Posts Tagged ‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire


Quote of the Day

“What are the odds on Santa’s Little Helper?” – Homer Simpson
“Ninety-nine to one.” – Ticket Booth Guy
“Wow! Ninety-nine times thirteen equals merry Christmas!” – Homer Simpson

Happy Simpsons Day everybody!


Quote of the Day

“Can we keep him, Dad? Please!” – Bart Simpson
“But he’s a loser! He’s pathetic! He’s . . . a Simpson.” – Homer Simpson

Happy Simpsons Day, everybody!


Quote of the Day

“Attention all personnel, please keep working during the following announcement. And now, our boss and friend, Mr. Burns.” – Mr. Smithers
“Hello. I’m proud to announce that we’ve been able to increase safety here at the plant, without increasing the cost to the consumer or affecting management pay raises. However, for you semi-skilled workers, there will be no Christmas bonuses. . . . Oh, and one more thing, Merry Christmas!” – C.M. Burns

Happy Simpsons Day, everybody! 


Quote of the Day


“The fifth grade will now favor us with a scene from Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’.” – Principal Skinner
“Oh, how many grades does this school have?” – Homer Simpson

Merry Annual Gift Day, everybody!


Quote of the Day


“Yello?” – Homer Simpson
“Marge, please.” – Patty Bouvier
“Who’s this?” – Homer Simpson
“May I please speak to Marge.” – Patty Bouvier
“This is her sister, isn’t it?” – Homer Simpson
“Is Marge there?” – Patty Bouvier
“Who shall I say is calling?” – Homer Simpson
“Marge, please.” – Patty Bouvier
“It’s your sister.” – Homer Simpson

Happy Simpsons Day, everybody! 


Quote of the Day

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“Can we open our presents now, Dad?” – Future Gambler
“You know the tradition, son.  Not till the eighth race.” – Gambler


Reading Digest: Everyone Loves “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” Edition

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♫”Then all the reindeer loved him/
And they shouted out with glee/
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer/
You’ll go down in history!”♫ – The Simpson Family
“Like Attila the Hun!” – Bart Simpson

Simpsons Day was on Wednesday this week, and with it being a (relatively) big number, 25 years and all, it got more than the usual attention.  So we’ve got a lot of lists and retrospectives mixed in with some usage, a bit of fan art, one hapless defense of Zombie Simpsons, a couple of Hutz tributes, a pre-Simpsons David Silverman project, and several people who used the show to protest whichever high profile police killing we’re on now.  In addition to that, we’ve got several links about “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” and just how well it stands the test of time.  It’s true, and it’s nice to see people agreeing.


(Oh, and I’ve still got that Christmas Compare & Contrast saved in the draft folder.  I’ll get to it, I swear!)

Christmas Merriment Review #17: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire [The Simpsons] (1989) – Like so many other links this week, Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is about that very first episode, and it’s spot on:

Yet the Simpsons don’t go unrewarded for their deeds. And that’s something that should also be brought up. The situation Homer puts himself through is not because of his own greediness (like in the later episode”‘Tis the Fifteenth Season”), but simply due to circumstance. He does what he does because he wants his family to have a merry Christmas of their own, even if it means he has to overwork himself to do it. He goes through his own internal struggle trying to be as successful as Ned, but never finding the means to. Yet his actions in this instant are pure and we root for him to succeed because of it.

This and that: “Um Dasher, Dancer… Prancer… Nixon, Comet, Cupid… Donna Dixon?”* – More love for “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” (among other things).

bathimpact advent calendar, december 17th 1989: The first episode of The Simpsons airs – I keep telling everyone the kids are alright, and here’s more evidence with a college kid talking about how well “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” has aged.

The Simpsons’ First Episode Is 25 Years Old And You NEED To Watch It Again – Yes:

Sometimes it’s odd to go back to the first episode of a long-running show and see just how drastically different everything became since, but while it’s fun to notice little things like Moe’s appearance and Ralph Wiggum’s lucidity, it says a lot that, actually, this episode feels like any other golden 20 minutes in Springfield. The script is peppered with sharp one-liners and running gags (“And Bart… well… we love Bart”, notes Marge after already listing how well everyone else is doing) but behind it all is a heartfelt story driven by flawed and larger-than-life but rounded and empathetic characters.

Many standard Christmas movies will be doing the rounds over the next few weeks but for a quick bite-size gem, definitely see if you can dig out Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire. It’s 25 years old but it’s a little piece of television history that’s as enjoyable today as it was in 1989.

Embiggening English: The Simpsons and changing language – Via a whole bunch of places, a high falutin’ English blog takes a look at some of the words from the show.  I am distressed that “Yoink” isn’t mentioned, but otherwise it’s a fine read.

‘MythBusters’ to test scenes from ‘The Simpsons.’ Here are five that should be re-created. – Good suggestions.  As always, it’s worth noting that none of them are from Zombie Simpsons.

5-sentence review of ‘The Simpsons: I Won’t Be Home Christmas’ – Heh:

4. The got the dog, Santa’s Little Helper, at the end of that episode.
5. Fortunately, “Simpsons” characters don’t age, otherwise that dog would be as dead as I feel inside when I watch the show 25 years later.

