After spending all his money on an expensive gift for himself, the family thinks Homer should be less of an egoist. Therefore he tries replacing Ned Flanders as the 'good guy' in town.

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Krusty the Klown / Homer Simpson / Sideshow Mel / Santa's Little Helper / Snowball II / Victor's Secret Worker / Jimmy Stewart / Grampa Simpson / Mr. McGrew / Gil / Hans Moleman / Wolves / Mayor Quimby (voice)
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Lisa Simpson (voice)
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Lenny / Mr. Burns / TV Announcer / Things Unnecessary Worker / Ned Flanders / Rev. Lovejoy / Kent Brockman / Principal Skinner (voice)
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Todd Flanders / Pregnant Woman (voice)
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Cathy from Personnel / Agnes Skinner / Mrs. Muntz / Cookie Kwan (voice)
Karl Wiedergott ...
(voice)
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Storyline

After watching 'Mr. McGrew's Christmas Carol' on TV Homer decides to mend his selfish ways and do good things for the townsfolk as Christmas approaches. Usurped as the nicest guy in Springfield, Ned becomes jealous and the two vie to claim the title. After Lisa, a Buddhist, has told Homer that people do not need presents he goes around stealing them in the manner of the Grinch but is eventually forced to put them back. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Animation | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

14 December 2003 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is based on traditional; English Christmas carol "Deck the Halls" from the line "Tis' the season to be jolly...". See more »

Quotes

Nelson: Dad didn't leave... he went to the store, and when he comes back I'll wave those Pop Tarts right in your face!
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Connections

References Sailor Moon (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Bringing In the Sheaves
(uncredited)
Music by George A. Minor
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User Reviews

 
And a jolly good season it is at that!
24 December 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Since the Millennium, The Simpsons has been repeatedly criticised for its decline in quality. Every once in a while, however, there comes an episode that hearkens back to the good old days of solid characterisation and story, and this is one of those. It's hard to pinpoint precisely why it's good – the episode, while amusing, isn't overly hilarious, but it is decidedly more Christmassy than earlier Holiday-themed efforts, including 'Miracle on Evergreen Terrace' from season nine and especially 'She of Little Faith' from season thirteen. In fact, it's possibly one of the best Christmas episodes they've ever made, not to mention one of The Simpsons' most underrated, especially from what is considered a 'later' season.

The episode, as with many of the early post-Millennium episodes, focuses on Homer, who purchases an expensive talking astrolabe for himself. In doing so, he sacrifices buying a decent Christmas tree and gives his friends and family minimal gifts. After he has a Christmas Carol-themed epiphany to reform his selfish ways, he resolves to be the nicest man in Springfield, which expectedly invites the jealousy of renowned do-gooder neighbour Ned Flanders.

In my opinion, one major aspect that works strongly in the episode's favour is its pacing. Since season nine, Simpsons episodes have suffered from issues with pacing, with many episodes taking a completely different direction after every ad-break. But this episode remains fairly consistent. There's one story, and it remains focused throughout. Another favourable aspect of the episode is that the main ensemble remain completely in character. Even despite the fact that it revolves around Homer's selfishness, his 'jerkass' nature reminiscent of Mike Scully's tenure is thankfully underplayed, and it facilitates what is a fairly 'new' storyline that hasn't been touched on before, despite being in their fifteenth season. I understand many are critical of Al Jean's long-running tenure as showrunner, but this season especially showcases a major improvement over the Scully years; a welcome return to form.

Another aspect of the episode that works well is its comedy. A problem I find with many later episodes is that occasionally there'll be an obscure joke that simply isn't funny, or there'll be a gag that is conceptually funny, but doesn't really pay off. Fortunately, the majority of gags in this episode don't fall flat. It might not be as humorous as the episodes from the golden era (1989-1999) but it remains consistently amusing nonetheless. Though I must say the flare gag towards the end with Hans Moleman is hilarious.

Ultimately, this is one of the better 'later' episodes of The Simpsons. Sometimes its underlying moral tones feel somewhat forced and preachy, and Homer acts as your standard Scrooge, but overall it's wholly satisfying, and manages to capture the Christmas spirit like no episode has done since season seven's 'Marge Be Not Proud'. Ignore anyone who says The Simpsons' good episodes stop dead at season ten – this is a true Christmas classic.


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