In a flashback, as Minka, Zoe, Pepper, Sunil, and Vinnie are playing around in the Littlest Pet Shop's day camp, Mrs. Twombly enters the room and introduces Russell to the other pets. Hiding behind Mrs. Twombly's ankles, he nervously emerges out and voices his concerns about the safety of the room. As the other pets crowd excitedly around Russell, Russell points out that hedgehogs are not rodents, falling on deaf ears. As soon as Mrs. Twombly leaves the room, Vinnie and Sunil zip on over, with Vinnie admiring Russell's "rodent fur," Zoe in awe of his "rodent nails," and Minka looking into his "giant beady rodent eyes," though Russell asks how eyes can be both beady and huge. With that aside, Pepper announces that Morning Mayhem would begin, and all of the other pets start dashing around full speed everywhere as Russell watches. Horrified, he asks them if someone could get hurt doing so, but Sunil reassures him that nothing will go wrong. Having relaxed a bit, Russell steps forward to join in on the fun, only to step on a loose floorboard, which springs back up to propel him up against a wall. The other pets run over to Russell as he collapses to the floor. When Pepper asks if he's okay, Russell vows, to the other pets, to never behave unsafely again.
In the present, an ice cream truck zooms past the Littlest Pet Shop as a little girl lets go of her balloon and runs after the truck, dragging her father with her. Minka, in the day camp, finishes her painting, but Russell comes over and criticizes her lack of safety because her paints are disorganized. Minka doesn't take it seriously, but Russell warns her that Vinnie may trip on her paints. Russell looks away to see Pepper throwing her comedy props all over her immediate area and runs over in concern. Pepper, seeing Russell has come over, shows him the live chicken she found in the prop chest. Russell, unimpressed, calls her props scattered on the floor a hazard for the entire room. As he walks away, Sunil shows his myserious magical box to Russell, but Russell simply says that the box's corners are too pointy. Leaving Sunil staring at his box somewhat confused, Russell walks away, only to step on the loose floorboard again and slam up against the wall. Russell makes a personal reminder to fix it eventually when Blythe enters the room with a new guest for the day. He introduces himself as Harold Winston, though in identifying his own species, Harold pronounces "Rodentia" as "Rodentianata" and ignores Russell's attempts to correct him. Harold, however, does correctly identify Russell as a hedgehog, and Russell correctly identifies Harold as a groundhog.
As Blythe leaves the room, she says "Carpe diem," which Harold claims is German. Russell attempts to point out that it's Latin, but he gets brushed aside by Vinnie admiring Harold's "real rodent fur," Zoe in awe of his "real rodent nails," and Minka looking into his "real giant beady rodent eyes." Harold proudly takes it all in as Russell tells Minka, once again, that eyes can't be both beady and giant at the same time. Russell gets interrupted, however, by Harold proclaiming groundhogs being the most famous among "Rodentianata," but as Russell tries to say that rats are more famous, the other pets run past him to admire Harold some more.
Later, Zoe sings for the other pets, and when she finishes, Harold yells "Timber!" standing right next to Russell, startling him. When Russell tells him he thought a tree was falling, Harold is quick to tell Russell that yelling "Timber!" is a customary way to appreciate a singer's timbre. Before Russell can truly call out Harold, he sees the other pets yelling "Timber!," to Russell's bewilderment.
Harold then demonstrates the "underwater elephant step," which will supposedly improve Vinnie's dancing. Russell soon shows up and starts arguing with Harold that it isn't a real dance move, but Sunil pulls him aside, asking Russell why he's so rude to Harold. Harold, seeing this, tells Sunil and the others to forgive Russell as he means no offense but refers to Russell's claims as misguided. Russell reminds Harold that he claims tree frogs are made of wood, implying that Harold is the only misguided one, but as Russell walks off, he steps on the loose floorboard again, sending him flying into the armchair.
Russell retreats to the front room next to Blythe, banging his head against the counter. Russell frustratedly explains to Blythe that Harold constantly gets his facts wrong—and to prove that these people like Harold are insufferable, he can cite his sources. Russell also tells Blythe that he'd rather the day be done so he doesn't have to deal with Harold anymore, but Blythe warns him that he shouldn't desire to remove a day away because once it's gone, it's gone forever. Russell is fed up enough to want it anyway though.
