Ah, the Simpsons retcon. This has always been a show that played fast and loose with the facts and this episode is no exception OH WHO AM I KIDDING I BLUBBERED LIKE A BABY.
It's the elephant in the room. You can't talk about this episode without talking about how outrageously sad it is. And not even poignantly sad, like Lisa deciding to stop trying so hard, or Marge and Homer having marital difficulties. We're talking full on Spielbergian emotional manipulation.
I can't even summarize the plot without getting weepy. Homer gets wrapped up in a casual game which you would think would be a reference to The Simpsons: Tapped Out, but only in the most glancing sense. Engrossed in his tapping, he manages to lose the family dog. Everyone is heartbroken except Homer. When quizzed about his complete lack of caring, Grandpa Simpson finally explains that it's because Homer had his heart broken by a dog when he was a kid, and I guess he could never bring himself to love another dog again.
Maybe it's because I had a dog when I was a kid, and we basically grew up together, and then I had to put him to sleep when he was 18 and I was 25, and that was 15 years ago, and I still can't bring myself to think about getting a dog. Maybe it's because my cat is dying. Or maybe it's because I am a living breathing human being with thoughts and feelings. But when the episode peaked with Grandpa producing a picture of Homer's old dog sleeping on Homer's sweatshirt (thus proving that Homer's dog never did forget him, as Homer had believed), I completely lost it.
I don't even remember what happened in the rest of the episode. I was watching it on broadcast television, so I couldn't pause it. It kept playing as I sat there like a sack of blubbering idiocy. I think there was another Mr. Burns short? I don't know. And then Bob's Burgers came on and I was like, "Yay… Sniffle?"
Many Simpsons fans will basically fall into a black hole trying to reconcile all the confusing "facts" that were added by this show. Like how the one-armed guy lost his arm, even though they told us a different story 20 years ago. Or how Chief Wiggum started out as a dog catcher, even though they told us a different story 20 years ago. Frankly I don't care. I'm putting this one on the same shelf as "Jurassic Bark," and I'm never watching it again.