Germany’s Homer Simpson is actually 85 – The guy who does Homer in Germany has no plans on quitting.

Simpsons 25th anniversary: Why every woman should love Lisa – There’s some Zombie Simpsons in here, but it’s pretty solid.  And there’s this:

8) Lisa won’t date Millhouse, no matter how persistent he is
The only person who loves Lisa more than us might be Bart’s BFF Millhouse Van Houten. He’s been trying to get her attention for 25 seasons, but Lisa won’t let herself be distracted. Why? Because she doesn’t like him “in that way”. When I was a teen I had many moments when I thought I’d probably go out with anyone who asked (who doesn’t want a boyfriend?) Then I remembered Lisa and Millhouse, and thought again.

Nobody likes Milhouse!

20 Normal Things Simpsons Fans Can’t Hear Without Laughing – Some of these are a stretch, but “Aurora Borealis” and “Default” routinely get me to snicker, even among company that doesn’t get it. (via @woohootriviaCHI)

The Simpsons: 25 times real life echoed the show – Some of these are also a stretch, but there are some good ones:

11. When the Rolling Stones toured, despite being in their seventies

Lisa is given a glimpse into the future in the 1995 episode Lisa’s Wedding, which was actually set in 2010. One of the episode’s jokes was a poster advertising the “Rolling Stones Steel Wheelchair Tour 2010”. In real life, the Stones toured in 2005, 2012 and 2014, and are still going strong. Singer Mick Jagger is 70, as is lead guitarist Keith Richards; drummer Charlie Watts is 72, and guitarist Ronnie Wood is a comparatively sprightly 66.

via @DailySimpsons.

Sorry haters, The Simpsons, which turns 25 today, is still really good. – This is your standard “but it’s been better recently” whine.  Here’s our permanent rebuttal to these tired argument.

Artist imagines the Simpsons joining the “I can’t breathe” protests – That same Italian guy who did celebrities and such as Simpsons goes whole hog on “I Can’t Breathe”.  There’s even a little story in there, with Wiggum doing media and such.

Art In Wake of Eric Garner’s Now Famous Last Words – Subway art in New York with Homer as the cop instead of Wiggum.

Mashup: Eric Garner + Simpsons – Not sure where this is from, but the CCTV cameras pointing away are a nice touch.

Lisa Simpson’s Yeardley Smith, shares her memories of The Simpsons. – Points for comedy:

2. “The day U2 came to record with us and one of the band members mooned our music director because he told him he was singing off-key.”

And for honesty:

5. “The money. Because it’s given me incredible freedom of choice — the greatest gift of all.”

The True Meaning of The Simpsons – Some love for both “Marge Be Not Proud” and “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace”.

Top 10 Holiday Sitcom Episodes of the ’90s – Both of which also make the list here.

The Simpsons Arcade Game – A video game review as a 25th anniversary celebration.

Los Simpsons y un mundo sin abogados – I can’t read this, but it’s about the show’s anniversary and has Spanish language Lionel Hutz YouTube.

An Ode “The Simpsons'” Lionel Hutz – And speaking of Hutz, who doesn’t love him?

Saturday morning routines – Good idea:

So here is the challenge: Pick a saturday, any saturday and instead of following your regular routine, stay in bed a little while longer and stream some saturday morning cartoons. Why not even check out Marge vs. the Monorail* and tell me if you agree.

The 10 best movie parodies in The Simpsons – There’s no Zombie Simpsons on here unless you count the Guillermo del Toro opening.

The Proton Transmogrification vs. Round Springfield – Someone did a compare & contrast between The Big Bang theory and “Round Springfield”.  You can guess which wins.

TV: My Christmas With…The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers – Comparing “Marge Be Not Proud” to a Bob’s Burgers Christmas episode.

“Chanukah at Bubbe’s” is the best Hanukkah special you’ve never heard of – It’s like Jewish 80s Muppets, and David Silverman did the puppets (one of whom looks a lot like Bart).

D’oh of Homer: Professors employ TV’s Simpsons – The gospel of putting the show into schools spreads.

mmmmm donuts at work – .gif of Homer getting slowly closer to the poisoned donut.

New trending GIF tagged horror vintage cartoon the… – Sit with your family, Lisa.

Day 293: Keep digging! There’s a Simpsons reference in here somewhere! – Heh.

25 Best Simpsons Episodes Ever – This is from Time, and since Zombie Simpsons sucks so bad, they didn’t even have to change the list much from 2003.

Today Is The 25th Anniversary Of ‘The Simpsons’ Debut On Fox – This is an Uproxx open thread for Simpsons quotes.  Zombie Simpsons is not well represented in the comments.

Throwback Thursday – The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (1991) – Well put:

Bart vs. the Space Mutants is a licensed video game in the worst sense of the term. Something strictly for fans and something that will only become a worthy experience if you’re willing to overlook its shortcomings and spend an inordinate amount of time making small, incremental, and frustrating, progress. It’s not a terrible game by any measure, but it’s not something that has stood the test of time either. Not that it would have, as by the end of 1992 a further 7 video games starring Bart Simpsons were released on home console. And this is generally considered to be one of the good ones.

