Santa's Little Helper

Santa's Little Helper is a recurring character in the American animated television series The Simpsons. He is the pet greyhound of the Simpson family. He was previously voiced by Frank Welker, and is currently voiced by Dan Castellaneta. The dog was introduced in the first episode of the show, the 1989 Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", in which his owner abandons him for finishing last in a greyhound race. Homer Simpson and his son Bart, who are at the race track in hope of winning some money for Christmas presents, see this and decide to adopt the dog.

Santa's Little Helper has since appeared frequently on The Simpsons, and is the center of the plots of several episodes. During the course of the show, he has fathered litters of puppies, passed obedience school, had surgery for bloat, replaced Duffman as the mascot for Duff Beer, and been trained as a police dog at Springfield's Animal Police Academy. Some of the episodes that focus on Santa's Little Helper have been inspired by a popular culture or real experiences that staff members of the show have gone through.

Although cartoon animals are often anthropomorphized,[1] Santa's Little Helper generally exhibits canine behavior. Santa's Little Helper has become a popular character following his appearances on The Simpsons. He ranked 27th in Animal Planet's 2003 television special 50 Greatest TV Animals that was based on popularity, name recognition, and the longevity of the shows. He has also been featured in merchandise relating to The Simpsons, such as video games, board games, and comics.

Santa's Little Helper
The Simpsons character
SantasLittleHelper
First appearance"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (1989)
Created byMatt Groening
Voiced byFrank Welker (1991–1995)
Dan Castellaneta (1992–present)
Information
SpeciesDog
GenderMale hound

Role in The Simpsons

Santa's Little Helper is a greyhound that appears on the animated television series The Simpsons and is the pet dog of the Simpson family.[2] He can often be seen on the show in minor appearances, although there have been some episodes that feature him heavily, including the first episode of The Simpsons. In that episode, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (season one, 1989), Homer discovers that he has no money to buy Christmas presents for the family. Desperate for a miracle, he and Bart go to the greyhound racing track on Christmas Eve in hopes of winning some money. Although Homer has inside information on which dog is the most likely to win, he instead bets on a last-minute entry, Santa's Little Helper (here despite being brown), believing the dog's Christmas-inspired name to be a sign. However, the greyhound finishes last. As Homer and Bart leave the track, they watch the dog's owner abandon him for losing the race. Bart pleads with Homer to keep the dog as a pet and he agrees after it affectionately licks him on the cheek. When Bart and Homer return home, Santa's Little Helper is assumed by the rest of the family to be a Christmas present.[3]

In various episodes, Santa's Little Helper can be seen chewing on newspapers and other objects in the Simpsons' household, destroying furniture, and digging holes in the backyard.[4][5] In "Bart's Dog Gets an F" (season two, 1991), he manages to infuriate the entire family by destroying valued items in the home. As a result, Homer and Marge want to get rid of the dog, but Bart and Lisa convince them that he can be trained at an obedience school. Santa's Little Helper does not do well there as Bart is unwilling to use a choke chain suggested by the instructor. The night before the final exam, Bart and Santa's Little Helper play, thinking it will be their last few hours together. This bonding breaks down the communication barrier, allowing the dog to understand Bart's commands, and consequently pass the obedience school.[6]

Santa's Little Helper has fathered several puppies. In "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" (season six, 1995), he runs away to the dog racing track where he mates with a female hound named She's the Fastest. She later gives birth to 25 puppies and when the Simpsons cannot take care of them any longer, they decide to sell them; however, Mr. Burns steals the puppies and decides to make a tuxedo out of them. Before he does this, however, he becomes emotionally touched by them. This convinces him to never wear fur again and instead raise the puppies to be world-class racing dogs.[7] Santa's Little Helper sires another litter of puppies with Dr. Hibbert's poodle in the episode "Today I Am a Clown" (season 15, 2003). These puppies are given away to townspeople.[8]

