The Simpsons

Season 1 Episode 1

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Dec 17, 1989 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (130)

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out of 10
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  • One of the most emotive episodes of The Simpsons ever

    As the first episode of the series itself, and the Christmas special, the episode had its special-vibe that kind of struck me with the standard Christmas-styled feel-good storyline. I do not think the episode was any laugh-fest at all, but it certainly had few clever lines that at least saved the humor department. What really stood out was the characterization of main charactersHomer was somewhat of an idiot but the important thing is, he really cares for the family and seems to be in really 'human' form than the recent Homer. Bart was a menace as how he was advertised back then, Lisa's mature speech defending his father showed her smarts but she clapping at the Happy Little Elves showed a part of her character that is pretty realistic for 8-year-old girl I personally think it's something that has died over time with Lisa's character with her character becoming more of dogmatic while caring more of mature subjects than a normal 8-year-old girl would give a sass about, that is why several Lisa moments in the series premiere is a fresh change from the episodes nowadays, in my opinion. Flanders did not play much but he served as somewhat of a fire for Homer's desire to serve his family well for Christmas, I think I guess Homer had the inferiority complex from the get-go of the series. Overall, the episode presents some characteristic side that shows the Simpsons in its beginning form (not counting Tracy Ullman shorts) and I can see several quirks on it being highly appreciated but humor felt very short for me the episode also feels pretty slow.
  • The beginning of the Simpsons

    Love this episode. Homer goes to the dog track race and bets on Santa's Little Helper who ends up losing. Santa's Little Helper joins his family and turned about Christmas for Homer's family at the end.
  • Great Unintentional Introduction!

    I say "unintentional" in that this season's finale, "Some Enchanted Evening" was originally set to be the primere episode, as it supposedly introduced all the characters well. Now, I haven't seen that episode in a long while, but I would still say that this does a better job than that would, as it not only introduces the four main characters in a way that we get a good glimpse of their future personalities, but also many other characters seen later in the show's run, such as Principal Skinner, Barney Gumble, Milhouse, Mr. Burns, etc.

    The story itself is great, kind of a blueprint for other Simpson episodes to come, in that it shows the much used "cause and effect" story used often in the series (in which something completely different eventually leads to the main problem of the Since this was the eight episode actually produced, the animation and vocal work is of great quality for this time in the series.

    All in all, a great introduction to a great show, a hint at what is to come.
  • Great Way to start of a Great Series

    Oh Yes, the very first episode which premiered all the way back in 1989. I do like this episode because most of the family is introduced to there current personalities for what they are known for. All except for Homer, but it is the first episode.
  • Very very very touching pilot to the BEST SHOW EVER!

    Sure, the animations may not be great and the voice overs weren't the best right now, but I found the pilot to the Simpsons very touching and a perfect Christmas episode. It had comedy and it showed the nicer side of Homer, with him making sacrifices for his family. This episode may not have been funny, and sure, Season 1 didn't really make me laugh, but I found this episode very well done. The Year of 1989 changed TV history!
  • The first Simpsons episode happens to be a Christmas episode. Either way, it's a great start to my favorite animated series

    It is up to Homer to save Christmas, when bonuses are cut at the nuclear power plant and Marge is forced to use the Christmas savings on an emergency. Wow!!! I can't believe it... December 17th, 1989 is the first Simpsons episode to be ever aired and it also happens to be a Christmas episode. It's kinda weird to have a pilot episode for a show be a Christmas episode but I really didn't care though, I really liked this pilot episode. I haven't seen this episode in 5 years though... it has been so long. FOX really needs to re-run Simpsoms more often and NOT just re-run one Simpsons episode a day. Since there are so many freakin' Simpsons episode, other stations should re-run them. Anyways, I saw this pilot episode (or first Christmas episode) for the first time in 5 years and I really enjoyed it. The animation, which you all can obviously tell, is much older than the animation right now. The animation for the very old seasons are still good to watch... it does get kinda tiring to see old animation after a while but I still appreciate them because this is from the work of Mat Groening and the rest of the staff. This episode had some very funny parts like Bart pretending to be 21 years old to get a tattoo, the school play in the beginning of the episode, Ned Flanders' Christmas lights and Homer being angered by it, Homer dressed up as Santa and Bart taking off his beard, the closing bit of the episode with everyone Christmas caroling and Bart keeps singing it differently, and maybe one or two more parts. Barney was hilarious in this episode as well. My score is a little low because it does a little boring after a while especially in the last act of the episode. I also loved how this episode showed how Homer got Santa's Little Helper to be their dog and that he made everyone very happy. The storyline was well done even though it did get boring after while and the characters are unique. The voices are always good even though the voices on the a few of the characters may sound just a little different. Overall, it's the first episode of "The Simpsons" and it's also the first Christmas episode and I just thoroughly enjoyed it... I'm happy to see this episode again after so long. 8.5/10
  • First episode of the Simpsons (not counting the shorts)

    Homer discovers that he will not be getting a Christmas bonus and thus the family has no money to buy Christmas presents. He decides to keep their financial troubles a secret and gets a job as a shopping mall Santa, but later discovers that the job does not pay enough. Desperate for a miracle, Homer and Bart go to the dog racing track on Christmas Eve in hopes of earning some money. This was a great start to the Simpsons. Finally, I got to see the very first episode of the Simpsons (yet this was a Christmas themed episode). Although the animation might not be the best, it was still nice to see FOX airing an old episode of the Simpsons. I liked/laughed at the play at the very beginning of the episode, Bart singing Jingle Bells differently, Flanders' Christmas light, Bart pretending he's 21 in order to get a taboo, Homer as Santa, Bart pulling Homer's beard (as Santa), and the ending. My score is lower because the last act was dragged. Overall, a great start of the Simpsons. I just wish there were reruns for this show. 8/10
  • the beginning of something amazing


    A show of supreme quality, very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very (apologies, the former review has been moved to a new home, soon you will all be given the key) very very very veryvery very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very enjoyable. A must-see.

