The Simpsons: Season 1, Episode 1

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (17 Dec. 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Animation | Comedy | Family
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,136 users  
Reviews: 20 user

Christmas seems doomed for the Simpson family when Homer receives no holiday bonus. Hoping to make extra money, he becomes a mall Santa Claus in an attempt to bring the family a happy holiday.



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Title: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (17 Dec 1989)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Homer Simpson / Barney Gumble / Elf Moldy / Grampa Simpson (voice)
Bart Simpson / Ralph Wiggum / SNPP employee / Radio singing voice / Boy / Lewis / Cashier / Elf Bubbles (voice)
Lisa Simpson (voice)
Moe Szyslak (voice)
Mr. Burns / Principal Seymour Skinner / Mr. Largo / Ned Flanders / Tattoo Guy / Waylon Smithers / Dr. Zitofsky / Loudspeaker Announcer in Shop / Santa Clause Manager / Santa Class Teacher / Announcer / Clerk (voice)
Girl (voice)
Santa Clause Girl / Todd Flanders / Santa Clause Woman / Milhouse Van Houten / Son (voice)


During Christmas at the Simpsons, Bart asks for a tattoo. Marge takes them to the mall to buy presents. Bart sees a tattoo parlor and lies about his age to get a "Mother" tattoo. Marge catches Bart while the tattoo parlor is working on it. Marge runs in and drags Bart out. She spends all the Christmas money on removing Bart's tattoo, and Mr. Burns doesn't give out bonuses. Homer then gets a job at the mall as Santa Claus. Bart goes to the mall and pulls off Homer's beard. Homer is then left without a job, and only gets paid $13.00. Will Christmas get any better for the Simpsons? Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Twas the Week Before Christmas and Fate Played a Joke. No Tree and No Presents, Homer was Broke!


TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 December 1989 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This special went on to be the series premiere. It is now listed as episode 7G08, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". See more »


When Marge tells Homer that the Christmas money is gone, he is standing in front of the kitchen. But when the camera cuts to Marge, she is the one standing in front of the kitchen. See more »


Homer: Aah! Thirteen bucks? Hey, wait a minute!
Cashier: That's right. One hundred and twenty dollars gross, less social security, less unemployment insurance, less Santa training, less costume purchase, less beard rental, less Christmas club. See you next year.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Copyright date given as 1990, despite a 1989 air date. See more »


Spoofs Goldfinger (1964) See more »


Santa Baby
Written by Joan Javits, Philip Springer and Tony Springer
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A leaner but not meaner Simpsons
23 July 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

The most interesting thing for any contemporary Simpsons fans to notice in this first episode is how much everything has changed over the years.

The early Simpsons shows were created on a much smaller budget, necessitating a smaller, less experienced, and in some ways, less skilled team. As a result, the animation style here is much rougher. There are far fewer people doing voices. The voice work isn't nearly as smooth as it would become. The personalities of the characters hadn't settled into norms. There aren't as many layers of jokes zipping frantically by.

The feel, overall, isn't that removed from, say, a Beavis and Butthead episode. Not that that's a bad thing. I happen to love Beavis and Butthead, too. It's just a much rougher style than we've come to expect from The Simpsons.

Aside from all of that, though, this is a charming Christmas episode, almost a Simpsons version of A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). Like that famous work, an elementary school pageant is featured prominently, there are problems procuring a Christmas tree, and the "true meaning of Christmas", aside from commercialism, is explored, although here it is done so unwillingly, and there are no religious-tinged speeches to accompany the proceedings--The Simpsons is known for its irreverence, after all. But at its heart, while humorously introducing us to the main characters, this really is a sweet Christmas story and worth watching for that purpose, which is what I plan to save future viewings for.

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