The dog has been neglected or treated unfavorably by the family in some episodes.[9] In "Dog of Death" (season three, 1992), he nearly dies of bloat and they decide to make budget cuts in order to pay for the required operation. Although the dog's life is saved, the family begins to feel the strain of their sacrifices and starts treating him badly, causing him to run away. He ends up in the possession of Mr. Burns, who trains him to become a vicious attack dog. Several days later, Bart stumbles upon the trained Santa's Little Helper and is attacked, but the greyhound eventually recognizes his old friend and stops.[10] In "The Canine Mutiny" (season eight, 1997), Bart uses a fake charge card to buy a well-trained rough collie named Laddie from a mail-order catalog. Laddie learns many tricks that Santa's Little Helper is completely unable to perform, and the Simpson family nearly forgets about their old pet. Bart eventually gives Santa's Little Helper away instead of Laddie when repo men take back everything he fraudulently purchased. Feeling guilty about this disloyalty and bored with his too perfect new dog, Bart tries to get him back. When he finally finds him, Santa's Little Helper is serving as a seeing-eye dog for a blind man, but eventually decides to return to the family.[11]

In "Stop or My Dog Will Shoot" (season 18, 2007), Santa's Little Helper becomes a local hero after finding a lost Homer, and the Simpsons decide to enroll him in the Animal Police Academy. However, his new crime-fighting job makes him jaded and one day at home he bites Bart. The Simpsons must therefore send the dog away to live with officer Lou. However, he gets to return after saving Bart from a toxic smoke cloud at school and then leaving the police force.[12] In "How Munched is That Birdie in the Window?" (season 22, 2010), after Santa's Little Helper devours a pigeon with a broken leg that Bart was nursing, Bart gets mad at the dog and is unable to forgive him. The Simpsons therefore give him away to an ostrich farm. There, Bart says goodbye to him and explains that he should never, ever devour a bird. Bart then gets into a fight with an angry ostrich. After remembering that he was told that it's wrong to kill birds, he ceases to aid Bart in the fight, confused at his own loyalty (for Bart's sake or his orders) leaving Bart to strangle the ostrich to death. Bart then realizes that he could not help killing the pigeon and apologizes. Afterwards, the family goes back home with the dog.[13]

The dog once replaced Duffman as the mascot for Duff Beer in the episode "Old Yeller Belly" (season 14, 2003), after he was seen drinking from a can of beer by balancing it on his nose. He becomes known as Suds McDuff and boosts sales of Duff Beer, making the family's fortunes explode. However, this prompts his original sleazy owner and racing trainer to visit the Simpsons and prove that he's the owner of the dog. The family later figures that if they can get Duffman to replace Suds as the Duff mascot, they can get their dog back. They plan to turn Duffman into a hero at a Duff Beer-sponsored beach volleyball event; however, their plan fails and a drunk shark that's discovered at the event becomes the new mascot instead. Santa's Little Helper gladly returns to the Simpson family.[14]

Creation and development

Matt Groening by Gage Skidmore 2
The Simpsons creator Matt Groening prefers that animals in cartoons act realistically.

Santa's Little Helper's initial appearance on The Simpsons was in the first episode of the series, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", which aired on Dec. 17, 1989.[15] Since then, he has become a recurring character. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening told TV Guide in 2000 that "we [the staff] painted ourselves into a corner with our Christmas episode. Once we wrote the dog into the show, we were stuck with him."[15] The name "Santa's Little Helper" was chosen because, according to writer Al Jean in the same TV Guide article, "we needed a name that would inspire Homer to bet on him, an omen, a Christmas name since he was betting on Christmas Eve. But, at that point, nobody was thinking long-term. We weren't considering what might happen in ten years, when we've got to use this name."[15] Although "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" was the first episode of the series to air on TV, it was the eighth episode produced by the staff. It was chosen to air first because there were animation problems with the others. Jean told the Houston Chronicle in 2001 that after the first episode was broadcast and "the next seven didn't have the dog, people wondered why."[16] He also said in 2003 that the staff enjoyed the first episodes that centered on him, particularly "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", which is the reason that more episodes about him were written.[17]

