“I can’t believe it, but it looks as though television has betrayed me.” – Bart
Written by: Mimi Pond
People forget that Matt Groening was already a household name (in certain households) and the shorts had been running on the The Tracy Ullman Show for a couple of years, so – to some of us – this very first episode was highly anticipated. However, the night it aired was also the night we moved the Video Zone Store 1 from one location to another, so I taped it and watched it the next day.Thus beginning a regimen of taping and saving every Simpsons episode. It made sense of course: like Police Squad!, there was simply no way that The Simpsons would last more than a few episodes. So I needed to have every episode to watch over and over again forever.
25 years later, of course, this episode seems funnier than it did at the time, but weird: none of the voices are quite right, and the specificity of parodying a Christmas episode – even when they called out other Christmas episodes – meant they couldn’t quite tap into the freewheeling anarchy that eventually became their calling card. That said, how many other Christmas episodes made their happy ending feel like a twist ending?