Bart's Dog Gets an F

Bart's Dog Gets an F                                       Written by Jon Vitti
                                                        Directed by Jim Reardon

TV Guide synopsis

Tracey Ullman is the voice of a dog-obedience schoolmarm as Bart has the
grumps, Lisa the mumps, and Homer new $125 sneakers---until the family dog
gets hold of them.  Other voices include Harry Shearer.

Title sequence

Blackboard :- `I will not sell school / property'.
              `I will not sell schoo' at cutoff.

Driveway   :- no oil on the driveway.
              Homer does not shake his fist at Bart.
              Homer says `D'oh!' when Lisa scoots past.

Couch:     :- All fit, including the pets.

Didja notice...

  ... Tracey Ullman provided the voice of the obedience trainer,
      Miss Winthrop?
  ... the Nev-R-Break dog collar that broke?
  ... While Sylvia Winfield is on the phone, Santa's Little Helper gets
      out of the pool, shakes himself dry, then jumps back in?
  ... at work, Homer kept his feet over the monitors?
  ... the studly way Marge threads a needle?
  ... the ad campaign for the sneaker was `Assasins:  Join the Conspiracy'?
  ... Homer's vanity sneaker license plate reads... `Homer'?
      (Ned's was `Ned'.)
  ... the camera angle from inside Lisa's mouth at the doctor's office?
      [Let's see you do <that> with human actors!]
  ... the Killer Babysitter on the news?
  ... Krusty the Klown is on the Joe Franklin Show?
  ... Nancy Cartwright provided the voice of the Big Cookie girl?
  ... not only did Homer say `macamadamia', but he also spelled it that
      way on his note?  (It also took him ten minutes write the note.
      He started at 8:55 and ended at 9:05.)
  ... Miss Winthrop was reading `JOCO', the Journal of Canine Obedience?

  ... the original airing was cut to make room for `Deep Deep Trouble'?

Dave Hall ( also points out:
  ... the `NEW-R-BREAK' dog collar cost 89 cents.
  ... the red light flashing on the console behind Homer.
  ... Jacques has also enrolled his poodle at Canine College.
  ... There appears to be a "Itchy" (or is it Scratchy?) painting above the
      fireplace in the T.V. soap scene.
  ... when Homer shows off his `Assassin' sneakers, there appears to be a
      hyphen separating the `A'. (Think about it.)
  ... when Homer brings his `Assassins' back, a man in the background, under
      the `Kick Boxing' sign", gives a karate kick to another man.  Note the
      next sign says: `Street Crime'.
  ... the Salesperson sort of reminds me of Side-Show Bob, or that guy from
      `Eraser Head'.
  ... the dog buyer does something with his left hand that causes SLH to yelp.

Movie (and other) references

       - When we switch to the dog's point of view, we hear a little
         explosion sound.  The same sound is used in the movie when we
         switch to the alien's point of view.
    The Far Side
       - How human speech sounds to dogs.
    The Cosby Show
       - Dr. Hibert's home and family bear a more-than-coincidental
         similarity to a program that competes with The Simpsons for
         the Thursday 8pm time slot.
  ~ 2001
       - The way Marge's needle spins in the air, cf. the bone and pen. {fs}
    Buffalo Bill Cody's `Wild West Show'
       - the second frame in the Bouvier Family Quilt, cf. a picture of
         Annie Oakley on a poster for the show. {jr}
  + Death in the Making (photograph by Frank Capra)
       - The third frame in the Bouvier Family Quilt.
    Lethal Weapon, G Gordon Liddy (Watergate scandal)
       - Marge holding a lighter under her finger to show it didn't hurt.
         (Though in Lethal Weapon, it hurt.)
  + E.T.
       - Lisa shows Marge her sewing callous and their fingers touch.
         Music similar to that from the movie plays in the background.
         (Some may associate this scene to `Creation' in the Sistine Chapel.)
       - Dramatic music just before Santa's Little Helper attacks something.
    Friday the 13th
       - `Echo' sound effect when Santa's Little Helper attacked the quilt.
  ~ America's Funniest Home Videos , Little Caesar's Pizza commercial
       - Dog that says `I love you'.  (AFHV's dog said `Mama'.)
  + Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way (British dog training television programme
         starring Barbara Woodhouse)
       - The dog training school and its teacher.  ``Walkies!'' {wm}
  ~ American Graffiti, Animal House, Back to School, Fish Called Wanda,
    Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Cooley High, etc.
       - Captioning the eventual fate of the various dogs in the class.
  ~ any movie about high school or college
       - Freeze-frame on the leashes thrown in the air upon graduation.

