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The Simpsons

Season 11 Episode 9

Grift of the Magi

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Dec 19, 1999 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
146 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Grift of the Magi
After an unexpected school closing due to lack of funds, a private company with a hidden agenda purchases Springfield Elementary and uses the unknowing students for market research on their big new Christmas toy.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Great Christmas Special!!!!

    Bart breaks his back, so he is confined to a wheelchair. But the school dosn't have any wheelchair ramps. So Fat Tony helps Skinner build one, but it soon breaks, because it is made of breadsticks and paint. The school is now broke, so they put on a play for Mr. Burns to give the school funding. The school soon re opens, because a toy company buys it. But Lisa finds out, the new "teachers" are just using the kids to create the newest hit toy: Funzo!!!!! But Funzo is designed to destroy other toys, so Bart, Lisa and Homer must steal every Funzo on Christmas Eve.

    This was a really funny episode. I loved all of Gary Coleman's scenes, and the part with Homer stealing all of the toys.

    Overall Grade:100%/A++++moreless
  • If you don't have Funzo, you're nothing!

    Bart breaks his coccyx and needs a wheelchair. But the school has no wheelchair ramps or anything for students with that disability. So they build one with Fat Tony's Construction Crew. Unfortunately, it crumbles because it wasn't tight enough and made from bread crumbs. So now the school has no funding, and now Bart doesn't have a wheelchair.

    So the school is bought by a new corporation. Lisa finds the new teachers' behaviors suspicious and so she snoops, and finds that they are using the kids to make a new popular toy for Christmas.

    But Lisa discovers the toy is evil and is programmed to destroy other toys. So the Simpsons steal one out of every Christmas tree, burn them all, and then go home for dinner.

    It's only a Christmas episode the last half, and it was pretty low on humor {for the most part} but it had some good laughs and a good plotmoreless
  • The children help create an evil toy named funzo.

    Well how do the writers make a good simpsons episode? Well they take a good plot, and sprinkle it with some hilarious jokes, and a dash of a good guest star like Gary Coleman and WALAH we have a great simpsons episode just like this one. I loved how the toy company tricked the kids into designing the toy, and the whole Fat Tony bit was just hilarious. Meanwhile, Gary Coleman was just an amazing guest star bottem line. He was just so funny, and I doubt that this episode could have been as successful without him. Good episode. B+moreless
  • Another great Christams episode!!!

    Bart and Milhouse jump on the bed in drag and Bart breaks his coccyx and he has to begin using a wheelchair. The school is not equipped for a handicapped student, so Skinner makes a deal with Fat Tony. The mob will build ramps. Soon after the ramps are completed, they crumble. To add to the troubles, Fat Tony charges $200,000 for the job. Skinner opts to pay it, but he has to close the school. The neighborhood has a meeting to figure out how to give the kids an education. They try to get Mr. Burns to donate by performing a play. It doesn't work. Then a private company buys the school and reopens it. The new teachers encourage students to break books, and then they ask students about what kinds of toys they like. Lisa makes a shocking discovery about the new ownership; they are a top company and they using the children for research to design the hot new Christmas toy. Lisa and Bart go to investigate the company without success; the company's security guard is Gary Coleman. The kids do discover that the toy, Funzo, destroys other toys. They go to take all of the town's Funzos from people's homes. Homer helps them out and they go to burn them all. Homer, Lisa, and Gary Coleman get into an in depth philosophical discussion that lasts all night (but what sort of philosopher would celebrate Christmas anyway?). When Christmas comes, Homer invites Gary Coleman. It is a wonderful Christmas, thanks to the Simpson family.moreless
  • Very average Christmas special

    The best gags scene in the 11th season and not so good as Christmas special as before (I choose THOT series better than Christmas). The sinister toy company wasn’t that menacing but Fat Tony devious plan to rip of Principal Skinner is kind of creepy. Nelson’s challenging toy; jack-in-the-box, Funzo destroying Krusty and Malibu Stacey had me tickling my ribs Gary Coleman wasn’t doing much to help the show. The spoof of Mr. Burns as Scrooge and the Simpson’s as the Cratcehts was good. Homer wasn’t the star of the show as he was in previous episodes. The downside, as always the very awkward ending. Nothing much to say.moreless
Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Clarence Clemons