Happy 25th Anniversary – The Simpsons – Quoted in its entirety:

Forgot to say Happy Anniversary to my childhood – I mean, The Simpsons. 25 years ago, on December 17th, this beautiful, dysfunctional family was born.
I don’t remember a time when they weren’t on TV or in my life. So, thank you: Marge, Bart, Homer, Maggie and Lisa. Oh, and Santa’s Little Helper and Snowball V. Thank you all for being a constant in my dreary life.

Preach it, sister.  Preach.


Quote of the Day

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“One ‘Mother’, please.” – Bart Simpson
“Wait a minute, how old are you?” – The Happy Sailor
“Twenty-one, sir.” – Bart Simpson
“Get in the chair.” – The Happy Sailor

Happy Simpsons Day, everybody!  


Behind Us Forever: Luca$

Chalkboard - Luca$

“Where is Homer, anyway?” – Selma Bouvier
“It’s so typical of the big doofus to spoil it all.” – Patty Bouvier
“What, Aunt Patty?” – Lisa Simpson
“Oh, nothing, dear, I’m just trashing your father.” – Patty Bouvier
“Well, I wish you wouldn’t.  Because, aside from the fact that he has the same frailties as all human beings, he’s the only father I have.  Therefore he is my model of manhood, and my estimation of him will govern the prospects of my adult relationships.  So I hope you bear in mind that any knock at him is a knock at me, and I am far too young to defend myself against such onslaughts.” – Lisa Simpson
“Mmmhmm, go watch your cartoon show, dear.” – Patty Bouvier 

After I finished watching this episode, I went to the end and began rewinding.  Lucas, the kid who Lisa briefly sorta liked and whose dialogue appeared to be stuff that was rejected from Zach Galifianakis’ part in a draft for Hangover 4, appears in the very last scene.  It had been so long since we saw him that I wasn’t even sure when he’d gone missing.  Reversing, it turns out that he had been gone since literally the halfway mark of the episode.  The show didn’t completely forget him, there was that final, tacked on scene, but he was so pointless and shallow that they literally didn’t need him for most of the second act and all of the third.  Jebus.  The dropouts at Hollywood Upstairs Screenwriting College think that’s sloppy.

Besides a forgettably shallow guest voice, what else did “Luca$” have?  Exposition.  Lots and lots and lots of exposition.  In the B-plot, Snake kept stealing stuff for Bart, which we didn’t see, then he got arrested, which we didn’t see, and then Bart went to get him out of jail, which we did see but which was practically narrated for us, including such sparkling dialogue as:

“But, Chief, we got guns!  He’s got a little wrench.”

“You won’t need to save me a third time.”

“If I get caught, it’s suicide by cop.”

“It means I get you to shoot me.”

The A-plot, meanwhile, suffered from the same repetitive problem, but managed a big swing and a miss on the ending, where they wrapped up the wrong plot thread.  Marge was supposed to be worried about Lisa seeing Homer as a bad example for future romantic partners, but that quickly devolved into Homer being upset with her about it, which meant that the ending was about Homer forgiving Marge, making Lisa’s whole presence something of an afterthought.  That the big gag was that Marge wore a dress from when they drew her into Project Runway didn’t help, nor Jimbo at the bar or the overall weird and creepiness of Homer and Lisa going on a “date”.  The quote above from Season 1 contains basically every idea the A-plot fumbled, and it didn’t forget any characters in the middle either.

– Slapping “Parodies Are Easy” on the couch gag is maybe a bit more revealing than they think.

– Why did Nelson run up the playground in a baseball uniform?

– Repeating the word “Senator” should kill some time.

– Skinner chasing Bart in his car is, uh, somewhat dumber than “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”.

– Milhouse gets an aside to complain about the “fat kid with a dream”.  They really have no idea how to write dialogue anymore.  Even inside the cafeteria what passes for jokes has to come from asides and random breaks in what’s actually happening.

– Nice that this kid just happens to have tupperware full of hot dogs in the cafeteria.

– “Liberated, you mean stolen?” Thanks, exposition Milhouse.

– “Then that makes me the Jackie Robinson of the sport, and you are the racist Philadelphia manager.”/”Quit comparing me to Ben Chapman” – Jokes work so much better when explained beforehand.  It’s comedy 101, everyone knows that.

– “Women marry their fathers, Marge” – In case anyone was unclear what was going on, it has now been explained to us.

– The montage of stolen things ate up some time.

– Is all of Galifianakis’ dialogue going to be him telling us what he’s eating?  (Amusing side note: my spell checker’s only suggestion for his name was “Egalitarianism”.)

– “Careful it’s uncut syrup”, hmmm, haven’t I seen Bart and Milhouse mainline Squishee syrup before?  Nah, this feels too original and believable.

– “You ratted him out!” – And for approximately the fortieth time in just  thirteen minutes of video, things have been explained to the audience yet again.

