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Recap / The Simpsons S6E20 "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds"

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Original air date: 4/9/1995

Production code: 2F18

In this parody of 101 Dalmatians, Santa's Little Helper cuts a destructive path across the Simpson house, which leads him to the dog track where Homer and Bart first found him. There he becomes mates with a female racing dog named "She's The Fastest" and fathers 25 greyhound pups. Mr. Burns adopts the puppies, but Bart and Lisa suspect he has nefarious plans.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Actually Quite Catchy: After Mr. Burns sings "See my Vest", Bart is humming the theme until Lisa scolds him.
    Lisa: Bart!
    Bart: Sorry, you gotta admit that it's catchy!
  • Adaptational Villainy: In her short cameo during "See My Vest", Nanny goes from a caring, gentle figure toward dog puppies to openly supporting Mr. Burns' plan to slaughter them and turn them into a coat. Played for Laughs of course.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Played with; Burns' initial plan to turn the puppies into a new tuxedo ends in failure thanks to Bart and Lisa, but this in turn causes him to instead train them as racing dogs, who go on to win him tens of millions of dollars, while the Simpsons are left with nothing.
  • Bait-and-Switch Suicide: In the ending we are cut to the basement where we see Homer's shadow hanging with Marge walking by, and she starts to panic. Pan over to Homer to show he is just batting a lightbulb.
  • Boring, but Practical: Even after refusing to give the puppies away to Mr. Burns, Homer suspects the old man is already plotting a brilliant scheme to get the puppies. He's half-right; Burns was plotting to get the puppies... by hand-placing them into a bag one by one while the Simpsons' backs were turned. It works, but even Smithers can't help but be disappointed by it.
    Smithers: Honestly, sir, you just don't put the effort into your schemes that you used to.
  • Buy or Get Lost: A variation is discussed early in the episode. When Santa's Little Helper jumps out of the car and runs towards the dog racetrack, Homer says: "Don't worry, as soon as they find out he doesn't have any money, they'll throw him out. Believe me, I know."
  • Call-Back: Once again, Bart takes the opportunity to use a curse word ("bitch") in its literal definition, just like he did when he discussed what he learned in Sunday school ("hell") or when he mentioned Homer's illegitimate "bastard" half-brother.
  • 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 to, despite just a vague description given (namely, ‘that person who’s always standing’).
  • Chekhov's Gun: The puppies' habit of chewing on Bart's socks. The kids later throw the socks down the chute to entice the puppies to escape Burns' wrath. (This leads to an animation goof, as Lisa is shown taking Bart's shoe and sock off, and then he appears to have removed the others, as he goes down the chute in his bare feet, and for a few of the scenes in the basement, he is still barefoot, but when he moves the clothes line, his shoes and socks are back on his feet).
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite the Simpson family adopting She's the Fastest, she never appears again after this episode.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Mr. Burns does this when scheming how to steal the puppies.
  • Clean, Pretty Childbirth: The puppies that STF gives birth to don't have any of those gross bits that you'd find on a recently born pup in real life.
  • 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 singing his Villain Song.
  • Couch Gag: In a loose parody of Time Bandits, the family chase after the couch as it slides down an endless hallway.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Santa's Little Helper gets into a greyhound racing circuit and manages to jump She's The Fastest. Bart and Lisa are confused by what's going on, with Bart thinking SLH is trying to jump over STF and can't quite make it. Marge groans and covers their eyes the moment she catches on to what's actually happening.
  • Crossdresser: Bart, sort of. He certainly seems... unhappy, to say the least about going to school in Lisa’s frilly pink socks and a pink culottes (shorts that resemble a skirt). However, he DID technically choose to wear the culottes, if only to match Lisa’s socks. Basically, one gets the impression that, given the choice, he wouldn’t opt for the culottes or socks, but, being forced to wear one, he figures he may as well wear the other. Oddly, he seems to be rather embarrassed by the socks, but almost proud of the culottes.
    Bart: (annoyed) Yeah, they ate all my socks, I have to wear Lisa’s to school today! (reveals himself to be wearing girls’ socks)
    Homer: How do you explain the culottes, boy?
    Bart: 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.
  • Cutaway Gag: 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?
  • 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.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Of 101 Dalmatians and similar stories about a family adopting a couple of puppies. The episode shows how not only are puppies usually hyperactive little hellions, they are expensive little hellions.
  • 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?
