The Simpsons

Season 2 Episode 16

Bart's Dog Gets an F

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 07, 1991 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
281 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When the family dog, Santa’s Little Helper, begins acting up in the Simpson home, he is forced to go to dog obedience school.

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  • This simpsons episode gets an F

    On a weekday morning, a robed Homer, steps out on the front stoop and retrieves the morning paper. However, Santa's Little Helper also grabs a hold of the newspaper, and the two play tug-of-war, causing Homer's newspaper to rip to shreds. At the breakfast table a grumbling Homer tries to read his shredded newspaper, when he spots Santa's Little Helper eyeballing his breakfast on the table. Homer yells at the dog, telling him "no." But, a camera angle from the dog's point of view shows that Santa's Little Helper hears nothing but babble come out of Homer's mouth and consequently he doesn't understand him. Up in Lisa's room, Marge wakes Lisa for school, only to discover that Lisa has come down with a case of the mumps. Homer calls up to Marge from downstairs telling her that the dog is hungry. Marge in turn yells back at Homer to feed him. When Homer walks back into the kitchen, he catches Santa's Little Helper, up on the table eating his breakfast. Santa's Little Helper, now tied up outside in the backyard, has dug up the entire area that his chain will allow him to reach. In the kitchen, Marge gives Dr. Hibbert a call at his home and sets up an appointment for him to examine Lisa at the doctor's office. Bart walks into the kitchen and when he sees Lisa still in her pajamas and not ready for school, he demands to stay home as well. Marge sends him off to the school bus anyway. Outside, Santa's Little Helper is busy burying a potted flower, when he hears Otto the bus driver, honk the horn for Bart out front. The dog spots Bart getting on the bus, and chases after him, breaking his collar in the process. When Bart tells Santa's Little Helper to go back home, the camera shows the dog's point of view and once again Santa's Little Helper doesn't understand what Bart is saying.Santa's Little Helper takes off on his own after the bus pulls away. A montage ensues, showing the dog eat a bug, steal some jerky from the Kwik-E-Mart, chase some geese and swim in one of the neighborhood pools. The pool happens to be owned by an old lady named Sylvia Winfield, who is sick and tired of Santa's Little Helper always swimming in her pool. She calls Homer and warns him that she will call the dog warden if he doesn't come and pick up the dog. An angry Homer insists that his dog is tied up in his backyard and when he discovers that Santa's Little Helper is gone, he becomes even more upset. Homer retrieves Santa's Little Helper, and on the way back home he encounters Ned Flanders, who is out jogging. Homer makes fun of Ned's getup which includes a sweat band, heavy hands, and ankle weights. But, when Homer sees Ned's new Assassins he is instantly impressed. (The Assassins look much like the Michael Jordan basketball shoes from the early 90's.) Homer inquires about how much the shoes cost; Ned tells him that sometimes you have to spoil yourself, implying that they were expensive.At Dr. Hibbert's office, Dr. Hibbert diagnoses Lisa with the mumps and recommends that she stay home from school for a week. Back at home, Lisa rests on the couch and calls Homer at work. At the nuclear power plant, Homer sits with his feet propped up; his shoes can be seen looking dirty and worn out. He answers Lisa's phone call, and she requests that he stop at the store and pick up some young teen oriented magazines for her. After he hangs up the phone, Lenny walks into Homer's station and Homer tells Lenny to cover for him because he is going to leave early.At home in the living room Marge sits down on the couch with Lisa, and shows her the Bouvier family quilt. Marge explains that the quilt has been in her family for 5 generations and that it is now time for Lisa to add a patch. Marge expertly threads a needle with some thread and shows Lisa a drop stitch. But when Lisa tries, she clumsily stabs her own finger with the needle. She tells her mother that she's not sure if she can sew successfully, but Marge tells her not to worry. She explains that Lisa just needs to develop a callous on her sewing finger. She shows off her sewing finger by unsuccessfully poking through it with a needle and taking a lighter to it, charring the callous and not her skin. Lisa is somewhat impressed and grossed out at the same time.At the mall, Homer sheepishly purchases a few teen magazines at a newsstand. On his way out, he passes by a shoe store with Assassins in the display window. He excitedly rushes up to the window, but is soon dismayed when he sees the $125 price tag. A vision of Ned telling Homer, that sometimes you have to spoil yourself, pops into his brain, and Homer impulsively decides to buy the shoes. Later at home in Lisa's room, Marge and Lisa work on the quilt, when Bart walks in and hands Lisa her homework from school. He unsuccessfully tries to pass off his remedial reading homework to her as well. Homer then walks in with Lisa's magazines and Bart spots Homer's new Assassins and is impressed. He comments about how the shoes cost $125 and Homer is instantly in hot water with Marge. She yells at him, saying that they had agreed to consult each other before major purchases.Later on downstairs, Santa's Little Helper lies on the couch and chews on the remote, changing the channels. He gets up and wanders around the house. In Homer's closet, he spots Homer's Assassins high above on the top shelf, and when a loose shoelace falls down within the dog's