– Professional freelance writer as an advice authority is kinda funny.  Of course, it’s also one of the few jokes that happen within the dialogue and aren’t about explaining what’s happening, but I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

– “Homer you can’t just do the things you want to do” comes right after Homer tells us what he might do.

– “She might marry someone like me”/”you think that might be bad?” – These just keep coming.  It’s one thing to explain what’s happening, it’s quite another to do is three times in the same scene.

– Nice of Cletus to just be there at the bar without saying anything until now.

– Good Jebus, now Homer is describing what he’s gonna do at the dinner.

– “Hey, I can’t screw this up or Lisa will get stuck with someone like me” – Did you get it yet?  People who fell asleep watching American Dad and just left the TV on could follow this plot by now.

– “We need to have a conversation in loud whispers”, once again, the action you’re about to see before you see it: comedy!

– How about some characters describing their feelings out loud and in public?  “I felt terrible when you said I felt stuck with you, but then I realized I am stuck with you”.  Ugh.

– “Remember that sewing machine you say I never use, well I sold it and bought this dress” – It’s never going to stop.

– Why is Jimbo at the bar?

– Hey, Lucas is back for the last scene in the episode.  I guess he didn’t choke to death or anything.

– “You’re not competitive eating anymore?”/’No, I realized that was unrealistic”, but his lines are still terrible.

– The whistle version of the theme over the credits was kinda nice, but, then again, I’m a sucker for that song.

Anyway, the ratings are in and while they are up slightly from last week, they remain deep in the toilet.  Last night, just 4.30 million people wondered why they named the episode after a character who wasn’t in the last half of it.  That’s good enough to not be one of the ten least watched episodes ever, the first time that’s happened since January, but is still #14 on the all time least watched list.  Season 25 remains well on pace to be the least watched season ever.


Sight Gags: Simpsons Roasting on An Open Fire

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“Selma and I couldn’t be more excited about seeing our baby sister for Christmas Eve.” – Patty Bouvier
“Homer and I are looking forward to your visit, too.” – Marge Simpson
“Somehow I doubt that Homer’s excited.  Of all the men you could’ve married, I don’t know why you picked one who’s always so rude rt. . .” – Patty Bouvier

To go along with my new found love of quoting episodes on the day they came out, how about a look at some of those jokes that just can’t be quoted?  Being the first episode and all, the sign gags are far below what would become the average, but “slightly irregular” Christmas trees always brings a smile to my face:

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And, really, who doesn’t give tattoos as gifts?:

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Even in Season 1, the show was well ahead of its time:

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Reading Digest: Reminiscing Holiday Edition

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“Dear friends of the Simpson family, we had some sadness and some gladness this year.  First the sadness, our little cat Snowball was unexpectedly run over and went to kitty heaven, but we bought a new little cat, Snowball II, so I guess life goes on.  Speaking of life going on, Grampa is still with us, feisty as ever.  Maggie is walking by herself.  Lisa got straight As.  And Bart, well, we love Bart.” – Marge Simpson

As we’re now at t-minus 11 days and counting to the biggest holiday on the American calendar, the internet’s thoughts are turning to Christmas in a big way, and that means lots of talk about not only “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”, but also the Simpsons past generally.  This week we’ve got plenty of both.  In addition to that, we’ve got two disappointing list rankings, one of the most creative things ever done in Lego Duplo, a young woman doing Simpsons voices, two pieces of evidence for the toothless crappiness of this week’s episode of Zombie Simpsons, and a reminder that The Simpsons was so great that it’s the best part of a terrible movie that it’s barely in. 


The Simpsons Top 25 episodes of all time – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this great list, which is detailed, thorough, and contains not a whiff of Zombie Simpsons.

Simple Simpsons – You’ve seen the Simpsons rendered in Lego, but how about Duplo?  Awesome.

The Simpsons Impressions Moe Hunt – A collection of one young woman’s Simpsons voices.  Her Burns is okay (needs to be a bit deeper), but she’s damned good at a lot of the kids, Milhouse, Nelson, Ralph, etcetera.  Also, excellent quote selection (no Zombie Simpsons).  Worth a look. 

Starting the Simpsons Journey – Another blogger is taking up the challenge of watching all the episodes.  She hasn’t started yet, but seeing as how Monday is Simpsons Day, that’s a great time to get going. 

December 17th – Some other notable events in history that have taken place on Simpsons Day. 

Daily Prompt: My Hero! – Some great advice from Homer and why you should take it.  Lots of early season stuff here and no Zombie Simpsons.  Bravo.

#34 TV Review: The Simpsons (1989-Present) – A librarian in training summarizes the show, and this is perfect librarian for “massive quality collapse”:

It holds the title as the longest prime-time animated running series in the United States. Although the quality of the series has arguably declined in the past few seasons


Die Hard 2 (1990) – Bruce Willis actually gets called a “loose cannon” at one point in this movie, which is why this may be the only un-ironically good thing about the entire film:

Super fun fact: I believe this is the first appearance of “The Simpsons” on the big screen, as a bit from the first Dr. Marvin Monroe episode is briefly shown during the film.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out – I knew you could buy stuff in game here, but Jebus:

And the game plays nice at first, with Lisa instructing you on the basic mechanics to get you up and running. It doesn’t take long for you to realise though that actually getting anything resembling Springfield up-and-running, is a long-winded affair. Luckily for you, the developers put together a neat package for ‘premium money’ (which comes in the form of doughnuts) that let you purchase items a lot sooner than through the typical means. The packages range from £1.49, all the way up to £69.99.


