Episode Twenty, Season Eight of The Simpson’s is entitled The Canine Mutiny. It originally aired on April 13th, 1997. I viewed this episode Saturday March 20th on a widescreen plasma TV at my Grandmother’s house. The couch gag for this episode is also a repeat. In this episode Bart fraudulently obtains a credit card. He makes lavish purchases, including a new dog: a collie named Laddie. When the repo men finally come to repossess Bart’s ill gotten loot he tells them that his old dog Santa’s Little Helper is the one he bought with the credit card.
While Laddie is a great dog and highly trained, Bart becomes wracked with guilt over abandoning Santa’s Little Helper. Using the new dog he tracks his old one down at the house of a blind man. When the man catches him in his house he calls the police. Bart tells the man his story and they end up trading dogs. The police arrive and Laddie sniffs out and retrieves a bag of pot from the blind man’s pocket. Chief Wiggum tells Bart to go on home and the episode ends with the police toking up with the blind man.
This is another “Bart has a soul” episode which I find odd that they would do back to back. It might have fit better if they had aired it prior to Grade School Confidential. That’s not to say that this wasn’t a good episode, just very average. The humor comes primarily from a few good gags sprinkled throughout the episode and there really is no social commentary to speak of. I suppose the moral of the story is to be grateful for what you have before you lose it. Maybe it’s just because something is new doesn’t make it better, etc.
Laddie, a male version of Lassie, is “voiced” by Frank Welker who is a voice over artist famous for his portrayal of animals of all kinds. The emotional punch for this episode comes in the form of your pity for Santa’s Little Helper (and to a lesser extent Bart). Santa’s Little Helper was a failed race dog Bart and Homer took home from the track, saving an otherwise dismal Christmas. This happened in the first season so, while he rarely plays a large role, the family dog has been a part of The Simpsons nearly as long as the family itself. It is unimaginable to think that they would ever get rid of this character permanently as he’s the only one in the family that makes Homer look smart.
Santa’s Little Helper has misbehaved and paid for it in the past, so there is little new here. But the gags are funny and that puts it at just about average.
The Simpsons Season 8 Episode #20: The Canine Mutiny
Rating: 3 out of 5