The Simpsons, Season 24, Episode 8: To Cur with Love, Review

Maybe the first Simpsons episode to ever cause a viewer to actually well up with emotion. Granted, for a dog, not an actual Simpson.

So…I guess there are no more couch gags at the beginning. They must have run out of ideas…

Residents of Springfield are pitching their energy-saving ideas to Mr. Burns, in the hopes of winning an award. The Scientist has a car powered by sound waves, but he quickly loses control and crashes into the retirement home. Grandpa Abe has to move back in with the family, but Homer fakes a back injury to get out of packing. Instead, he ends up getting deeply involved in a game on his tablet (similar to Farmville or Cityville or any game like that) and spends the entire day building his village, feeding his jackass, torturing serfs, etc. He plays until everyone else arrives home and they find out that their dog is missing. It turns out that when Homer went to get a snack, he accidentally locked Santa’s Little Helper in a cupboard. The family is annoyed at his lack of concern, until Abe starts to tell the story of Bongo, Homer’s best friend when he was a kid.When Homer was a baby, Bongo helped calm him down when he was crying and together they became pals, even engaging in some illicit activities (like pulling fire alarms and stopping ice cream trucks when Bongo played dead in the street). One day, while handing out stuffed frogs to a bunch of kids, Mr. Burns is bitten by Bongo and threatens to kill him. He sends the dog catcher out (Wiggum, mentoring a young Lou), but Abe steps in to save Bongo, taking him out to the country to a lady who has lots of different types of animals. (At which point, I said to my husband, “Oh look!  It’s our house!) Homer is heartbroken about leaving his friend, wondering when they can go back to pick him up and learning that he can’t. The dog does get Homer’s sweatshirt to remember him by, though.When Abe and Homer get home, Mr. Burns confronts them, asking for the dog, but Abe fights him off (with a bug zapper). Abe offers to be humiliated and cares for Burns’ hounds for a year. However, giving up Bongo has destroyed the father son relationship. Homer goes back to the house a few months later to try to get his dog back, but sees how happy Bongo is and finally realizes that his Dad saved him. There is even a picture of Bongo sleeping by a fireplace on Homer’s old sweatshirt. This results in Abe and Homer tearing up, hugging, warm family make up stuff, etc.The episode ends with Homer and Abe asleep on the couch, snuggling with Santa’s Little Helper. The next day, Homer takes him out for a walk, finally able to show some love to another dog. In the final moments, as with other recent episodes, Burns puts in his two cents, this time explaining the fiscal cliff as a car with a rich driver who will drive it off a cliff if the driver doesn’t get the money he wants. Strange..but funny.
Final review:  
Okay, I am a total animal lover and I found myself choking up a few times in this last half hour, even though the dog story had a happy ending. The writers made yet another dig at our obsession with technology, with Homer getting sucked into his game to the point that he neglected Santa’s Little Helper, but overall this was a poignant episode. Would have liked more of a Christmas theme though, since the other cartoons are doing it.
Best lines:  
Bart asking Abe, “You have a story with an ending?” And then writing down the origins of other characters in the show.Lisa crying and yelling, “FINISH THE DAMN STORY!”Abe tells Homer he thought that Homer loved the dog more than him; Homer asks, “Why would you think that?  Because I put you in a home where they feed you dog food?”