  • Didn't Think This Through: Bart hopes a litter of newborn pups will attack a bully for him.
  • Dinner with the Boss: Marge hosts a important dinner party for Reverend Lovejoy, Homer's old Army drill sergeant and the regional director of the IRS.
  • Door Handle Scare: Parodied. Bart and Lisa sneak into Mr. Burns' mansion to save their little dog puppies. When Mr. Burns tries to enter the room they are hiding in, we first see the door handle as it starts moving downward. Bart and Lisa look terrified. Then there is another shot of the handle as it slowly turns... and turns... and turns... until it has completed a full 360 degree turn. The door opening takes so long, that it gives Bart, Lisa, and the dogs time to escape through the laundry shaft.
  • 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 II moves and the Simpsons eye her angrily)
  • Dragged into Drag: Bart is forced to wear Lisa’s frilly pink socks to school after the puppies eat his own. He also has to wear an equally frilly pink skirt, apparently to ‘coordinate’.
  • Dramatic Thunder: As usual, there's a thunderstorm brewing outside Burns Manor when Bart and Lisa arrive to try and save the puppies.
  • 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.
  • Ear Worm: After Mr. Burns sings "See My Vest", Bart finds himself humming the song.
    Lisa: Bart!
    Bart: Sorry. You gotta admit, it's catchy.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bart is insulted at being blamed for Santa's Little Helper's destruction, claiming it as "mindless vandalism with none of my usual social commentary".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Mr Burns' plan fails, he initially plans to shoot all the puppies, until he realises that he can't do it due to bonding with Monty Jr. over his standing trick. He then decides to shoot Bart and Lisa, only to realise he can't do that either. He does work around it by adopting the puppies and turning them into racing dogs.
  • Funny Background Event: The Escaped Animal Rampage above, playing out behind an oblivious Kent.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In-Universe: Marge berates Bart for calling She's The Fastest a "bitch" only for Bart to counter that that's the dictionary word for a female dog. Marge vows to "write to the dictionary people to have that checked".
  • 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.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Marge and Homer suggest giving away the puppies, Bart and Lisa are upset at the idea.
    Lisa: Is that what we do in this family? When someone becomes an inconvenience, we just get rid of them?!
    (The camera zooms away to Grampa at the retirement home, sad and lonely. He picks up the phone and asks if anyone’s there. Of course, there isn’t.)
  • I Am Spartacus: Invoked by Bart as he makes all the puppies stand up to get closer to his socks.
  • Innocent Swearing: Deliberately invoked by Bart to get away with saying a... certain word.
    Bart: Me and Santa's Little Helper used to be a team. But he never wants to play any more since his bitch moved in.
    Marge: (aghast) Bart! Don't ever say that word again!
    Bart: Well, that's what she is! I looked it up.
    Marge: Well... I'm going to write to the Dictionary people to have that checked! Feels like a mistake, to me.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: The regional director of the IRS who comes to Marge's dinner party. He's so impressed by how problem-free the evening has been that the IRS will not audit the family (until the puppies ruin the evening).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Lisa doesn't want to sell Burns the puppies because she's afraid he'll treat them badly, but when he steals them anyway and she and Bart spy on him cooing over the dogs as he gives them a bath, she starts to think he might be a good owner for them after all, but it wasn't until she finds out that Burns wants to skin most of the puppies for a tuxedo. In the end, Burns decides to abandon his tuxedo plan, as he happily raises all the puppies as racing dogs so that they can win millions of dollars for him.
  • 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: 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.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction: When Santa's Little Helper has sex with She's The Fastest, the race track announcer can only bring himself to say: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the end. This is the end of dog racing."
  • No More for Me: Upon seeing so many puppies, Snowball II tosses away a catnip bag.
  • Not Me This Time:
    • Lisa, Marge, and Homer wonder who was causing various problems within the house lately (such as tearing up all her test papers, a broken vase, and spreading garbage all over the neighbor's yard before Homer got the chance to, respectively). Bart quips that he was this time innocent of these, and felt they were simply senseless destruction without any of his usual commentary. Turns out, it was the dog, who was continuing his path of destruction even in the room where they were located discussing what's happening.
