Homer is forced to become a department store Santa when Marge spends the family's Christmas savings on removing Bart's tattoo.Homer is forced to become a department store Santa when Marge spends the family's Christmas savings on removing Bart's tattoo.Homer is forced to become a department store Santa when Marge spends the family's Christmas savings on removing Bart's tattoo.
Following the school incident, further trouble awaits Homer when he learns he won't receive a Christmas bonus that year. Knowing he'll otherwise disappoint his family and be taunted by Marge's unbearable sisters, he accepts the humiliation of dressing up as Santa Claus at the local mall. Naturally, Bart decides to have fun at his expense once again. Yes, it's not gonna be a normal holiday in the Simpson family.
Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire was actually the eighth episode made for the series, but since the show was scheduled to begin airing just before Christmas (the precise date is December 17th, 1989), it became the series premiere, which resulted in at least one blatant plot hole (Santa's Little Helper, introduced here, is an absentee for most of Season One). On a technical level, the episode is also less polished than later efforts, still baring a resemblance to the original Tracey Ullman Show shorts (the same goes for Castellaneta's vocal characterization of Homer, which started out as a Walter Matthau impression).
The dodgy animation does not, however, detract from The Simpsons' primary quality: it's really, really funny, in a bold, merciless way. In fact, it should be noted that from the very beginning (as relative a concept as that is), Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and the others knew exactly what would get the most laughs: any scene featuring Homer and Bart together. Proof? Two lines spoken by the kid: "Dad, there's one fat guy who gives us presents for Christmas, and his name ain't Santa Claus.", and, when he sees his father doing the Santa job, "Hi, I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?". That and so much more made this the ideal Christmas gift for TV audiences in 1989.
- Oct 9, 2008