He walks back into the day camp, where Minka is painting and overhears Harold talking about how artists used to prop their canvases on weasels and how magicians used to pull hats out of rabbits. When he sees Penny Ling chewing on a stick of bamboo and says that the best bamboo comes from Indiana, Russell gets fed up and exclaims that he actually means "India," not "Indiana." Pepper, concerned about Russell, tells him to stay quiet if he can't say anything nice. To Russell's relief, he hears Blythe tell Harold that his owner's here and that it's time for him to go. Russell excitedly escorts Harold to the exit as Sunil talks about how much he'll miss Harold. Russell, however, happily says that he'll never have to see Harold again, when he steps on the loose floorboard again and slams into another wall.
Night becomes morning in Downtown City. An ice cream truck zooms past the Littlest Pet Shop as a little girl lets go of her balloon and runs after the truck, dragging her father with her. Russell walks by, in relief that he can live his life without Harold when Blythe comes in, gives the very same introduction to Harold, and Harold incorrectly identifies his species taxonomically again, to Russell's confusion and terror. Russell dumbfoundedly asks Harold what he's doing in the day camp, but Penny tells Russell he's acting rude and Vinnie says that Russell and Harold have never met before. Russell tells to everyone that he was just here the previous day, but Zoe simply says to Harold that Russell doesn't normally act so abrasively. Harold, unbothered, walks off with Zoe and tells her that the lesser hogs have little patience, and Russell takes offense at being called a "lesser hog."
Zoe demonstrates her singing, and when she finishes, Harold comes by and yells "Timber!" Russell tries in vain to tell the others they've already done all of this, but no one else knows what he's talking about. Russell sees everyone else shouting "Timber!" to Zoe, following Harold's lead anyway, ignoring Russell. Then, Harold teaches the underwater elephant step to Vinnie. Russell comes up and identifies it as such, and Harold is impressed that Russell is familiar with it. At this point, Russell is convinced there is some kind of prank being played on him, but it becomes clear from the other pets' annoyed expressions that they're not. Walking away to think, he steps on the loose floorboard and crashes into the tire swing.
Russell explains to Blythe that he thinks he's living the same day as before, but Blythe says that it sounds crazy. Russell responds that she's talking to a hedgehog, so Blythe decides to take Russell's word for it. Going with it all, Blythe tells Russell to treat this repeated day as a second chance to get to know Harold better and to try to get along with him. Russell has grown too annoyed at Harold to forgive him so easily though.
An ice cream truck zooms past the Littlest Pet Shop as a little girl lets go of her balloon and runs after the truck, dragging her father with her. Russell observes Zoe singing and the other pets yelling "Timber!" from a distance, as he does with Harold's dancing and Minka's painting. Not sure what's going on, he paces forward, only to step on the loose floorboard, sending him into the tree. Exasperated, he turns to Blythe, who suggests that it may be Russell's chance to fix things. Russell puts on a headband and takes out his clipboard and gets to work: He tightens the screws on the slide, lines up Minka's paint cans, puts all of Pepper's comedy props back in the chest, sands down the corners of Sunil's box, and fixes the loose floorboard. As he's finished, Blythe calls for Harold to leave, and Russell feels relieved that the day is over.
Night becomes morning in Downtown City. Russell looks out the window looking forward to the day, but after he leaves, the familiar ice cream truck and the red balloon pass by. Russell calmly and confidently makes conversation with Vinnie, but when he sees Blythe drop Harold off, Russell goes insane and loudly proclaims that Harold's not supposed to be here. Blythe asks Russell if he's okay and if she should call a vet, but Russell figures nothing matters anymore and lets go of all his inhibitions, venting his frustration by destroying everything in sight. Everyone genuinely concerned, Blythe goes over to call a vet to deal with Russell ans Russell finds an outlet cover on the floor and threatens the other pets with it. Harold slowly walks over and attempts to negotiate, and though he successfully gets Russell to put the outlet cover down, Russell runs off elsewhere saying that he'll relive the day over and over no matter what. Harold says that he knew a hedgehog in Peru who behaved his he did, but Russell calls him out one more time, that hedgehogs are not native to the Americas. Harold asks about what Russell is doing in North America, which quiets Russell up. Harold tells the other pets to leave him alone for the time being.
An ice cream truck zooms past the Littlest Pet Shop as a little girl lets go of her balloon and runs after the truck, dragging her father with her. In the day camp, Russell watches, in bored annoyance, Zoe dancing and everyone shouting "Timber!" and aplauding. As Zoe walks by, Russell asks to borrow her MP3 player so he can listen to her music. The following (repeated) day, Russell asks to borrow Zoe's music again. He continues to spend repeated days listening to Zoe's music until he learns to sing and dance "Dance Like You Know You Can" by heart. Once mastered, he beckons Zoe to come perform as a duet, and they get joyous applause and shouts of "Timber!" from the other pets, including Harold. An elated Zoe gives Russell her compliments, and Russell explains that he has learned why Zoe likes singing so much and has gained a new appreciation for it.