Writer John Swartzwelder has noted that the staff members of the show write the character Homer in the same way that they write Santa's Little Helper: "Both are loyal. Both have the same emotional range. And both will growl and possibly snap if you try to take their food."[15] Although animals in cartoons often behave with "semi-human awareness", Groening said on the DVD audio commentary for the episode "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" that he prefers animals in cartoons to behave exactly the way they do in real life. As a result, Santa's Little Helper is depicted in this way on the show.[18] There have, however, been some exceptions for gags, but most of the time the staff of The Simpsons tries to keep animals acting realistically.[19][20] Several journalists have commented on the greyhound's lack of intelligence. In an article that compared The Simpsons to the animated series Family Guy, Todd Camp of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted that "though Santa's Little Helper may be the only Simpson who's dumber than Homer, the Griffins' pooch [Brian Griffin] is the brainiest member of the household".[21] In 1991, Copley News Service's Alison Ashton described Santa's Little Helper as a "sweet and stupid dog".[22] Tom Coombe of The Morning Call wrote in 2002 that "fans of The Simpsons will tell you that the cartoon family's dog [...] is often dumb, disobedient and skittish. Fans of the real-life breed will paint a different picture — of dogs that are peaceful, affectionate, [and] not given to drooling, panting".[23]

Some ideas for episodes featuring Santa's Little Helper come from reality. The plot of "Dog of Death" was based on Swartzwelder's experiences with his own dog, which had also suffered from bloat. However, unlike the events in the episode, Swartzwelder's dog did not receive treatment as the operation was too expensive and the dog was too old.[17] The Gold Coast Bulletin's Ryan Ellem commented in 2005 that the Simpson family's dilemma with the cost of the veterinary procedure is a realistic dilemma faced by many families who own dogs.[24] Other episode ideas come from popular culture. For example, Santa's Little Helper fathering 25 puppies in "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" is a parody of the Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians,[25] and Mr. Burns' technique of brainwashing him into an attack dog in "Dog of Death" parodies A Clockwork Orange.[26] Susan McHugh, who teaches theories of animals, literature, and culture at the University of New England, wrote in her 2004 book Dog that, "remaining loyal to his unlikely saviours, the boy Bart and his father Homer, this greyhound has prompted satires of contemporary dog culture, from Barbara Woodhouse's authoritarian training methods [in "Bart's Dog Gets an F"] to Lassie's flawless service to the status quo [in "The Canine Mutiny"]."[27]

Sounds

Dan Castellaneta cropped
Dan Castellaneta currently voices Santa's Little Helper.

Although cast member Dan Castellaneta occasionally voiced Santa's Little Helper for bit parts,[17] American voice artist Frank Welker most often provided the sounds of the dog and other animals on the show from "Bart's Dog Gets an F", which aired on March 7, 1991, to "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily", which aired on October 1, 1995.[28] He said on his official website in 2007 that he liked portraying Santa's Little Helper because the dog was a "sympathetic" character.[29] Welker has been praised by staff members for his performances on the show. David Mirkin has noted that "he can do anything, and it fits perfectly. You forget you're listening to a guy, and he's a pleasure to work with."[19] Groening has commented that he was "unbelievably good" at doing animal noises.[18] After 1995, Castellaneta voiced Santa's Little Helper on his own while Welker performed other animal noises until his full departure in 2002, when he was denied a pay raise.[29] In the "questions and answers" section on his website, Welker revealed that the reason he stopped performing as Santa's Little Helper was because "The producers thought... 'Hmmm, Dan barks pretty good, and we are already paying him and he seems to like doing the dog thing... why do we need to pay Welker who comes in here, spends less than an hour, eats all the doughnuts, refuses to come to rehearsals... let's just give the damn dog to Dan!'"[29]