Freeze Frame Fun

On the magazine shelf, thanks to Ron Carter {rc}

    Teen Dream
    Teen Scream
    Teen Steam
    Teen Scheme
    Martin Sheen's Teen Scene
    Non-Threatening Boys

In the yellow pages, thanks to Ron Carter {rc}

  - Eastside Ruff-Form School
  - Professor Von Bowser's Sanitorium For Dogs;
        We taught a dog to drive.
  - Dr. Marvin Monroe's Canine Therapy Institute;
        Your dog isn't the problem. YOU ARE!
  - Emily Winthrop's Canine College

The Bouvier Family Quilt, thanks to Al Wesolowsky {abw}

  - "King Tobacco"
  - A woman shooting a bison from horseback.  (See movie references).
  - A WWI-type soldier in the pose of the fatally-shot soldier in
    Frank Capra's photograph "Death in the Making."  The Capra photo
    was made during a fight in the Spanish Civil War and was taken at the
    moment the man was hit by a bullet.
  - The '29 Crash
  - A yin-yang "Keep on Truckin'" from Marge.
    Nice allusion to the Dead (and, of course, Robert Crumb) there.

Corby Page ( notes that Marge refers to it as
the Bouvier Family Quilt, which doesn't make sense because it is passed down
through the women of each generation.

Animation and continuity goofs

Bart is wrong when he claims they've never had a family meeting before.
See [7[FG]04].

Is Dr. Hibert Dr. Huxtable?

Dr.H's kitchen is the same as Dr.H's kitchen.
He was wearing a Cosby sweater.

And, to rub it in, the next commercial break when the episode was first
aired was a Jell-O commercial with the man himself.


    [7[FG]10] The `Robert Palmer Twins' (Burns and Smithers' dates)

Quotes and scene summary

 Homer retrieves his morning paper, which Santa's Little Helper (SLH)
 playfully shreds with his teeth.  Meanwhile, Marge wakes Lisa for school...
   Marge:  Mmm, Lisa, you don't look well.
   Lisa:   I'll make it Mom.  Just tape my lunchbox to my hand.
   -- Lisa wakes up ill, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Homer gets up from the breakfast to table to yell at Marge...
   Homer:  Maaarge, the dog is hungry.
   Marge:  Well, then, feed him.
   Homer:  Yeees, Master.
   -- Do I have to do everything around here?  ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 ...but when he returns SLH is gorging himself on `Homer-food'.  Homer locks
 SLH up to a tree outside, and SLH digs up a Krusty doll.  Inside, Marge
 phones Dr. Hibert about Lisa's illness.  Lisa won't go to school today.
   Bart:  No way, she's faking!  If Lisa[?] stays home, <I> stay home.
   Lisa:  If Bart stays home, I'm going to school.
   Bart:  Fine, then...  Wait a minute...
          [eyes dart madly as an indication of frantic neural activity]
          If Lisa goes to school, then I go to school, but then Lisa
          stays home, so I stay home, so Lisa goes to school...
   Marge: Lisa, don't confuse your brother like that.
   -- There, I've run rings around you logically.
      ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
   Lisa, you wasted chicken pox.  Don't waste the mumps!
   -- Bart telling Lisa how to enjoy being ill,
      ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 SLH breaks free from his confines and begins an odyssey through the town
 of Springfield.  He encounters Otto, a hapless ladybug, Apu...
   You!  Wandering mongrel!  Get out of my Mom and Pop operation.
   -- Apu shooing Santa's Little Helper away, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 ... and a flock of geese.  Sylvia Whitfield phones Homer to complain about
 SLH jumping in her pool.  On the way back from retrieving the dog, Homer
 encounters Flanders, who is wearing ASSASSINS (tm).
   You know, they've got the velcro straps, a water pump in the tongue,
   built-in odometer, reflective sidewalls, and little vanity licence plates!
   -- Ned Flanders showing off his `Assassins' sneakers,
      ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Dr. Hibert diagnoses Lisa with the mumps.
   Dr. Hibert: I guess you'll be missing a week of school, young lady.
   Lisa:       Oh no.  I don't want to fall behind my class.
   Dr. Hibert: Ho ho ho.  Oh, such responsibility for such a little girl.
   -- Lisa is diagnosed with the mumps, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Dr. Hibert, in an attempt at polite conversation, asks Lisa what her
 favorite subject is.  She likes arithmetic.
   Take a rest, have yourself a wowwipop.
   -- Dr. Hibert's prescription for the mumps, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Lisa phones Homer (at work) and asks him to pick up some magazines...
   Yello?  ...  Hi, Lisa, what's wrong? ... The mumps?  Ooh, the kissing disease.
   -- Homer learns on the phone that Lisa has the mumps,
      ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Homer asks Len, ``Cover for me.''  Marge reveals to Lisa the existence of
 a family quilt.  (``It even smells historic.'')
   The memory of a million drop stitches flows in your veins.
   -- Marge telling Lisa she is genetically programmed to know how to sew.
      ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 She threads a needle in a most impressive manner, but Lisa only manages
 to prick her finger when she tries.
   You just need to develop a callous.  [pricks her finger and lights a lighter
   under it]  You see?  Now <that's> a sewing finger, honey.
   -- Marge showing Lisa how to sew, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Homer purchases Lisa's magazines (``They're for my daughter.'') but drops
 them when he sees an ASSASSINS (tm) display...
   Homer:    Oh, 125 bucks...
             [Flanders appears in a `thought' balloon over Homer's head]
   Flanders: Sometimes, you got to spoil yourself... spoil yourself...
             spoil yourself...
   Homer:    But I can't afford to...
   Flanders: Simpson!  I order you to buy those shoes!
   Homer:    Okay, Flanders, you're the boss!  Heh heh heh.
   -- Homer and his conscience? ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Marge and Lisa contemplate a psychedelic patch on the quilt as Bart gets
 home from school.
   Bart: Here's your stupid homework.
   Lisa: Ooh.  Phonics, functions, vocabulary, ... remedial reading?
         Oh, do your own homework, Bart!
   Bart: D'oh!
   -- Bart delivers Lisa's homework, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Homer arrives, and Bart is awestruck by his new shoes...
   Marge: Those are very elaborate sneakers.
   Bart:  They better be, for 125 big ones!
   Homer:     D'oh!
   Marge:        125 dollars?!?
   Homer:           Bart! [strangles Bart]
   Bart:              Wauuugh!
   Marge:                 Homer!
   Homer:                    D'oh!
   -- Caught in the crossfire, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
   Marge: I thought we agreed to consult each other before any major purchases.
   Homer: Well, you bought all those smoke alarms, and we haven't had
          a single fire.
   Marge: Mmm...
   -- Homer buys expensive sneakers, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 SLH toys with the TV remote control...
   As an actor, my eyeballs need to look their whitest!
   -- pitchman Troy McClure on `I Can't Believe They Invented It!'
      ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 ... but gets bored, and seeks new adventure.  He discovers the
 ASSASSINS (tm), and stalks them menacingly.  Homer comes into the room
 and discovers the remains of his sneakers.  Tonight the suburbs of
 Springfield are filled with the sound of a hundred lonely dogs, and one
 bereaved power-plant worker.