An ice cream truck zooms past the Littlest Pet Shop as a little girl lets go of her balloon and runs after the truck, dragging her father with her. Russell delightedly watches Vinnie dance, and after an unspecified number of tries, is able to accompany Vinnie in a synchronized number. Russell moves on to Pepper next, working with her until he can fluidly partner with her for two-person gags. Russell goes climbing with Minka, snacking and chatting with Penny, and pulling himself out of Sunil's hat, complete with a Sunil-like mistake.
Russell goes over to Blythe and contentedly says that reliving his day through numerous iterations has allowed him to understand and appreciate the other pets more. Though Blythe asks if Russell is feeling okay, Russell reassures her that he's never felt better. Blythe acknowledges Russell is stuck in a time loop, or plays along, and wonders about the key to escaping the time loop. Before she can say what it is, Russell cuts her off and says that it's probably to get along with Harold. Blythe asks Russell how he know she'd say that, and Russell answers that it's because he heard her say it before, and this time, he'll give her advice a try.
An ice cream truck zooms past the Littlest Pet Shop as a little girl lets go of her balloon and runs after the truck, dragging her father with her. As Harold gets dropped off, Russell steps up to greet him directly. This time, Russell ignores Harold's "Rodentianata" remark and finds out that Harold was going to compliment Russell afterwards, calling him "marvelous." Sunil and Vinnie escort Harold away when Russell chases after the three of them, grabbing Harold's foot and making him collapse. Zoe and Sunil call Russell out for potentially hurting Harold, but Russell shows and inadvertently demonstrates that Harold was about to step on the loose floorboard, and Russell goes flying, crashing into the plastic tank. The other pets gather around Russell, but he tells them he's fine. As Harold helps Russell get up, Harold talks about how most pet shop injuries are preventable, which Russell confirms. Harold, however, admits that he sometimes gets factoids wrong as he reads so many of them. Russell compliments Harold on his concern for safety, to which Harold lets Russell know that loose floorboards particularly annoy him. To that end, the two of them hammer down the floorboard together until Russell can step on it without it moving.
Russell and Harold discuss factoids, with Russell, though still skeptical, far more civil and polite than before. Their conversation is interrupted, however, by Blythe announcing that Harold has to go home. Russell says goodbye expecting to see him again tomorrow, but Blythe informs Russell that Harold is only there for the day. Russell walks away, not entirely convinced.
In front of the Littlest Pet Shop, there is no ice cream truck, little girl, her father, or a red balloon. Russell asks the other pets if anyone has seen Harold, but they reply back that Harold was only there for the previous day. Russell realizes, from those statements, that the time loop is over and he is experiencing the following day, though he laments that he'll miss Harold, despite Harold getting his facts wrong.
Russell heads to Blythe to speak with her about how he's sad to see yesterday gone, as he learned so much about all of his friends. He also vows to not get frustrated with any day camper again. Blythe is glad to hear it, as she lets Russell know about this day's guest: A parakeet named Crash Dangerfeather, who's been banned from at least three other locations for her recklessness. Russell soon regrets what he says when Blythe walks off, requesting Russell to show this new guest around.
This episode contains examples of (YMMV entries go here):
- Accidental Misnaming: It takes a couple of tries from Mrs. Twombly to remember Russell's name, calling him "Russet" and "Ruffles" at first.
- Accordion Man: Russell trapped within a spring after getting embedded in the armchair.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Russell says that there are no hedgehogs native to the Americas, Harold asks how Russell came about. (Russell does not think about how, as a pet, he's domesticated and likely had ancestors imported from another continent, and he also assumes the hedgehog from Peru is feral.)
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Russell exclaims Blythe's "What the huh?" when he first sees his day repeat.
- Captain Obvious: How the other pets see Russell when he talks about it being the following day.
- Character Development: Russell begins the episode rather distant to his friends, more concerned about their safety than being a good friend to them. The purpose of the time loop, it seems, is to get him to open up and understand them better. This leads to...
- Compressed Vice: Russell is unusually cold and serious at the beginning of this episode, despite most episodes showing that, while he is obsessed with keeping everything tidy and safe, he is usually smiling and willing to have some fun when the opportunity presents itself. In other episodes, he often even demonstrates the same level of recklessness as the other pets, as in "Sweet (Truck) Ride" and "Feud for Thought."