reach, he instantly jumps up and snatches it. Later as Homer walks down the stairs, he spots chewed piece of red rubber and begins fearing the worst. He follows a trail of chewed rubber all the way to the living room where he discovers Santa's Little Helper gnawing on what is left of his shoes. Homer lets out a loud howl in agony.Act Two: In the backyard, as Homer ties up Santa's Little Helper with a heavier collar and chain, Marge looks through the phone book for a dog obedience school, and finds one she likes, called: Emily Winthrop's Canine College. The next day, Bart takes Santa's Little Helper to the college to enroll him in obedience class. The obedience teacher, Emily Winthrop, speaks with an English accent and leads the class. Using Santa's Little Helper, she demonstrates her method of teaching, which involves using a choke chain on the dog, if it does not listen correctly.Later at home, Marge and Lisa enjoy each other's company, watching soap operas, and working on the quilt together. Suddenly, Snowball II runs into the living room with Santa's Little Helper chasing from behind. The cat jumps into Lisa's arms for safety and the dog's attention switches from the cat to the lollipop that Lisa holds in her hand. As Santa's Little Helper snatches the lollipop and trots out of the room, Lisa worries aloud to Marge about what might happen to Santa's Little Helper if he doesn't learn anything in obedience school. At the obedience school, a montage ensues: All the dogs in the class perform tricks on command, all except for Santa's Little Helper and Bart is forced to clean up after his dog when Santa's Little Helper relieves himself on the carpet. At the shoe store in the mall, Homer attempts to return his chewed up Assassins, but to no avail. On his way out of the mall, Homer passes by a cookie shop and purchases a giant chocolate chip cookie after trying some free samples. At home, Homer sits at the kitchen table and writes a note informing everyone to keep their hands off his cookie. He tapes the note to the cookie, leaves it on the table and walks away; Santa's Little Helper promptly jumps up on the table and steals the cookie.Up in Lisa's room, Lisa shows Marge her finished patch for the quilt. The patch features her two biggest musical influences: Bleeding Gums Murphy and her school music teacher Mr. Largo. And they both share a moment, when Lisa shows Marge the callous she has developed on her sewing finger. In the bathroom, Santa's Little Helper drinks from the toilet bowl and then walks down the hall to Lisa's room, where Marge and Lisa have just left, to go get Homer from downstairs, so they can show him the quilt. The dog quickly jumps up on the bed and attacks the quilt. Marge and Lisa lead Homer back upstairs to see the quilt, and they both scream as they witness Santa's Little Helper tearing the quilt to shreds. Marge collapses on the bed sobbing about the ruined quilt; as Homer calmly consoles her, he quickly becomes enraged, when he sees cookie crumbs and remnants of the note he had written, also spread out on the bed. Homer orders everyone in the kitchen for a family meeting, where he announces that Santa's Little Helper must go.Act Three: Bart and even Lisa object to getting rid of the dog, and after some bargaining Homer and Marge agree that if Santa's Little Helper can pass his obedience class, then he can stay. Later at obedience school Bart struggles with teaching Santa's Little Helper to roll over. Meanwhile at the house Marge and Homer prepare a newspaper ad for the dog, anticipating that Santa's Little Helper will fail his class. Back at the obedience school, Bart continues to struggle with teaching Santa's Little Helper to "sit." The next day, Homer receives a call from a farmer, interested in Santa's Little Helper. Meanwhile at the obedience school, Santa's Little Helper fails the "stay" test. The dogs must sit and stay when told, all while being enticed with a beef Wellington that sits on the floor just inches away from them. Later at home, the farmer who called earlier about Santa's Little Helper, visits and inspects the dog. When Santa's Little Helper passes inspection, Homer tells the farmer that he can pick up the dog the next day.Later on, Bart heads back to the canine college and pays a visit to Emily Winthrop. He asks her to pass Santa's Little Helper despite the fact that the dog hasn't learned anything. She vehemently disagrees with the proposal and almost seems glad that Santa's Little Helper will likely not pass his final examination the next day. At home, Marge walks into Lisa's room to discover her starting a new family quilt. Her new patch commemorates the destruction of the old quilt.Later on outside, Bart pleads with Santa's Little Helper to learn all his commands. Lisa approaches and suggests that instead of trying to teach Santa's Little Helper, that Bart should just frolic with him, and enjoy their last hours together. Bart and his dog run around the backyard and play together and then Bart sits down to rest and express his love to Santa's Little Helper. He tells the dog, that if he really knew how important it was to "sit," he would learn how to do it. Suddenly, everything clicks for Santa's Little Helper and when he hears Bart say "sit," he does. A surprised Bart notices and then tries out some other commands, including "stay," lay down, shake hands and "speak." Santa's Little Helper responds perfectly to all the commands.The next day at obedience school, much to Emily Winthrop and Homer's surprise, Santa's Little Helper passes his examination with flying colors. All the "graduates" toss their leashes up in the air in celebration, and freeze frame shots of various "graduates" follow, with an update listed beneath each one. Santa's Little Helper's update reads: Bit Bart. Homer didn't mind.