Reception

Santa's Little Helper has become a well-known dog because of his appearances in the series. A writer for The Grand Rapids Press wrote in 2002 that "we all know who Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are—heck, most Americans probably recognize their pets, Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II".[30] McHugh wrote in Dog that while Master McGrath was the most famous greyhound of the 19th century, "the most popular greyhound a hundred years later" is Santa's Little Helper.[27] In the television special 50 Greatest TV Animals that was hosted by Mario Lopez and aired on Animal Planet in 2003, the dog ranked 27th.[31] Other dogs featured on the list were Lassie (first), Eddie (fifth), Snoopy (sixth), Scooby-Doo (13th), Rin Tin Tin (14th), Max (20th), Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog (24th), Buck (29th), Chipper (44th), and Tiger (50th).[31] According to a writer for McClatchy News Service, the rankings were "determined by popularity, name recognition and how long the show lasted."[31]

Among fans and critics, Santa's Little Helper has been mostly well received. He ranked seventh in a 2008 poll by Dog Whisperer's Cesar Millan that determined the "best-loved television dog of all time." Lassie ranked first in the poll.[32] In addition, he was voted the tenth favorite Simpsons character by readers of Simpsons Comics in the United Kingdom in 2010.[33] In a list of their top twelve favorite dogs from cartoons, comics, and animation, writers for The Tampa Tribune listed Santa's Little Helper at number six, writing: "We admire his upbeat nature even after having his legs broken by Mr. Burns and being abandoned by Bart for another dog, Laddie."[34] He also ranked 75th on Retrocrush author Robert Berry's list of "The 100 Greatest Dogs of Pop Culture History" in 2006.[35] The character has attracted some criticism too, though. While reviewing the episode "Bart's Dog Gets an F" in 2010, Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club wrote:

"As cartoon dogs go, Santa’s Little Helper is spectacularly unspectacular. In a realm of aggressively anthropomorphic canines, some of whom, admittedly, have strong speech impediments, he doesn’t talk or wisecrack or engage in shenanigans. His abilities and powers begin and end with masticating, defecating, and regular napping. You know, just like a real dog. Consequently, episodes devoted to Santa’s Little Helper tend to be a little on the sleepy side, even the Simpsons Christmas special that launched the series."[1]

Influence

Since his first appearance on The Simpsons, Santa's Little Helper has appeared in merchandise relating to the show. On the board art of The Simpsons Clue, a 2000 board game by USAopoly based on Clue, he is shown drinking Duff Beer that has been spilled on the floor.[36] In another board game published by USAopoly called The Simpsons Monopoly, based on Monopoly and released in 2001, the dog is featured as one of the six pewter playing pieces.[37] Santa's Little Helper has also appeared in issues of Simpsons Comics,[38][39] in the 2007 film The Simpsons Movie,[40] and in video games based on The Simpsons such as Night of the Living Treehouse of Horror and The Simpsons Game.[41][42] In addition, the dog has been made into action figures by McFarlane Toys,[43] action figures by Playmates Toys in the World of Springfield series,[44] and plush toys.[45]

Santa's Little Helper has made an impact on real life in that an espresso-based drink has been named after him at the award-winning restaurant and bar Bambara in Salt Lake City's Hotel Monaco. Bartender Ethan Moore told The Salt Lake Tribune in 2004 that it is "one of the most popular holiday drinks" at Bambara.[46] In addition, a dog walking and pet sitting company in New York City, called "Santa's Little Helper Dog Walking and Pet Sitting", has been named after him.[47] The greyhound has also appeared by himself on the cover of the October 16, 2000 issue of TV Guide. This issue was released with 24 different covers, all featuring different characters from The Simpsons.[48]