- Consummate Liar: Harold is able to convince everyone of his grossly inaccurate factoids except Russell, which frustrates Russell to no end.
- Continuity Nod: In the Cold Open, Vinnie still has his tap shoes. Pepper also looks like how she was in the flashback in "Lotsa Luck" before getting braces. Penny Ling is absent from the Cold Open as well, as it was established in "Frenemies" that she was the last pet to join the group. (This sequence, incidentally, establishes Russell as the sixth.)
- This is another episode where Russell witnesses something and nobody believes him.
- Zoe is seen singing "Dance Like You Know You Can."
- Harold refers to Vinnie as "Vincent." In "Littlest Bigfoot," Vinnie is shown taking great offense to being called "Vincent," showing how much he's warmed up to Harold.
- Russell retreats in Act 2 via a Spin Dash.
- Russell had previously gone off the deep end and made a mess of the day camp in "Russell Up Some Fun."
- Delusions of Eloquence: Harold sometimes adds syllables to words. He consistently pronounces "Rodentia" as "Rodentianata." Later, he refers to India as Indiana and says that hedgehogs are part of the Spinyfluffidae family.note
- Department of Redundancy Department: Russell, in Act 2, calls Harold an "insufferable suffermeister."
- Dramatic Irony: Briefly. On the morning of the third repeated day, Russell looks out the window and leaves, and the viewer sees the ice cream truck and the red balloon, indicating the days will continue to repeat.
- Easily Forgiven: Subverted. Harold has become such a pest to Russell that he refuses to forgive Harold. It takes until Act 3 for Russell to accept having to live with Harold, and Russell dedicates the remainder of the episode on trying to find peaceful ways to coexist with him.
- Establishing Shot: To denote the beginning of the day, there is a shot of the front of the Littlest Pet Shop with an ice cream truck, a little girl with a red balloon, and her father. This shot would later be shown from different angles or gets truncated, but always means Russell is reliving the day again. The final establishing shot shows the front of the Littlest Pet Shop in the same angle as the first establishing shot, only with no ice cream truck, indicating it's finally the following day.
- Eye Twitch: On the very last scene, when he has to deal with Crash Dangerfeather and her unsafe behavior without getting angry at her.
- Feigning Intelligence: Harold will never admit to not knowing something, and when called out on, will lie to save face. This drives Russell up the wall.
- Flashback: The Cold Open is set some time in the past, when Russell was introduced to the Littlest Pet Shop.
- Foreshadowing: Harold is, so far, the first character on the show to recognize Russell as a hedgehog immediately. All other characters prior, including Blythe, think he was some other animal, most commonly a porcupine. In addition, though Harold notably pronounces "Rodentia" wrong, he gets "Sciuridae" correct. These are hints that Harold, despite his Feigning Intelligence, is not as dumb as Russell thinks he is.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Complete with a groundhog.
- Head Desk: Russell is shown doing this after several attempts to correct Harold have failed, and Harold's misinformation is spreading around the other pets.
- Head Pet: In the flashback, Vinnie is frequently shown sitting on Sunil's head.
- Heroic BSoD: Happens to Russell on the third repeated day, when he thought he made efforts to fix everything but the day still repeats.
- High-Pressure Emotion: On the first repeated day, Russell gets so mad at everyone else instantly taking a liking to Harold and his mistruths that his head goes red and steam shoots out his ears. This becomes an Idiosyncratic Wipe (see below).
- Idiosyncratic Wipes: Springs and cotton stuffing fall in Act 1.
- Later into Act 1, the wall Russell slams into breaks apart to reveal the next scene.
- In Act 2, the steam coming out of Russell's ears clears away to show Zoe singing.
- Smoke from crashing into the tire in Act 2 transitions to Russell speaking with Blythe on the first repeated day.
- On the second repeated day, Russell himself is a partial wipe, stopping at the left edge of the screen watching Minka paint.
- Russell's clipboard goes by as he tidies up the day camp room, making it safer.
- The ice cream truck passes by repeatedly in Act 3 after Russell first asks to borrow Zoe's MP3 player, each time indicating that it's the following iteration of the day.
- After performing a magic trick with Sunil in Act 3, purple magic smoke rises up.
- Russell's soft hammer zooms by in Act 3 before Russell and Harold fix the floorboard together. Once they're done, they high-five each other with the hammers, leading to the next scene.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Harold, though Russell finds out in Act 3 that Harold isn't an idiot and is genuinely well-informed in certain subjects, and he does care deeply about those around him.
- Laughing Mad: When Russell figures nothing matters anymore and makes a mess of the day camp.
- Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Subverted. Harold doesn't pull out statistics until Act 3, and Russell believes they are correct.
- Limited Wardrobe: For some reason, Blythe is shown wearing the exact same set of clothes on two consecutive days, despite her usually changing clothes every day, sometimes multiple times in a day.
- Literal-Minded: On the second repeated day, Blythe suggests for Russell to do some fixing. She likely means getting along with the other day campers, but Russell takes it to mean making the room safe.
- Messy Hair: Parallels with Russell's deteriorating mental state.
- Nice Hat: Russell used to have a baseball cap with a lightning symbol on it. Zoe's previous beret was a light pink, and Sunil wore a helicopter beanie. In the present, Sunil spends much of the day wearing his top hat.
- Noodle Incident: A subtle one here: In the past, Sunil was just as reckless, fearless, and energetic as all of the others, hinting that something happened to him to make him the nervous wreck he is now.
- Note to Self: To fix the floorboard.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Not so much an accent, but during the flashback, when young Russell is telling Minka eyes can't be beady and giant he speaks in his older voice rather than the higher voice he was using before.
- Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: In Act 3, Russell pulls himself out of Sunil's top hat.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: During Russell's meltdown in Act 3 regarding hedgehogs in Peru.Russell: There. Are no. Hedgehogs. NATIVE! TO! THE AMERICAS!!!
- Running Gag: The loose floorboard, which seems to only affect Russell and usually ends a scene. In addition, everyone ignores Russell's attempts to correct them.
- Sanity Slippage: Russell goes from annoyed to furious to insane through Acts 1 and 2. He then calms down and accepts his circumstances in Act 3. This is the furthest down the deep end he has gone, or anybody else in this series for that matter, as Blythe, upon seeing Russell at the nadir of his mental states, seeks medical help, which she had never done before—she otherwise has always resorted to direct counseling.
- Shaped Like Itself: Vinnie points out that "yesterday" is in the past because it's the day that was "yester."
- Shout-Out: Besides the Whole Plot Reference explained below:
- This episode shares its title with the 2009 film In the Loop.
- Russell's fixing the room is reminiscent of the training in Rocky.
- Crash being kicked out of three day camps thus far may be a reference to Short Cuts, where a character is claimed to be wanted in three states.
- "As this dog is my witness, I will never be unsafe again!"
- Shown Their Work: Russell points out, in the Cold Open, that hedgehogs are not rodents. This would be repeated later when Winston calls Russell a rodent (and gets the taxonomic order name wrong). Winston, however, does pronounce "Sciuridae" correctly, the family of mammals that includes groundhogs.
- Standard Snippet: The ice cream truck plays Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer."
- Stutter Stop: In the flashback, Russell was shown to have a pretty bad stuttering problem. It was resolved between then and now, as he rarely ever stutters in the present.
- Super OCD: Goes overboard with it in Act 1 and initially thinks the solution to getting out of the time loop is to be even more cautious.
- Team Mom: Blythe, as usual. She advises Russell to not wish a day away, as if she knows something supernatural will happen. In Act 3, she also provides Russell with the probable (and correct) solution to getting out of the time loop: To become friends with Harold. It is unclear if Blythe is aware of the existence of time-based curses, however—while she has trouble believing Russell's circumstances, some of her dialogue in Act 1 hint that comparatively weird time-based things have happened to her before.
- Tempting Fate: Russell wishes that the day would end so he doesn't have to deal with Harold anymore. What ensues is him having to relive the same day again and again until he can get along with Harold. That being said, Blythe does warn him that nothing good can happen by wanting to excise a day out of one's life.
- This Cannot Be!: Russell utters this (well, "This can't be!" anyway) when he sees Harold getting dropped off at the Littlest Pet Shop for the fourth time.
- Training Montage: Russell going around making the day camp safer is played out in this way, with 80's sounding music and him climbing the armchair like a set of stairs.
- Visual Gag: A bat is shown in the day camp room solely to complement Vinnie's comment about Russell going batty.
- Wheel o' Feet: When all the other pets run off to start their Morning Mayhem.
- Russell does so dragging Harold along in Act 1 when it's time for Harold to leave.
- There is one more instance in Act 3 when Russell chases after Sunil and Vinnie to prevent Harold from stepping on the loose floorboard.
- Whole Plot Reference: Of Groundhog Day. This episode also mirrors the film's complete lack of explanation on why the day keeps repeating, as well as the solution being to understand his friends better. Of course, because this is a family program, Russell never contemplates suicide the way Bill Murray's character did.