Call of Duty doesn’t even cost that much.

It’s twice as annoying when you soon realise that there’s a sizable portion of content in the gate that can only be purchased with premium money – and it isn’t cheap either.  For example, the Duff Brewery costs 190 doughnuts; take into account the closest monetary package available is 300 doughnuts (costing £13.99).

Remind me again why it was so important for the voice actors to take a pay cut?

MacHomer: A Tale Told (about) an Idiot – The MacHomer guy is getting ready to hang it up.  This is a profile/interview of him and talks about both the show and Shakespeare.

The Bloopers To End All Other Bloopers – YouTube of Albert Brooks improvising from the Season 1 DVDs.

Matt Selman, the writer of last night’s episode of The Simpsons, explains the A.V. Club cameo – I’m under no illusions that the writers of The Simpsons were comedy monks who didn’t admire some of the things they were sending up.  But last Sunday’s episode wasn’t satire, it was a mash note, and while that’s nothing new for Zombie Simpsons, this one does come with confirmation of just how obsequious the people behind the show are now:

We here at The A.V. Club continue to bask in the afterglow of our unexpected cameo in last night’s episode of The Simpsons. But how did it come about? How did a reference to our humble publication end up in this most venerable, beloved and influential of pop-culture institutions? For an answer, we emailed Matt Selman, the episode’s writer, who was kind enough to give us the following explanation for our appearance:

    “I love it when The Simpsons references specific real world things that people are passionate about.  It’s what drew me to the show when I was just a fan, and I love putting those specific references in now that I have some power over these things.  To include The Onion and The A.V. Club is an honor.”

“an honor”?  Zombie Simpsons gave up on being funny a long time ago, now they just want to fit in with the cool kids.  Click through for more shameless ass kissing.

Tutorial Notes on Outsider Art – An actual explanation of outsider art that happens to include “Mom and Pop Art”.

Episode: A Simpson’s Christmas – A podcast about both “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” and “Marge Be Not Proud”.  They do agree with us that the show has gone downhill.

First Friday’s Fictional Friday – Waylon Smithers – A profile of Smithers from a business/employee point of view, and contains several quotes (none of which are Zombie Simpsons).

The Simpsons’ time has already passed – A long post that agrees with us, but thinks the decline is much more recent.

The Best Animated TV Shows of All Time: Yes, another Best of List, Get Over it – The show clocks in at #3 here, which seems unusually low, so I’m blaming Zombie Simpsons.

12/12/12…In 10 Words – If you were seventeen, we’d be rich!  But no, you had to be ten (er, twelve).

121212: The Concert For Sandy Relief…In 10 Words – Celebrities, who normally steer clear of fashionable causes, etcetera.  Whatever’s left they throw in the ocean. 

D’oh! The Simpsons feature West Ham, get colours wrong – More inattention to detail at Zombie Simpsons:

West Ham United have become the first Premier League club to appear in The Simpsons — there is just one slight problem — the show got their colours wrong.

A flag celebrating the Hammers appears in the latest episode of the long-running cartoon but it is in green and not the club’s famous claret and blue.

Obviously nobody should get fired over this blunder, it’s completely unimportant to the show, but think of all the layers of review that went through and nobody took the two seconds to check it.

Yum! A Simpsons-Themed Gingerbread House – YouTube of the construction of a gingerbread family and 742 Evergreen Terrace.  The chalkboard(?) drawing at the beginning is pretty impressive in its own right.

The Simpsons Movie – Other than that Spider Pig is all anyone remembers, this is a sentiment that seems to be more or less universal about the movie:

They just waited too long to make it. It would have been awesome if it came out in 1997. The show has had so many episodes and zany situations that nothing surprises you in the movie.

Eagle Vision? Meet Donut Vision – Unsure of the source, but it’s a fan made drawing of Homer and Flanders, Assassin’s Creed style.  Cool.

Top 10 Shows – The show only comes in at #9 here.  As always, I blame Zombie Simpsons.

Amazing – JPG of Wiggum explaining the Esquilax.

Poochie, we hardly knew ye – Animated .gif of Poochie returning to his home planet.

There’s only one Ralph Wiggum – Animated .gif of Ralph’s academic alert.

If animated .GIFs could be “on-hold music”… – Homer think-dancing while Lisa plays the jug.

Day 2: “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” The Simpsons (1989) – Our old friend Philip J. Reed and some collaborators are going through Christmas TV episodes.  Amidst some personal and social context for the first episode, they agree with us:

“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” is perhaps the crystallization of that perfect old TV show, the first episode, with all of its early, unsure steps and lines that sound less like real dialogue and more like catch phrases to be printed on t-shirts – which they of course in turn were. But it’s also a much more mature Simpsons than the show that we know now, about the family that flies internationally on a whim, fights murderous robots in a theme park and saves its town from becoming encased in a giant dome (a plot that Stephen King would later rip off).