References

  1. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (2010-12-16). "'Bart's Dog Gets an F'". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
  2. ^ "Highlights". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 1992-03-12. p. 5E.
  3. ^ "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". The Simpsons. Season 01. Episode 01. 1989-12-17. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  4. ^ Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M..
  5. ^ "Santa's Little Helper". TheSimpsons.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
  6. ^ "Bart's Dog Gets an F". The Simpsons. Season 02. Episode 16. 1991-03-07. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  7. ^ "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds". The Simpsons. Season 06. Episode 20. 1995-04-09. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  8. ^ "Today I Am a Clown". The Simpsons. Season 15. Episode 06. 2003-12-07. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  9. ^ Guzior, Betsey (2002-06-14). "Pulp fiction". The State. p. E3.
  10. ^ "Dog of Death". The Simpsons. Season 03. Episode 19. 1992-03-12. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  11. ^ "The Canine Mutiny". The Simpsons. Season 08. Episode 20. 1997-04-13. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  12. ^ "Stop or My Dog Will Shoot". The Simpsons. Season 18. Episode 20. 2007-05-13. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  13. ^ "How Munched is That Birdie in the Window?". The Simpsons. Season 22. Episode 07. 2010-11-28. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  14. ^ "Old Yeller Belly". The Simpsons. Season 14. Episode 19. 2003-05-04. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  15. ^ a b c d Rhodes, Joe (2000-10-21). "Flash! 24 Simpsons stars reveal themselves". TV Guide.
  16. ^ Westbrook, Bruce (2001-11-04). "Animated icons After a dozen seasons, Fox's 'The Simpsons' still has strange appeal". Houston Chronicle. p. 11.
  17. ^ a b c Jean, Al (2003). The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season DVD commentary for the episode "Dog of Death" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  18. ^ a b Groening, Matt (2005). The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  19. ^ a b Mirkin, David (2005). The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  20. ^ Reardon, Jim (2003). The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season DVD commentary for the episode "Dog of Death" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  21. ^ Camp, Todd (1999-04-11). "What a 'Guy' – New Fox cartoon mocks TV, 'The Simpsons'". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. p. 2.
  22. ^ Ashton, Alison (1991-11-26). "Questions that yule like – See how much you know about this time of year". The San Diego Union-Tribune. p. NC-6.
  23. ^ Coombe, Tom (2002-01-21). "Furry friend raises cash for greyhounds – Group selling stuffed animals to help pay for adoption program". The Morning Call. p. B5.
  24. ^ Ellem, Ryan (2005-10-29). "All creatures great and small – Purr-fect cover for vet bills". The Gold Coast Bulletin. p. 060.
  25. ^ Scully, Mike (2005). The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  26. ^ "Stanley and Bart... another Kubrick legend". The Guardian. 1999-07-16. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
  27. ^ a b McHugh, Susan (2004). Dog. Reaktion Books. pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-1-86189-203-4.
  28. ^ Vitti, Jon (2002). The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season DVD commentary for the episode "Bart's Dog Gets an F" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  29. ^ a b c Welker, Frank. "Ask Frank". The Frank Welker Homepage (official website). Retrieved 2011-08-14.
  30. ^ "... And with a huge cast of oddball characters". The Grand Rapids Press. 2002-11-03. p. F1.
  31. ^ a b c McClatchy News Service (2007-09-28). "Doggy details". Gilroy Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
  32. ^ Rollo, Sarah (2008-11-27). "Lassie crowned top TV dog in poll". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  33. ^ Mayer, Nissim (2010-01-19). "Bart named favourite 'Simpsons' character". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
  34. ^ Walker, Kevin (2004-03-26). "Top Dogs". The Tampa Tribune. p. 24.
  35. ^ Berry, Robert (2006). "Year of the dog – The 100 greatest dogs of pop culture history". Retrocrush. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  36. ^ Barker, Olivia (2000-12-15). "'Millionaire,' 'Simpsons' win the board game". USA Today. p. 15E.
  37. ^ Gintout, Sarah (2011-12-11). "Gifts galore – Captivate the art and tech lovers on your list". Richmond Times-Dispatch. p. D-1.
  38. ^ "Simpsons Comics Issue #181". Titan Magazines. Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
  39. ^ "Simpsons Comics Issue 141". Titan Magazines. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
  40. ^ "The Simpsons Movie Cast and Crew". Fandango. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  41. ^ Harris, Craig (2001-04-24). "The Simpsons: Night of the Living Treehouse of Horror review". IGN. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  42. ^ Harris, Craig (2007-09-05). "The Simpsons: Mr. Sparkle hands-on". IGN. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  43. ^ "Jonesing for Simpsons Toys". IGN. 2006-06-26. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
  44. ^ "Simpsons – Family Christmas – Interactive Environment w/5 exclusive figures". Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  45. ^ Rogers, Sherman (2010). The African American Entrepreneur: Then and Now. ABC-CLIO. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-313-35111-2.
  46. ^ "When weather outside is frightful, rich holiday drinks are delightful". The Salt Lake Tribune. 2004-12-15. p. D1.
  47. ^ Long, Cricky (2004). City Dog: New York City. City Dog Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-933068-02-2.
  48. ^ "That Azaria is quite a character: In fact, he's a few on TV Guide's cover". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 2000-10-18. p. A2.