    Overall, the worst of Season 2

    6.5 out of 10moreless
  • a low point of season 2

    in this ep barts dog santa little helper starts acting up and the simpsons get tired of it so they send him to dog obendent school where he can be helped but thing is this ep was not that exciting i thought and was like i said a low point of season 2 the eps before it were hilorious like bart the daredevil those make you keep watching the show this one is like oh yeah its not that funny and is mostly borning at times and make you wnat to turn it off. but that is just me you may like it .moreless
  • fair

    bart needs to train santa's little helper to be a better, nicer dog, or else the simpsons might have to get rid of him, after he starts acting up around the house.

    i liked this episode but it is somewhat forgettable. it had low laughs, the plot was good but not that good, and it wasn't very entertaining at all, to say the least. One of s2's middle-of-the-ground episodes, i give it a low B, because i do not think it deserves higher, and i think low is being cruel to this episode. So, watchable, but somewhat boring in partsmoreless
  • Bad episode....

    I was hoping this was a good episode, but I was wrong. This has to be the worst episode ever! What was the shoe have to do? Why was Santa's little helper bad in this episode? They just did that to make this seem interseting. This episode would be appopriate in the begining 1st season. But not the ending 2nd season! That makes no sence! Ohh . . . . . . . . . . . ..... There's nothing funny in this episode and, Homer's mmm did'nt sound right. Thus making this, the worst Simpson episode in the history of mankind.moreless
  • Santas Little Helper has some behavior issues, which might lead the Simpsons to get rid of him. He enrolls in class, can Bart train him?

    I thought the plot was pretty good. Was the whole episode entertainig? Not so much.

    I thought the idea of Santas Little Helper behaving bad was an excellent choice for an episode,and I think this IS the first Santas Little Helper based episode not including the show premiere. You just sit there and watch Santas Little Helper tear up things like Homers shoes, the quilt and you just wonder when he is going to stop.

    This might be my least favorite Santas Little Helper episode but thats not saying much, this one really set the tone for "Dog of Death", which I felt was one of the best episodes of "The Simpsons".

    Hope you enjoy the review!moreless
Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Tracey Ullman

Tracey Ullman

Emily Winthrop and Mrs. Winfield

Guest Star

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Recurring Role

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders, Jimbo Jones, and others

Recurring Role

Frank Welker

Frank Welker

Santa's Little Helper and Additional Animal Voices

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (13)

  • QUOTES (14)

    • (Lisa pleads her case to keep Santa's Little Helper.)
      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 you love, is to throw it away?
      Homer: (Sniffling) Oh, Lisa. If they're ever going to pull the plug on me, I want you in my corner, honey. (Hugs Lisa)

    • (Homer walks by the Cookie Colossus store in the mall.)
      Saleswoman: Aloha!
      Homer: Well, aloha!
      Saleswoman: Would you like a free sample? (Offers Homer some cookies on a tray.)
      Homer: The price is right. (Eats a cookie.) Mmm! Ooh! "Macamademia" nuts.

    • (Homer fields a phone call from someone interested in buying Santa's Little Helper.)
      Homer: Oh no, we'd never give him away. But we're moving to another country where dogs are forbidden. (Pause) Hear what? (Pause) Oh, sure. Come here, boy! Put that prowler down! Come here! Come on, boy! (Homer pants into the phone like a dog.)
      Homer: Say it, boy. Say "I love you" for the nice man. (In a dog's voice) I wuv you!
      (Pulls the phone away from his mouth.)
      Homer: Good dog! Good doggie!
      (Puts phone back near his mouth.)
      Homer: Isn't that amazing? See you soon! (Hangs up phone.) Whoo-hoo!

    • (Bart and Santa's Little Helper perform for Emily Winthrop at the dog obedience school.)
      Bart: Now, sit! I said, sit! (Santa's Little Helper walks away.) Um, take a walk. Sniff that other dog's butt. (To Emily) See? He does exactly what I tell him.