 [End of Act One.  Time: 9:06]

 As Homer padlocks SLH to the tree, Marge opens the Yellow Pages...
   Marge: Oh, Homer, there seems to be a lot of good obedience schools here.
   Bart:  Oh, school, right, yeah, that's your answer to everything...
   -- finding a school for Santa's Little Helper,
      ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Marge chooses a school run by Miss Winthrop.  On the first day of class, she
 demonstrates use of the choke chain.
   Martin:         How can we tell if we're doing this maneuver effectively?
   Miss Winthrop:  The dog's eyes will cross, and his tongue will protrude and
                   change color, ever so slightly.
   Bart:           Is my dog dead, Ma'am?
   Miss Winthrop:  Ah ha ha, you don't know how often I'm asked that.
                   `Choke chain' is a misnomer.
                   Trust me.  They are always breathing.
   -- demonstrating the use of the choke chain, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Marge and Lisa watch a (steamy) soap ...
   Lisa:  Gee, is it always this good?
   Marge: Mmm.  I don't know.  I just dip in and out.
          I'm only watching today because Randi is coming out of a coma,
          and she knows the phony prince's body is hidden in the boat house.
   -- watching a love scene on a TV soap opera, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
   Woman:       Father McGrath... I thought you were dead.
   Fr. McGrath: I was!
   -- soap opera on television, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 ... and discuss the future of SLH as he causes more minor havoc.
 Back in school, Bart tries to get SLH to sit, while a dog walks by with
 a book balanced on its head, and another walks on its hind legs.  The dogs
 are lined up, and they roll over in perfect synchronicity, except for SLH,
 who wets on the rug.  Bart cleans up the mess, accompanied by an appropriate
 tongue-lashing from Miss Winthrop.  Meanwhile, Homer fails to get a refund
 on the ASSASSINS (tm)...
   I'm sorry, sir, our warranty doesn't cover fire, theft, or acts of dog.
   -- shoe store clerk, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 ... but succeeds in discovering a cookie sale.
   Girl:  Aloha!  Would you like a free sample?
   Homer: The price is right!  [stuffs them furiously into his mouth]
          Mmm..  Ooh.. Macamadamia nuts.
   Girl:  If you'd like to buy some, they're only a dollar each.
   Homer: Oh, so <that's> your little plan.  Get us addicted, then jack
          up the price!  [as he talks, cookie crumbs splatter out of his
          mouth, dirtying up his shirt] ... [meekly] Well, you win.
   -- at the Cookie Collossus store, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Homer brings the cookie home, but no sooner has he left it in the kitchen
 than SLH begins to stalk it.  Lisa makes her contribution to the quilt.
   Look Mom, I've finished my patch.
   It depicts the two greatest musical influences in my life.
   [cough cough]
   On the left is Mr. Largo, my music teacher at school?
   He taught me that even the noblest concerto can be drained of
   its beauty and soul.
   And on the right is Bleeding Gums Murphy.
   He taught me that music is a fire in your belly that comes out
   of your mouth, so you better stick an instrument in front of it.
   -- Lisa describes her contribution to the Bouvier Memory Quilt.
      ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 After a good drink from the commode, SLH wanders through the house and
 stalks the quilt.  Marge and Lisa bring Homer upstairs to see the quilt.
   Marge: [weeping]  My quilt! Six generations, ruined!
   Homer: Now Marge, honey honey honey.  Come on, come on, don't get upset.
          It's not the end of the world.  We all love that quilt,
          but we can't get too attached to...  OHH!!!  MY COOKIE!!!
   -- Homer tries to console Marge after Santa's Little Helper
      chews up the quilt (and Homer's cookie) ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
   Homer: Everybody in the kitchen.  We're having a family meeting.
   Bart:  We never had a family meeting before...
   Homer: We never had a problem with a family member we can give away before.
   -- what to do about Santa's Little Helper? ``Bart's Dog Gets a F''
 Through SLH's eyes (and ears), we see Homer announce that the dog must go.