The insanity is so regular now you almost don’t notice. 


Reading Digest: Roasting on an Open Fire Edition

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“Bart, did you hear that?  What a name!  Santa’s Little Helper?  It’s a sign!  It’s an omen!” – Homer Simpson
“It’s a coincidence, Dad.” – Bart Simpson

I know tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and that Christmas is in the rearview mirror, but this is a list of links from the past week, and in that time “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” won the internet.  We’ve got five – count ’em five! – links to people who in one way or another wrote up the original Simpsons episode.  Combined with comments like these, it’s nice to see it still garnering so much love and attention all these years later.  There’s also an abbreviated version of the usual stuff, including excellent usage, fan art, crappy merchandise, a sweet tattoo, and a YouTube video that needs to be seen. 


Homer Simpson CUBED!!! – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the week is this amazing Homer Simpson made from 225 Rubik’s cubes:

Special bonus points for using “Simpsons Christmas Boogie” as a background song.  This has 59 views on YouTube, it needs about 59,000.

Christmas and the Wisdom of the Simpsons – Love for “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”:

This may in fact be the one that got my kids started on their Simpsons obsession. Listening to it while I wrapped presents reminded me of the brilliance of this show. They can take a topic that I would rail on and on about (boringly and shrilly) and boil it down to a hilarious 7-second quip.

Sounds Like the Perfect Saturday to Me – Animated .gif of Homer on the couch dreaming of being on the couch. 

The Simpsons and the GOP 2012 Race – Heh.  Jon Huntsman as Smithers and Rick Santorum as Gil are particularly clever.

Macy’s Christmas Parade at Universal Studios – The Orlando theme park has a Christmas parade, and here are pictures of it, including a few of people in Simpsons costumes. 

The Marriage of Bacon and Bacon – Homer’s family cufflinks on what appear to be real, tuxedo cuffs.

25 Days of Lezzie Christmas Episodes: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire – Our old friend Lenny takes a look at this week’s theme episode:

I love the introduction to Patty. She refuses to even speak to Homer, she just keeps asking if Marge is there. The annoying in-laws are kind of an oldschool sitcom cliche. It’s kind of amazing how developed and sympathetic they eventually become without losing those delightfully bitchy personalities.

The show always did a good job of walking that line.  Patty and Selma are a pain in the ass, but then you look at Homer and realize, they kind of have a point. 

Batman Abroad: In Bruges, aka The Holiday Post – A list of good and bad movies of the year, a pictorial essay of a trip to Bruges, Batman, and it still mentions:

OK now I’m watching Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. Fun fact, this is the first ever episode of The Simpsons.

Sideshow Bob by ~phifel on deviantART – Fan made pencil sketch of Sideshow Bob looking nonchalantly stabby. 

Bart Simpson as Baby Jesus – Sweet Bart themed nativity scene in Portland. 

Illini Survive Ugly, Never-Ending 2OT Conference Opener vs. Gophers – Moderate usage:

One of my all time favorite The Simpsons quotes: “Mr. Simpson, this is the biggest case of false advertising since my suit against the film the never ending story” –Lionel Hutz

The legendary lawyer character played by the late, great Phil Hartman refers to a 1984 film with a running time of 94 minutes in the American version. Illinois escaping 81-72 in 2 OT over the Minnesota Golden Gophers ran about 2 hours, 40 minutes.

Hutz actually says, “Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film ‘The NeverEnding Story’.” 

1990 Marge and Homer Simpson Bendable Action Figures – Another old time Krusty Brand Seal of Approval here.

MARGE SIMPSON | Flickr – Someone got an astonishingly well done replica of one of the images of Marge from Playboy tattooed on his thigh.  The colors, shadows and everything match. 

Timberwolves rookie Ricky Rubio talks, Bob Sansevere listens: "You always dream about one day playing in the NBA"The Simpsons isn’t just beloved in the NHL, but also in the NBA:

I liked "The Simpsons" growing up. I had a couple more cartoons I liked, but they were in Spanish. I really loved "The Simpsons." I still watch it.

Top Five TV Devils – The Animated Edition – Devil Flanders and the Robot Devil are on here.

Simplifying Skepticism: Correlation vs Causation – Illustrating correlation and causation with tigers, rocks and the Bear Patrol.

Hope Lies on Television #12 – A Family Tradition, From A Non-Traditional Family – A long take on pretty much every Christmas episode from The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons, including you know what:

Considering that ‘Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire’ was the first example of these characters being used to tell a fully realised narrative, it’s amazing how bleak it is right up until the final moment of slight redemption.

Greatest Christmas TV Episode Ever: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire – And finally, I get to end with another link to the original episode and someone who agrees with us:

I’ve mentioned before how The Simpsons is my favorite TV show.  Even though it’s not as great now as it was back in the 90s, The SImpsons still is number one to me.  ”Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” was the first episode aired of the series, and it remains a holiday classic.

Damn right.


