Monday, July 11, 2016

"The Simpsons" Episode #1: "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" 7G08


Before The Simpsons aired its first episode, it already had problems. Television industry analysts predicted that it would fail because animation wouldn't work in prime time. The show had also missed its Fall premiere date after its original first episode- Some Enchanted Evening, was rejected by Fox due to poor animation quality. With its premiere pushed off to January of 1990, Fox was beginning to believe that the analysts were right.

Luckily for Fox, it had a great opportunity to recapture momentum after the bad press. The show's Christmas episode was shown to executives who quickly breathed a sigh of relief; it was deemed to be the best episode of the entire first batch. Despite originally scheduled to be the last of the first batch of episodes to air, Fox decided to air it first- on December 17, 1989. It proved to be a successful decision.

In this episode, we are introduced to the family in the process of celebrating Christmas. At work, Homer discovers that the power plant is cutting out Christmas bonuses. He expresses his relief that they still have their secret Christmas money stash. Meanwhile, Marge takes the kids to the mall where Bart tricks a tattoo parlor into giving him one. Marge is then forced to spend the secret Christmas money stash getting the half finished tattoo removed by laser. She expresses relief that they still have Homer's bonus.

When Homer realizes that they have neither a bonus nor the money stash, he panics, but chooses to not tell Marge or the kids. At first, he tries to stretch his budget at the dollar store, but he realizes that isn't going to work. Barney tells him that he can make money as Santa Claus. Unfortunately, he doesn't make enough money after taxes, suit rental, etc to afford Christmas. He takes Bart and his cash to the dog track, where he hopes to hit it big. He loses all of his money betting on a dog named "Santa's Little Helper" who then gets booted out from the dog track for losing. Homer and Bart take the dog home and Marge assumes that the dog is their family gift.


After the episode aired, Fox could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The show had been a huge success, though it would still face some skeptics. Would viewers return in January once regular episodes started airing? Only time would tell.