External links

Bart's Dog Gets an "F"

"Bart's Dog Gets an "F"" is the sixteenth episode of The Simpsons' second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 7, 1991. In this episode, the Simpson family's dog, Santa's Little Helper, manages to infuriate Homer and Marge by destroying Homer's new shoes, ruining a family heirloom, and devouring Homer's cookie. As a result Homer considers giving him away while Bart is forced to train Santa's Little Helper at an obedience school so the family will not have to give him away. At first, the dog is extremely disobedient, but, at the last minute, he passes the test.

The episode was written by Jon Vitti and directed by Jim Reardon. Tracey Ullman guest starred as Emily Winthrop, the instructor at the obedience school and as neighbour Mrs. Winfield. The animal noises for the episode were performed by Frank Welker. "Bart's Dog Gets an "F"" features cultural references to films such as Predator, Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and National Lampoon's Animal House.

Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 13.8 and was the highest-rated show on Fox the week it aired.

Dog of Death

"Dog of Death" is the 19th episode of The Simpsons' third season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 12, 1992. In the episode, Santa's Little Helper falls ill and the Simpson family must make budget cuts to pay for his operation. Although the dog's life is saved, the family begins to feel the strain of their sacrifices and starts treating him badly, causing him to run away. Santa's Little Helper ends up in the possession of Mr. Burns, who trains him to become a vicious attack dog. Several days later, Bart stumbles upon the trained Santa's Little Helper and is attacked, but the dog eventually recognizes his old friend and stops.

The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Jim Reardon. The writers enjoyed the previous episodes centered on Santa's Little Helper and decided to create another one, which resulted in "Dog of Death". The episode features numerous references to popular culture, including the films The Incredible Journey and A Clockwork Orange, and the short story "The Lottery".

Since airing, the episode has received positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 14.2 and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

Dogtown (The Simpsons)

"Dogtown" is the twenty-second episode and season finale of the twenty-eighth season of the animated television series The Simpsons, and the 618th episode of the series overall. It aired in the United States on Fox on May 21, 2017.

This was the last of The Simpsons to be scored by composer Alf Clausen, who had scored the show since 1990 before being fired in August 2017.

Gal of Constant Sorrow

"Gal of Constant Sorrow" is the fourteenth episode of the twenty-seventh season of the animated television series The Simpsons, and the 588th episode of the series overall. It aired in the United States on Fox on February 21, 2016. It was the last of seven episodes not to list Sam Simon as an executive producer since his passing on March 8, 2015; from he is credited from the next episode onwards.

How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window?

"How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window?" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' twenty-second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 28, 2010.

The title of the episode is a reference to the 1952 song "How Much is that Doggie in the Window".

Judge Me Tender

"Judge Me Tender" is the twenty-third episode and season finale of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. The 464th episode of the series overall, it originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 23, 2010. In the episode, Moe discovers his talent for judging in competitions and is invited to appear on the show American Idol. Meanwhile, Homer drives Marge crazy when he starts spending too much time at home, and Lisa tries to comfort Santa's Little Helper.The episode was written by Allen Glazier and Dan Greaney and directed by Steven Dean Moore. The episode also features references to Lost and its series finale, Tiger Woods, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

"Judge Me Tender" has received mixed reviews from critics with many criticizing the short and unfunny cameos of the American Idol judges except for Simon Cowell.

They especially criticized Ellen DeGeneres since she had experience as a voice artist in an animated film called (Finding Nemo). The episode went down 14% from the previous week's episode due to the competition of airing against the Lost clip show according to Nielsen Media Research.

