"On Feb. 9, 1997, an episode of The Simpsons premiered that would mock industry executives’ meddling in the creative process and call out obnoxious fan fickleness, all the while making history as it ushered the show past The Flintstones for the most episodes of a primetime animated series, at 167," says Ryan Parker in introducing his Hollywood Reporter oral history. "It would also mark the first instance of Comic Book Guy’s catchphrase: 'Worst (fill in the noun) Ever.' As hilarious as it was bold, 'The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show' (episode 14 of season eight) would go on to be considered by The Simpsons crew, fans and media (including Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, Time and the BBC) as among the best chapters of the Fox cartoon staple, which is currently in its 33rd season. With a couch gag featuring the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover, then–co-showrunner Josh Weinstein noted that 'The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show,' from writer David X. Cohen, was one of the most complete first draft scripts ever produced for the show. The meta episode revolves around waning interest in the long-running 'Itchy & Scratchy Show.' In a knee-jerk reaction to recover from his ratings dip, Krusty the Clown demands the classic segment be retooled. Bumbling studio executives order the addition of an edgy dog to reinvigorate the cat and mouse duo. Enter Poochie. Homer lands the gig voicing the hip-hop surfer canine — but Poochie is immediately loathed by fans and unceremoniously killed off. To drive the point home about nonsensical series alterations and further poke fun at Fox executives, the Simpson family has a hip teenage houseguest named Roy drop in for the episode."
TOPICS: The Simpsons, FOX, American Auto, Super Bowl LVI