Quote of the Day

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“I hope you feel better, Santa.” – Little Girl
“Oh, I will when Mrs. Claus’s sisters get out of town.  Thanks for listening kid.” – Homer Simpson


The Passion of Homer Simpson

“I don’t deserve you as much as a guy with a fat wallet and a credit card that won’t set off that horrible beeping.” – Homer Simpson

Many horrible things befall American everyman Homer Simpson in “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”. With the quick and relatively harmless exceptions of a snow cushioned fall off the roof and hitting his head on the doorframe of Santa’s workshop, these things aren’t physical. Nor, for that matter, are they malicious or deliberate. Ned Flanders is far too guileless to understand that his Christmas decorations are humiliating to Homer. Bart isn’t trying to break Homer’s spirit when he gets a tattoo or yanks off Homer’s fake Santa beard. Even Burns, who cancels Homer’s Christmas bonus, doesn’t do so to screw Homer, he’s just greedy about preserving “management pay raises”. The world is indifferent to Homer Simpson, and that much crueler for being so.

Over twenty-two minutes, we watch Homer stumble through one vile task after another. It begins with the enforced boredom of the school Christmas pageant. The unrelenting tedium of such events is supposed to be made worthwhile by getting to see your child perform, but Homer is denied even that solace when Bart is physically yanked off stage. Not that home provides any comfort, Homer’s openly contemptuous sisters-in-law have installed themselves in the one place he can usually find rest.

Neither the tattoo fiasco nor the cancelled bonus are Homer’s fault, he didn’t even have any warning. Nevertheless, he is consumed with guilt, and as he begins to confess his inadequacies to Marge, she responds with nothing but love, and it nearly breaks his heart. It’s a genuinely touching scene, and Homer, ever the dimwit, completely misinterprets his wife.

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire3

Instead of seeing Marge’s affection and sympathy as a way to share his burdens, he doubles his resolve and takes up the mantle of the unlikeliest Christmas hero. His sense of purpose is stronger than steel, but his efforts to provide a picture perfect holiday are as doomed as they are bumbling. Disaster follows disaster.

No sooner has he talked himself into gifts so wildly off the mark that they might be worse than nothing does his unwitting nemesis Flanders reappear to shatter his illusions. Distraught, he latches on to a new plan even though it’s been recommended by a man Homer knows to be an incompetent drunk.

Trusting in the utterly untrustworthy, Homer hitches his hopes to the ass end of Christmas commercialism and moonlights as a mall Santa. Despite his endearing sincerity and actual hard work – at a job that doesn’t even give him lunch – Homer’s labors net him a hopelessly chintzy thirteen dollars. Then, in one of the harshest ironies in Christmas television history, Homer disbelieves his drunken idiot friend the one time the besotted fool happens to be right.

Worse, it’s revealed that this second stage of the plan was in Barney’s head all along. Homer has suffered yet another inadvertent blow, including exposing his failure to his only son, by simple omission. Homer consents to press ahead only when Bart, in a scalpel sharp piece of satire, invokes the improbably miraculous history of Christmas television. Compelled by desperation and the love of the only thing that’s ever done him right, Homer keeps chasing the glorious teevee Christmas that, deep down, he knows is dissolving by the minute.

And so we come to the dog track, as atypical a setting for cinematic endings as possible, where Homer’s futile pursuit of Christmas sabotages him once again. Against the advice of the son who invoked television miracles in the first place, Homer bets it all on Jimmy Stewart and Kris Kringle in the form of a dog named Santa’s Little Helper. As everyone but him can see, Homer is wrong. The race itself doesn’t even offer the solace of suspense: the improbable Christmas underdog is instantly defeated.

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire4

Beaten but unbroken, far lower than he thought he would ever sink, Homer scours a cold and dirty parking lot for the grimy miracle of a discarded winning ticket. When he stands up from this hopeless task, you can almost see him surveying the barren wasteland of failure to which his gallant intentions have brought him. Outside of a dog track he didn’t want his son at in the first place, Homer finds himself scratching at the harsh, unsympathetic asphalt on which even the pathetic and the penniless trod with dignity.

When salvation does arrive in the form of the dog that lost his hard earned thirteen dollars, Homer doesn’t recognize his luck. This may seem like a minor point, but it is crucial to who Homer Simpson is and why we root for him. He agrees to take in Santa’s Little Helper not because his family will love him for it, but because he recognizes the kindred spirit of the serially defeated. He doesn’t see a solution to his problems in those vacant brown eyes; he acts out of pure, unthinking sympathy. For there is no hope left in Homer Simpson, he has been broken, down to the very fibers of his being and his heart of hearts.

When his family meets the dog and he inadvertently succeeds, surprise is the only thing he registers. In the truest spirit of comedy and Christmas fairy tales, he wins in spite of himself. His mistakes, piled one atop the other so high that he couldn’t see past them, brought about the happy result his deliberate actions never could. The hopeless hero, clueless to the end, he won without winning.

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire5


Quote of the Day

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire4

“That just leaves little Maggie.  Oh look, a little squeak toy!  It says it’s for dogs, but she can’t read.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“Now whatever you do, boy, don’t squirm.  You don’t want to get this sucker near your eye or your groin.” – Tattoo Removal Guy

Happy Simpsons Day everybody! 