McDuff

McDuff (also spelled: Macduff) is a surname. It is the Anglicized form of the Scottish Gaelic name Mac Dhuibh (Mac = son, Dhuibh = dark/black). Notable people with the surname include:

Caleb McDuff, Welsh deaf racing driver

David McDuff, Scottish literary translator

Dusa McDuff, English mathematician

Daniel McDuff, Affective Computing Researcher

Jack McDuff (1926-2001), American jazz musician

Kenneth McDuff (1946-1998), American serial killerFictional characters:

McDuff, the Talking Dog, a children's television character

Suds McDuff, another name for The Simpsons' dog Santa's Little Helper

Father Cyril McDuff, a priest in the television series Father Ted

Old Yeller-Belly

"Old Yeller Belly" is the nineteenth episode of the fourteenth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 4, 2003. Santa's little helper's original owner who abandoned him at the racetrack makes his first appearance since the pilot episode Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".

Peeping Mom

"Peeping Mom" is the eighteenth episode of the twenty-sixth season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and the 570th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 19, 2015.

Santa's Little Helper (EP)

Santa's Little Helper is the debut extended play and first Christmas release by Australian country music singer Jasmine Rae. The EP includes two original tracks and three covers and was released in November 2012.

On 21 November 2012, Rae released a video for the lead single "Santa's Helper" with Rae explaining "Many Christmas songs are asking Santa to bring us love on Christmas Day. Others ask him to bring world peace and similar aspirations. This song is about asking Santa for a job!"Upon released Rae said "Growing up, we kept our Christmas CDs in the same box as our Christmas tree for 11 months of the year. So when December came around, it was a really special experience for my brother and me to unpack the CDs and put them on as we all decorated the house." adding "It was, and still is, a really magical time at our place".In an interview with Kelly Fuller on ABC radio, Rae told she's always wanted to make a Christmas album.

Santa's Little Helper (film)

Santa's Little Helper is an American comedy film starring The Miz, Paige, AnnaLynne McCord, and Maryse Ouellet. The film was directed by Gil Junger. The film was released direct-to-DVD and digital on November 17, 2015.

Simpson family

The Simpson family consists of fictional characters featured in the animated television series The Simpsons. The Simpsons are a nuclear family consisting of married couple Homer and Marge and their three children Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. They live at 742 Evergreen Terrace in the fictional town of Springfield, United States, and they were created by cartoonist Matt Groening, who conceived the characters after his own family members, substituting "Bart" for his own name. The family debuted on Fox on April 19, 1987 in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" and were later spun off into their own series, which debuted on Fox in the U.S. on December 17, 1989.

Alongside the five main family members, there are a number of other major and minor characters in their family. The most commonly recurring characters are Homer's father Abraham "Grampa" Simpson; Marge's sisters Patty and Selma Bouvier; and the family's two pets, Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II. Other family members include Homer's mother Mona Simpson, Homer's half-brother Herbert Powell, Marge's mother Jacqueline Bouvier, and other minor relatives.

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", also known as "The Simpsons Christmas Special", is the series premiere episode of the American animated TV series The Simpsons. It was the first episode to air despite originally being the eighth episode produced for season one. It is the only full-length episode to air during the 1980s, having originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 17, 1989.

In the episode, Homer Simpson discovers that he will not be getting a Christmas bonus and thus his family has no money to buy Christmas presents after they had to waste money on getting his son Bart's tattoo removed. He decides to keep their financial troubles a secret and gets a job as a shopping mall Santa Claus, but later discovers that the job does not pay enough. Desperate for a miracle, Homer and Bart go to the dog-racing track on Christmas Eve in hopes of earning some money but end up adopting an abandoned greyhound, Santa's Little Helper.

The episode was written by Mimi Pond, and it was directed by David Silverman.

"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" was nominated for two Emmy Awards in 1990, and has received positive reviews from television critics. It was viewed by approximately 13.4 million viewers in its original airing.