Clarence Clemons


Guest Star

Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman


Guest Star

Tim Robbins

Tim Robbins

Jim Hope

Guest Star

Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna

Fat Tony

Recurring Role

Russi Taylor

Russi Taylor

Martin Prince, Sherri, Terri and others

Recurring Role

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders, Jimbo Jones, and others

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • The bags on Moe's feet supplanting shoes are white with colorful polka dots, indicating they are Wonder Bread bags. On Moe's right foot, half of the word "Wonder" can be seen, while "Bread" is seen on his left.

    • In the television commercial, Funzo says, "Ha ha!" in a similar manner to Nelson.

    • As Moe tries to kill himself he wears a sign that says "No funeral".

    • When Fat Tony first appears, he comes out from behind a tree that is far too skinny to hide him.

    • When the family is at the hospital, we see Maggie with a red bow on, but when we see her again her bow is blue.

    • When Bart and Lisa are watching the Spanish court show, the lady refers to her bad car as a "limon". Her intention is to call the car a lemon, but she actually called the car a lime.

    • The French chef who tries to kill Homer in "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?" is making omelettes at the Springfield Elementary concerned parents meeting.

  • QUOTES (24)

    • (Bart and Lisa crawl on the floor to sneak past the desk of the security guard, Gary Coleman, who is the on the phone while eating take-out)
      Gary Coleman: But the menu said 'galaxy of prawns' - three prawns are hardly a galaxy...what do you mean 'your hands are tied'?! Let me talk to Mr. Kwan.
      Bart: (To Lisa) I want to see how this turns out.
      Lisa: The phone's not even plugged in...

    • Ralph: Hello, I'm Dr. Stupid! I'm going to take out your liver bones. Oops, you're dead!
      Mr. Burns: I never liked that Dr. Stupid.

    • (Lisa writes "I will not do math in class" on the blackboard as a punishment)
      Bart: Lisa in trouble? The ironing is delicious.
      Lisa: The word is irony!
      Bart: Huh?

    • Lisa: Don't you think there's something weird going on here? We spent all day selecting fabric swatches, and then our guest speaker was Phil from Marketing.
      Bart: All's I know is I'm getting straight A's, and that ain't not bad.

    • Bart: You know what our homework assignment is? Find a toy and bring it to class.
      Marge: Boy, that sounds like fun!
      Bart: Yeah, but I'm still not gonna do it.

    • Marge: What about Mr. Burns? Maybe he could help.
      Homer: Forget it! He releases the hounds on every charity that comes to the door. Feed The Children, Save The Whales, even Release The Hounds.

    • Lisa: Instead of giving us an education, they used us to design a toy! Aren't you outraged?
      Bart: Not really, but if you're gonna throw a spaz, I'll come with.

    • Skinner: No, no! We're not building anything.
      Fat Tony: How can you say that? When construction has already begun?
      Skinner: How did those trucks get here so fast?
      Fat Tony: To avoid certain legal complications, the truck are always moving.

    • Krusty: Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, a crazy Kwanzaa, a tip-tot Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan.

    • Homer: Uh, is this going to be like one of those horror movies where we open the door and everything's normal and we think you're crazy but then there really is a killer robot and the next morning you find me impaled on the weather vane? Is that what this is, Lisa?

    • Skinner: As for the school, we are exploring various options to raise the 200 thousand dollars we need.
      Flanders: I've got a motor-home I never use, maybe we should raffle it off?
      Homer: (with face full of food) Maybe you should shut up.
      Flanders: Er…Okay.

    • Marge: What will become of our kids?
      Homer: Where are the refreshments?
      Skinner: Now you keep asking me that, and I keep telling you, over there!

    • Bart: Alright! Silly string. (Sprays it on Lisa) Ha, ha! You're Milhouse.
      Milhouse: Who wets their bed now? Milhouse!

    • Kent Brockman: Residents are advised to stay inside unless you wear sunscreen or are very, very hairy. Experts recommend a class 9 or Robin Williams level of hair coverage.