Quote of the Day

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire1

“Why is there a bird house in it?” – Selma Bouvier
“Uhm, that’s an ornament.” – Homer Simpson
“Do I smell gunpowder?” – Patty Bouvier


One Bad Episode

“Aw, come on Dad. This can be the miracle that saves the Simpsons’ Christmas. If TV has taught me anything it’s that miracles always happen to poor kids at Christmas. It happened to Tiny Tim, it happened to Charlie Brown, it happened to the Smurfs, and it’s gonna happen to us.” – Bart Simpson

The Dead Homer Society Manifesto lists Season 7 as having “One Bad Episode”. That episode is “Marge Be Not Proud”. Please understand that we only consider “Marge Be Not Proud” a ‘bad’ episode by the towering standards of early season Simpsons. Compared with the wretched dreck that is Zombie Simpsons it is a model of wit and comic efficiency. But when compared to its contemporaries in Season 7, and its hallowed predecessors in Seasons 1-6, it is noticeably wanting. It is the first Simpsons episode I ever watched when I felt, in the pit of my stomach, the wrenching ball of embarrassment, disappointment, and confusion that I’ve since come to associate with Zombie Simpsons. It was the first episode at which I shook my head at its simplicity, it was the first episode when I felt like I was watching television.

For its first six seasons The Simpsons had viciously mocked and relentlessly parodied conventional television. That was one of the things that made it great. It was animated and had no laughtrack, but other than that it had all of the trappings of the standard family comedy: the working father, the precocious children, and the housewife who holds everything together. But instead of following the usual formula it used those cosmetic similarities to mercilessly gut that which came before it. “Marge Be Not Proud” was the first time the show ever sincerely employed the rote, brainless patterns of a normal program. It was, in the parlance of crappy television, a ‘very special episode’.

Sitcoms of all stripes occasionally have these ‘very special episodes’ wherein one of the characters comes under threat from a health crisis or makes a decision which runs afoul of American morality. This could be trying drugs, or cheating somehow, or even . . . stealing something. It was that indulgence in the cheap storytelling of regular television (Bart steals game -> Bart gets caught -> Bart feels bad -> Marge finds out -> Marge distrusts Bart -> Bart feels worse -> Bart makes good -> they (literally) hug at the end) that made “Marge Be Not Proud” an indisputable first for The Simpsons.

It’s not as though The Simpsons had never explicitly (and seriously) shown emotional family moments before. In the first season Marge rescued Lisa from bad motherly advice (Moaning Lisa), in the second season Marge accused Bart of ruining Thanksgiving (Bart vs. Thanksgiving), in the third season Homer didn’t want to go to Bart’s soapbox derby race (Saturdays of Thunder), in the fourth season Marge felt ignored by Homer during her play (A Streetcar Named Desire), in the fifth season Marge threw Homer out (Secrets of a Successful Marriage), and in the sixth season Lisa’s wedding (Lisa’s Wedding . . . duh) collapsed because of her love for Homer. Genuine emotional moments were often handled within the framework of the show and The Simpsons knew how to play them with a light touch; using them to swiftly advance the story and then getting them out of the way. But in “Marge Be Not Proud” the emotional moments don’t just linger, they grind the story to a halt with multiple sequences that are both painfully long and clumsily obvious.

This is a tendency that has grown considerably worse over time, but it found its first expression in “Marge Be Not Proud”. What’s so amazing about it is that it really is an outcast in Season 7. It was produced right after “Mother Simpson”, which had ample opportunities to delve into schlock and didn’t, and it preceded “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield”, “Bart the Fink”, “A Fish Called Selma” and “Summer of 4 Ft. 2”, all of which could’ve gone the same route but kept moving instead. It is the use of that shopworn, moralistic plot (and the agonizingly glacial pace at which it unfolds) that makes “Marge Be Not Proud” the harbinger of Zombie Simpsons, a precursor to that feculently unwatchable teevee charade. It is the first bad episode.

The astonishing coincidence in all of this is that “Marge Be Not Proud” aired six years – to the day – after The Simpsons premiered with “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”. That’s why December 17th is Simpsons Day. This date saw both the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, the dawn and the dusk.


“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” Promos

“They’re coming to save the 90s!”  How prescient:


This is the promo clip Letterman showed in his interview with Groening:


Then as now once people got a taste of good Simpsons they just wanted to watch it over and over:


And, the aftermath:


Quote of the Day

Keeping Up with the Flanderseses

“Okay kids, prepare to be dazzled.  Marge, turn on the juice! . . . What do you think kids?” – Homer Simpson
“Nice try dad.” – Lisa Simpson
“Ugh.” – Bart Simpson
“Now just hold your horses, son.  Hey, Simpson!” – Ned Flanders
“What is it Flanders?” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, uh, do you think this looks okay?” – Ned Flanders
“Whoa.” – Lisa Simpson
“Neato.” – Bart Simpson
“It’s too bright.” – Homer Simpson

Happy Simpsons Day Everybody!


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