    • (Bart tries to teach Santa's Little Helper at dog obedience school.)
      Bart: See, boy? It's not so hard. Here. Roll over. Roll over! Like this. (Bart rolls over.)
      Emily Winthrop: Congratulations sonny. You've earned a toffee. (Tosses Bart a toffee.)
      Bart: Oh, thank you! (Under his breath.) Moldy old maid.

    • (Marge, Lisa and Homer discover what Santa's Little Helper has done.)
      Marge and Lisa: (Scream in unison)
      Marge: My quilt! Six generations, ruined! (Sobs)
      Homer: (Consoles Marge) Now, Marge, honey. Honey, honey. Come on. Come on. Don't get upset. It's not the end of the world. We all loved that quilt, but you can't get too attached to--
      (Homer sees the remains of his cookie.)
      Homer: (Screams) My cookie! (Sobs hysterically) Oh, this is not happening. This is not happening!

    • (At dog obedience school.)
      Emily Winthrop: There are two ways for a dog to relieve himself. One is like a faithful friend and partner for life. The other is like a hose without a fireman. Which way do you think that was, Mr. Simpson?
      (Bart is down on his hands and knees scrubbing the floor.)
      Bart: Like a hose. (Under his breath.) Your Wrinkled Highness.

    • (Bart notices Homer's new shoes.)
      Bart: Whoa! Assassins!
      Homer: Yep. Heh, heh. Read 'em and weep.
      Marge: Those are very elaborate sneakers.
      Bart: They better be, for 125 big ones.
      Homer: D'oh!
      Marge: $125!
      Homer: Bart! (Reaches down to choke Bart.)
      Bart: Aah!
      Marge: Homer!
      Homer: D'oh!
      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: Hmmm!

    • (Lisa is sick and Bart delivers her homework after school.)
      Bart: Here's your stupid homework.
      (Bart hands Lisa her homework.)
      Lisa: Ooh! (Shuffling through the papers.) Phonics, functions, vocabulary--Remedial reading? Oh, do your own homework, Bart!
      Bart: D'oh!

    • (Mrs. Winfield calls Homer after she catches Santa's Little Helper in her pool.)
      Homer: Are you losing your hearing, or are you just stupid? I am going to explain this to you one more time, and then I'm going to hang up on you. It is not my dog! I tied my dog outside myself! I am looking at him right--(Looks into the backyard and sees the dog missing.) D'oh!

    • (Santa's Little Helper chews on a talking Krusty doll)
      Krusty Doll: You're my best friend! (chuckles) You're my best friend! (chuckles) You're my best friend! (chuckles)
      (From Santa's Little Helper's point of view something different is heard)
      Krusty Doll: Ooh ba hist ha! (distorted chuckling) Ooh ba hist ha! (distorted chuckling) Ooh ba hist ha! (distorted chuckling)

    • Homer: (Calls out to Marge who is upstairs.) Marge, the dog is hungry!
      Marge: (Yells back) Well, then, feed him!
      Homer: Yes, master!

    • (At the breakfast table, Bart notices that Lisa isn't dressed for school.)
      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. 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.

    • (Santa's Little Helper passes dog obedience school.)
      Emily Winthrop: You son of a bitch! Good show!

  • NOTES (5)

    • Dr. Hibbert and his family are modeled after Bill Cosby's family on "The Cosby Show". At the time, the two shows were both aired in the same time slot, Thursday at 8pm EST.

    • This is Frank Welker's first of many appearances on the show, primarily doing animal sounds.

    • This is Tracey Ullman's first and last time being on The Simpsons. Ullman was in this episode, as an in-joke reference to the fact that The Simpsons used to be a 1 min short on The Tracey Ullman Show.

    • This episode aired short to show the "Deep, Deep Trouble" music video (7F76 - 5 min). This music video appeared right after the broadcast of episode 29, which seems to have been edited to make space for the time the video was going to use. In fact, the episode didn't air in its entirety until it was rerun on July 25, 1991. This song is a track off the album The Simpsons Sing the Blues.

    • Blackboard Joke: I will not sell school property.
      Couch Gag: The entire family fits on the couch, including the pets.


    • Frank Capra
      One of the pictures on Marge's quilt is none other than a Frank Capra photograph entitled "Death In The Making."

    • E.T.
      The scene where Lisa shows Marge that she can use the pin and lighter on her finger and the shot showing them touching the point of each others fingers and making a sort of humming sound parodies a scene in the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    • Friday The 13th
      When Santa's Little Helper destroys the quilt, the echo sound you hear is from the 1980 film Friday The 13th.

    • The Cosby Show
      Dr. Hibbert's wardrobe, family and home are styled to look like Cliff Huxtable's wardrobe, family and home from the TV series The Cosby Show.