 [End of Act Two. Time:  14:31]

 The family meeting continues...
   Lisa:  I'm sure Mom agrees with me.
   Marge: Mmm.  No, I'm afraid I agree with your father.
   Homer: You do?  [taunting and dancing]  Ha ha ha ha ha.
   -- what to do about Santa's Little Helper? ``Bart's Dog Gets a F''
   Lisa:  This is our pet.  We can question his integrity and disposition,
          but we can't question his heart.  Are you trying to teach us that the
          way to solve a problem with something we love is to throw it away?
   Homer: [weeping] Oh, Lisa.  If they're ever going to pull the plug on me,
          I want you in my corner, honey.
   -- what to do about Santa's Little Helper? ``Bart's Dog Gets a F''
 Marge says the pet can stay if and only if he passes Obedience School.
 At school, SLH refuses to roll over.  Anticipating that the dog will flunk,
 Homer composes a sale ad for SLH.
   ``Free to loving home.  World's most brilliant dog.  Says `I Love You'
   on command.''
   -- advertisement for selling Santa's Little Helper, ``Bart's Dog Gets an F''
 Back to school, where Bart fails to impress Miss Winthrop.
   Now... Sit!
   I said, Sit! [Santa's Little Helper walks away]
   Um, take a walk.  Sniff that other dog's butt.
   See?  He does exactly what I tell him.
   -- Bart trying to demonstrate his control over the dog,
      ``Bart's Dog Get an F''
 Homer hardsells SLH to a guy on the phone.  Back at school, SLH is unable
 to restrain himself from consuming a Beef Wellington.  A potential customer
 comes by to inspect SLH.  Bart fails to talk Miss Winthrop into letting
 SLH pass, and balks at using the choke chain with the level of force that
 Miss Winthrop prescribes.  Lisa begins a new family quilt, its first panel
 depicting the destruction of the old one.  Bart despairs of training SLH,
 and Lisa suggests they spend their last few hours together in play.  In a
 Lassie-style miracle, this bonding experience breaks down the
 communication barrier between Bart and SLH.  Bart successfully trains SLH.
   You son of a bitch.  Good show!
   -- Dog obedience instructor to Santa's Little Helper,
      ``Bart's Dog Get an F''
                   Buddy -- Ran away from home.
                 Lao Tzu -- Ate poison toad: now in a coma.
   Santa's Little Helper -- Bit Bart.  Homer didn't mind.
   -- The eventual fates of the dogs in the obedience school,
      ``Bart's Dog Get an F''
 [End of Act Three.  Time: 20:33]
   Episode summaries Copyright 1991 by Raymond Chen and Corby Page.  Not to be
   redistributed in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes themselves,
   of course, remain the property of The Simpsons, and the reproduced articles
   remain the property of the original authors.  I'm just taking credit for the

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