    • Homer: Let me see...that's 3 Christmases I saved…8 I ruined…2 were kind of a draw.

    • (The Funzo Commercial. A little girl comes down on Christmas morning...)
      Funzo: I SEE you... (the girl gasps and picks up a Funzo) Give me a hug!
      Lisa: (watching the commercial; gasps) That's the doll that attacked me!
      Announcer: This Christmas, everybody wants Funzo.
      Lisa: "Funzo?" I said that name in class.
      (In the commercial, the girl hugs her Funzo)
      Little Girl: Funzo's soft and cuddly...
      Little Boy: With lots of firepower! (his Funzo opens its mouth and a rocket zooms out and hits the girl in the eye; the girl screams in pain) Yes!
      Funzo: (Nelson-style) Haw-haw!
      (The camera zooms in on an image of Funzo three times.)
      Announcer: Funzo! Funzo! Funzo! If you don't have Funzo, you're nothing!
      (A boy plays with a puppy that licks his face, then the boy throws the dog offscreen just to cuddle a Funzo!)

    • Lines by Funzo:
      I see you! Give me a hug!
      I have a flower for 'ou!
      I'm very mad at 'ou!

    • Ralph: Fun toys are fun!
      Teacher: Well said, Ralph, but we're trying to come up with a name for a toy.
      Janie: Mrs. Fun?
      Teacher: Not bad.
      Ralph: Fun?
      Teacher: Listen, Ralph, there are no right or wrong answers, but if you don't pipe down I'm giving you an F!
      Ralph: The before teacher yelled at me too!

    • Lindsay Nagel: I'm sorry Gary, but you're fired.
      Gary Coleman: What you talkin' bout, Miss Nagel?
      Lindsay Nagel: That's so cute, you're rehired.(she leaves)
      Gary Coleman: Sucker, I knew exactly what she was talking about.

    • Krusty: And now a word from my God...our sponsor.

    • (Homer catches Bart and Milhouse in drag)
      Homer: What's going on here? And I want the non-gay explanation!
      Milhouse: We're drunk. Really drunk.

    • Gary Coleman: Whatchu talkin' about, Moe? Whatchu talkin' about everybody!

    • Principal Skinner: The good news is, we no longer fear vicious mob reprisals, but due to lack of funds, Springfield Elementary is closed forever.
      Kids: Yay!
      Principal Skinner: You may be cheering now, but someday, you'll--
      Kids: Yay!
      Principal Skinner: I'm just going to stop caring.
      Kids: Yay!

    • Fat Tony: I don't get mad; I get stabby.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Diff'rent Strokes
      Gary Coleman says many times "What'chu talkin' 'bout...?"; his famous character catchphrase from Diff'rent Strokes.

    • Funzo appears to be a spoof of Furby, an interactive toy which was a hot seller during the 1998 Holiday Season

    • Moe: What, you don't like my bags?
      The scene were Moe is wearing a rope for a belt and bags for shoes is borrowed from Charlie Chaplin, specifically the scene where the lone prospector (Chaplin) in the 1925 film "The Gold Rush" is wearing only one shoe—having previously eaten the other one—and ties a rope that happens to be a leash attached to a dog around his waist as a belt.

    • The title is a reference to O. Henry's short story . In it, a wife sells her hair to earn money to buy a fob for her husband's antique watch, which he sold to earn money to buy her combs for her hair.

    • The last scene with Gary Coleman and Mr. Burns joining the Simpsons for Christmas dinner is a parody of the book and films of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

    • Moe seeing what the world would be like if he'd never been born is a reference to 1946 film It's A Wonderful Life.

    • The burned Funzo that steps from the fire with its metal skeleton exposed is reminiscent of the 1984 film The Terminator.

    • Bart and Milhouse singing: Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves
      When Bart and Milhouse jump on the bed crossdressed, they sing "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves," which is song from the Eurythmics 1985 album, "Be Yourself Tonight." The duet on that album was between Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin. Bart and Milhouse's version is featured on the 1998 Simpsons recording "The Yellow Album".