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Episode 205: Who Watches the Watch Dog?

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Dog City
Air Date October 16, 1993
Written by Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir
Director David Gumpel (Muppet), John Van Bruggen (animation)
Whowatchesthewatchdog

Eliot Shag helps Artie repair his Biteman action figure and reminisces about his own favorite superhero, the Hooded Hound, who starred in pulp novels. Artie is more interested in the superhero toys, however, and balks at reading for entertainment. Still, the conversation does inspire Eliot to introduce a "mysterious masked adventurer who will make his mark on Dog City."

Ace Hart balks at the idea of being surrounded by "musclebound supermutts," so Eliot sends him to accompany Eddie to the Dog City Comic Book Convention. Eddie is thrilled by the modern heroes, but scoffs at the old-hat comics starring the Watch Dog. When Bugsy Vile and his gang plot to steal the one hundred rarest comics, however, they are beaten to the bunch by a new pack of crooks, the Labrador Gang. The Labradors are themselves captured by the Watchdog, surfacing mysteriously on cue.

The new hero continues to foil the Labrador Gang, but a jealous Ace's suspicions are aroused by the Watch Dog's penchant for fighting crime only when an audience is waiting. Ace interviews Watch Dog creator Fob Canine, who is less than helpful. A direct encounter with the Watch Dog, however, proves that his courage and bravado is largely feigned (or at least restrained by a rehearsed script). Ace reveales the hero as Fob Canine himself, in league with the Labrador Gang (actually comic book artists).

Ace reluctantly agrees to help the Watch Dog go out with a bang, not a whimper. A final staged caper is planned, but Bugsy (equally jealous of the Labradors' notoriety) complicates the script. The Watch Dog finally comes through, however, saving the day for the last time. Meanwhile, Eliot is pleased to discover that Artie has finally learned that reading a good hero yarn is more exciting than just playing with action figures.

References

  • Many elements of the Watch Dog and his creator are borrowed from Batman, but other hero elements are mingled in. The episode's title alludes to Alan Moore's Watchmen graphic novel.
  • A few pages of The Hooded Hound book are shown. The left side reprints a famous speech attributed to Geronimo and the opening paragraph of Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, followed by the lyrics to Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog."
  • Eliot mentions the thrilling comic Terrier and the Pilots (referencing Milt Caniff's famous comic strip Terry and the Pirates).
  • One of the comic book convention guests is named "Stan Flea." Mongrel Comics (ala Marvel) is also featured at the comic-con.
  • Canine superheroes published by Mongrel include the Whippet (who vaguely resembles Will Eisner's The Spirit, but whose costume and whip-like tale are a tribute to Indiana Jones) and Weiner Dog (a rubbery canine ala DC's Plastic Man or Marvel's Mr. Fantastic).


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Of Mutts and Mayors The Great Dane Curse

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