    • When they discover some stuff buried underneath the house (specifically, Lisa's bongo drums, Bart's strobelight, and Homer's "best of Ray Stevens featuring 'The Streak'" record) Homer guessed that it was the dog that buried all of their stuff. Marge's response to Homer implies that it was in fact she who buried at least one of the items that Santa's Little Helper uncovered.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Homer's shadow in the basement. To Marge it first looks like Homer hanged himself.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Bart and Lisa try to escape from Mr. Burns by dropping down a laundry chute he's too big to fit into. But when they land in his mansion's basement, he's already waiting there with a gun.
    Bart: That's impossible! How did you get here first?
    Mr. Burns: Oh, there'll be plenty of time for explanations later.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Homer is upset over something that happened to Flanders because he didn't have a chance to do it himself.
  • Opposites Attract: Notorious dead-last finisher Santa's Little Helper gets together with his replacement She's The Fastest, a dog who lives up to her name.
  • Overly Long Gag: The scene where Homer tries to eat chips which are repeatedly stolen from his hands by the greyhound puppies. This happens eight times, and the first four are recognizably the same footage as the second four, except for Homer saying "This time," before the last one.
  • 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.
  • Recycled Animation: The shot of the "BURNS MANOR" sign when Bart and Lisa arrive there is reused from "Rosebud".
  • Sarcasm Failure: Burns trying to being sarcastic fails when Lisa takes advantage of his temporary possession of the Idiot Ball when he gave her his phone.
    Lisa: They're [the greyhounds] ours! 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.)
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
    • Bart seems embarrassed by having to wear Lisa’s socks to school... only for the camera to reveal he’s also wearing a skirt. Turns out he willingly put the skirt on.
  • Song Parody: Mr. Burns sings "See My Vest", which is a parody of "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast and in which Burns expresses his desire of turning animals into clothes.
  • 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.
  • Spoof Aesop:
    Lisa: Well, Mr. Burns, I hope you've realized the folly of killing innocent animals for fashion.
    Burns: Oh, I have! I have! I swear I'll never wear any clothing made from an animal...that can do an amusing trick.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Homer finds his Ray Stevens album buried in the yard, he assumes Santa's Little Helper did it. Marge hesitates before playing along with his assumption.
  • Surprise Litter of Puppies: The Simpsons are caught off-guard when She's The Fastest starts delivering her pups. Marge apparently thought She's The Fastest was just getting fat now she wasn't racing.
  • 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 Mr. Burns of stealing the puppies. Burns hands her a phone and sarcastically tells her to "call someone who cares". Lisa promptly dials 911. Burns quickly yanks the phone out of her hands before the call connects.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After Homer noted that Mr. Burns is dangerous to the puppies, he, Marge, and Lisa simply walk away from the unsupervised box containing all puppies while Mr. Burns came back and stole each one of them behind their backs. Smithers criticizes Mr. Burns for using such a simple scheme.
  • Touch Telepathy: Parodied. The pet shop employee mind-melds with the Simpsons' dog in order to increase sales.
  • The Trope Formerly Known as X: One of the puppies is named "The Puppy Formerly Known as Prince".
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: Downplayed and semi-Subverted. Bart is left wearing a frilly pink skirt and equally frilly pink socks after the puppies eat his clothes. However, it turns out it was only his socks that were eaten, and he is willingly wearing the skirt to match his socks. Oddly, he seems to be rather embarrassed by the socks, but almost proud of the skirt.
    Bart: (annoyed) Yeah, they ate all my socks, I have to wear Lisa’s to school today! (reveals himself to be wearing girls’ socks)
    Homer: How do you explain the culottes, boy?
    Bart: (cheerily, wearing a skirt) Well, I have to coordinate, don't I?
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Anyone without a film degree, any idea who Rory Calhoun was? Obscure references are something of a Running Gag for Mr. Burns.
  • Villain Song: "See My Vest" is about how Burns have killed many, many animals to make a whole wardrobe of exotic clothing.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Burns names the dog he chose to keep "Little Monty," after himself.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She's The Fastest was never seen again after this episode.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To 101 Dalmatians. The puppies watching television and Burns' plan to make them into a coat are from the film, though his song is from a different Disney property.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Bart happily goes to school in Lisa’s frilly pink skirt, proudly commenting about how it matches his equally pink and frilly socks
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: After being unable to kill the puppies, Mr. Burns turns his gun on Bart and Lisa. Due to their innocence and cuteness he is unable to hurt them, despite his anger.
  • You Need to Get Laid: After Santa’s Little Helper mates with She’s the Fastest after days of acting weird, Homer remarks, “Aw, so that’s what’s been wrong with the little fella: he misses casual sex!”