About Christmas TV History

Thursday, November 25, 2010

1980s Christmas: The Simpsons

How many people remember that 1989's “The Simpsons Christmas Special” was the first episode of the new series The Simpsons on the young Fox network? Also known by the title "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," this holiday special was the first half-hour length story with the animated characters introduced in short bumpers on the comedy/variety series The Tracy Ullman Show. The plot of this now legendary Christmas show is familiar: When the family’s Christmas money has to be spent on tattoo removal surgery for Bart, Homer’s last chance is found at the dog track, gambling for a merry Christmas. Homer loses his money but comes home to present the family with a dog they name Santa’s Little Helper.

But the first Simpsons Christmas story debuted the previous year, in 1988, on The Tracey Ullman Show. It features a holiday Simpsons’ short entitled ‘Simpson Christmas.’ Bart provides his own version of the poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Though the animation is a bit more rough, the irreverence and cleverness we have come to expect from this series is already perfected. This animated series would go on to produce many more classic Christmas episodes. Which is your favorite Simpsons Christmas story? (Mine is 1995's "Marge Be Not Proud.")

“So, to those of you groovin’ on my holiday rap: Happy Christmas to all and to all a good nap.”

1 comment:

  1. Great find! I'd never seen the "Tracy Ullman Show" Simpsons Christmas bit! :-)