The show was originally intended to debut earlier in 1989 with "Some Enchanted Evening", but due to animation problems with that episode, the show debuted with this episode on December 17.

Stop! Or My Dog Will Shoot

"Stop! Or My Dog Will Shoot" is the twentieth episode of The Simpsons' eighteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 13, 2007. When Santa's Little Helper rescues a lost Homer, he becomes a local hero and the Simpsons decide to enroll him in Police Dog Academy, where he is teamed with Lou and they become a crime-busting duo. Bart's excitement quickly vanishes after an incident with a jaded Santa's Little Helper, so to appease Bart's depression after the loss of his dog, Marge agrees to buy him a huge pet snake, which causes a life-threatening situation at Bart and Lisa's school. It was written by John Frink and directed by Matthew Faughnan. Friend of the show Stephen Hawking makes his third guest appearance on the show as himself, while Maurice LaMarche does the voice of the Horn Stuffer. Rudy Giuliani makes a guest voice appearance as himself, although not in the original airing. The fan-favorite song "Freak On a Leash" by metal band,

Korn, is featured when Santa's Little Helper is trying to find Homer in a corn-stalk maze. The episode was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award.

The Canine Mutiny

"The Canine Mutiny" is the twentieth episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 13, 1997. It was written by Ron Hauge and directed by Dominic Polcino. Bart applies for a credit card and goes on a spending spree when it arrives, including an expensive trained dog called 'Laddie'. It guest stars voice actor Frank Welker as Laddie, a parody of Lassie. The episode's title references the novel The Caine Mutiny.

The Girl Who Slept Too Little

"The Girl Who Slept Too Little" is the second episode of The Simpsons' seventeenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 18, 2005, and was seen by 9.79 million people during this broadcast.

The Simpsons Guy

"The Simpsons Guy" is the first episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series Family Guy, and the 232nd overall episode. "The Simpsons Guy" is a 44-minute-long crossover with The Simpsons, and was written by Patrick Meighan and directed by Peter Shin. It originally aired in the United States on September 28, 2014, on Fox, where both The Simpsons and Family Guy have aired since their respective debuts.

In the episode, the Griffins meet the Simpsons for the first time and decide to stay with them after the Griffin family's car is stolen just outside Springfield. After the Griffins get their car back, Peter is taken to court as a representative of the Pawtucket Patriot brewery, his employer, when it is discovered that its ale is an unauthorized copy of Duff Beer.

The idea for a crossover episode was suggested by Family Guy executive producer and former Simpsons writer Richard Appel, and the episode was announced by Fox in July 2013. Five of the six main members of the voice cast of The Simpsons—the exception being Harry Shearer—voiced their characters in the episode. "The Simpsons Guy" was met with a mixed reception by critics, who had differing opinions on how well the two shows combined.

To Cur with Love

"To Cur with Love" is the eighth episode of the 24th season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 16, 2012. An alternate cut of this episode was re-aired on December 23, 2012. It had a few minor changes, including insertion of the Plymptoons couch gag from "Beware My Cheating Bart" that was not included in the original airing. Also, the final Montgomery Burns Explains the "Fiscal Cliff" scene was cut from the original version shown so that the episode still has the same runtime.

Two Dozen and One Greyhounds

"Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" is the 20th episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 9, 1995. The episode was written by Mike Scully and directed by Bob Anderson. Frank Welker guest stars as Santa's Little Helper and various other dogs. In the episode, Santa's Little Helper has puppies with a dog that he met at the greyhound racetrack.

The episode is inspired by Walt Disney Pictures' 1961 animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians. The producers decided to have Mr. Burns communicate his horrific plan of making a tuxedo from the puppies through a musical number, "See My Vest", after determining that it would be a "fun and light" way to convey his plan of killing the greyhounds. "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" received a generally positive reception from television critics. During the week of its original broadcast, the episode finished 55th in ratings, with a Nielsen rating of 7.3. Several reviews considered the episode to be among the best in the series, with Mr. Burns' role and the "See My Vest" sequence being singled out for praise.

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