, huh?\\
'''Bart''': Mom, can we go to bed without dinner?\\
'''Marge''': Yes we can. ''(Marge, Bart, and Lisa run upstairs)''
* EarlyBirdCameo: The female executive, who reappears in several future episodes, was later reworked into Lindsey Naegle.
* ExecutiveMeddling: [[invoked]]Thoroughly parodied.
* GeorgeJetsonJobSecurity:
--> '''Writer''': Excuse me, but "proactive" and "paradigm": Aren't these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? Not that I'm accusing you of anything like that. I'm fired, aren't I?\\
'''Roger Meyers''': Oh, yes.
* GratuitousRap: How Poochie introduces himself.
* GreenAesop[=/=]CatchPhraseToTheMax: 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.
* HopeSpot: Homer writes a moving speech that gets a round of applause from everyone in Itchy and Scratchy studios, and appears to have saved Poochie from being [[ShooOutTheNewGuy killed off]]. The dog is still killed when the episode airs, and the audience is assured that he will never come back.
* HypeBacklash: In-universe example - though Poochie's first appearance was highly anticipated by nearly everybody in Springfield, opinions on the character quickly soured after the episode where he first appeared aired.
* InkSuitActor: ''Simpsons'' staff members David Silverman, Josh Weinstein, Bill Oakley, and George Meyer cameo as members of the ''Itchy & Scratchy'' creative staff.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: A RunningGag involving Roy:
** When Bart and Lisa learn through the newspaper that a new character named Poochie is going to be added to ''The Itchy & Scratchy 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:''' Morning, Roy!\\
'''Homer:''' 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:''' ''(carrying a suitcase and a letter)'' 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.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: June Bellamy is a parody of Creator/JuneForay.
* PutOnABus: Roy's fate.
* RememberTheNewGuy: The Simpsons' teenage roommate, Roy.
** Also parodied in the ''Itchy and Scratchy Show''.
--->'''Itchy:''' Look, Scratchy. It's Poochie.\\
'''Scratchy:''' What was his name? I forgot.
* SelfDeprecation: The show's writers rip on the hardcore fans and the network, but they don't let themselves off any easier. The ''Itchy And Scratchy'' writers are {{Ink Suit Actor}}s of the real-life writers, and are depicted as lazy and inept. Marge even {{Lampshades}} that it's their fault the Poochie character sucks so much:
-->'''Marge''': It's not your fault, Homer. It's those lousy writers. They make me madder than a...yak in heat!
* ShaggyDogStory: No pun intended. Homer makes a very elaborate speech, which gets blasted down when the episode featuring this speech gets hastily edited to make it look like Poochie was really an alien who returned to his home planet and died on the way back. Homer poured his heart and soul into supporting something he liked, but no one else did, and, in the end, it was all for nothing.
** Also, he forgot to ask for any money.
* 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.)
* ShoutOut: To ''Literature/OldYeller'', when Kent Brockman discusses the aftermath of Poochie's debut:
-->'''Brockman:''' Far be it for me to gloat at another's downfall, but I have a feeling no children are going to be crying when this puppy is put to sleep.
* SocietyMarchesOn: "Rest assured that I was on internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world." Yes, believe it or not, complaining on the internet is something that only nerds used to do.
* 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".
* TalkingToHimself: InUniverse; June Bellamy does the voices for both Itchy and Scratchy.
* TheScrappy: The InUniverse treatment Poochie gets.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: InUniverse. The ''Itchy and Scratchy'' episode grinds to a halt as Poochie acts all cool and in-your-face.
-->'''Milhouse:''' [crying] When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?!
* TriviallyObvious: After the screening party, Carl tries to compliment Homer's work.
-->'''Carl:''' Yeah, you should be very proud, Homer. You, uh... got a beautiful home here.
* TookTheBadFilmSeriously: In-universe example. Homer tried as hard as he could to make Poochie work, but sadly he just had nothing to work with and the character had already earned everyone's hatred.
* UnpleasableFanbase:[[invoked]] Parodied.
-->'''Focus Group Guy:''' Now, how many of you want to see Itchy and Scratchy face real life problems, like the ones you face every day?\\
'''Kids:''' Me! Me! I would!\\
'''Focus Group Guy:''' And how many of you would like to see just the opposite? Getting into far-out situations involving robots and magic powers?\\
'''Kids:''' Me! Me! I would!\\
'''Focus Group Guy:''' (''{{beat}}'') [[HilariousInHindsight So]]... [[WesternAnimation/RegularShow You want a realistic down-to-Earth show]]... [[WesternAnimation/AdventureTime that's completely off the wall]]... [[WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty and swarming with magic robots?]]\\
'''Kids:''' Yeah, that sounds good.\\
'''Milhouse:''' And also, you should win things by watching!
* WagTheDirector:[[invoked]] Homer attempts this in his last ditch effort to save Poochie.
* WritersCannotDoMath: Invoked in-universe. In his rap Poochie says he's "Half [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Camel Joe Camel]] and a third [[Series/HappyDays Fonzarelli]]." Which only adds up to 83.3 percent.
* WritersSuck: During the conception of the Poochy character, Roger Meyers asks the writers to come up with a more proactive name than "Poochie". The writers just slack off and [[PermanentPlaceholder kept the name]].