  • I had no idea this was the first episode when i was a kid.


    When this episode first aired i was only one years old. This was the episode that started the family comedy of are yellow family from Springfield.My its hard to imagine the changes that were made in animation in the past 22 years this show has been on for.everyone will remember the first time Bart got his incomplete tattoo that said moth instead of mother.or when Homer needed a raise from his job to get presents for the family for Christmas and he got a job as a mall Santa.any ways this was a good episode and i hate all of those Simpson hater today who think after 22 years it should be cancelled.

  • Pilot


    It is up to Homer to save Christmas, when bonuses are cut at the nuclear power plant and Marge is forced to use the Christmas savings on an emergency.

    Overall, this was a really great pilot.

    This episode gets an 8.5 out of 10

  • Ho, Ho, D'oh!

    This episode holds a special place in my heart, as it is the first full-length Simpsons episode. In the episode, it is Christmas and Bart gets a tattoo. Marge spends all the Christmas money removing it, which is even worse when Homer finds out that workers at the Power Plant will not get Christmas bonuses. Homer decides to work as a department store Santa to get money, but he only gets 13 dollars. Bart and Homer go to the dog track, where they bet on a dog called Santa's Little Helper. The dog loses the race, and is abandoned by his owner, so the Simpsons take him in.

    This was a heartwarming and funny episode which had very good jokes. The funniest parts were the montage of Homer being a department store Santa, the song at the end, and the Christmas assembly at the start.

    It is not the best episode though, as there are some errors in the animation (Barney has yellow hair), Homer hasn't got his voice completely right yet, and it is not as consistently funny as some other episodes. But, errors aside, it is an amazing episode which you must watch.
  • This episode is about Bart getting a fake tattoo and Marge having to spend all the Christmas money on getting it removed. Then Homer lies to Marge about his Christmas bonus and Christmas is nearly ruined.

    I still remember the days where the simpsons was a 1 minute segment on the Tracy Ulman Show. I became in love with the family the second I saw them. The stupidness of Home, the cheekyness of Bart and of course the cute little Maggie. I also remember getting together with my friends and watching the first ever half hour episode. We all watched in awe as Homer, Bart and the rest of them punted out jokes every 5 seconds. But now this episode seems like a cheap gimmicky peice of trash.

    But then again, there is a good side to the episode. Barney said one of the most famous qoutes in simpsons history:

    Barney: I got myself a part time job working as a Santa down at the mall.
    Homer: Wow! Can I do that?
    Barney: I dunno they are pretty selective. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURP

    Now the reason of my cruel review may be because of The Simpsons ruining my dreams as a child of Santa (Bart: There\'s only one fat guy \'round here who delivers presents and his ain\'t Santa), or maybe it\'s because this episode really is a peice of trash. Either way, I wouldn\'t recomend watching this episode or buying it on DVD.
  • Not really the pilot!

    Its not really the pilot because it out of production but it was a great way to start off the series it an pretty ok episode but future episodes are a little better I mean its a great episode but Season 4 and are better then the first three seasons
  • The beginning of 22 seasons!

    The Simpsons, the animated television sitcom that has brought us 22 seasons and is pretty much ready for a 23rd, began as a real TV show in this episode. Before this, it was just one minute breaks in the Tracey Ullman Show. This is a christmas special: when Marge takes Bart and Lisa to go christmas shopping, Bart secretly gets a tattoo, and Marge must pay the christmas savings to get it removed. Meanwhile, Mr. Burns neglects to give Homer his christmas bonus; the family is in for a rough christmas. Homer tries to get some money working as a shopping mall santa, but in the end only gets payed 13 dollars. He goes with Barney to the dog track, and bets the money on a dog named Santa's Little Helper. The dog loses, and Homer and Bart are ready to go home and admit to the rest of the family that christmas is ruined, when Santa's Little Helper jumps into Homer's arms. They keep the dog and christmas is saved.

    Obviously a classic, this is perhaps not the most hilarious Simpsons episode, but I love seeing characters like Patty, Selma, Barney, Moe, Mr. Burns, and Smithers before they were really established.
  • The pilot for the greatest television show ever

    This is it! the very first episode of the simpsons, ever! So how does it hold up!? Well, while it's not a classic like one of they're others, but it's ok intro to the family everyone knows today. In it, Marge spends her money getting rid of a tattoo on Bart. Homer, after getting $13 on his paycheck after deductions, takes up a job as a mall Santa, and is able to buy some cheap gifts for the family. Then, with Bart's advice, Homer bets his paycheck on a dog race, on the dog "Santa's little helper" thinking it's a sign he'll win. After the dog comes in dead last, he follows Homer and Bart home, and the family adopts him as their own. Overall, this a good pilot, although it's not an istanat classic like others. 7.5/10 C+
  • Great episode

    What else can you say but first episode, first christmas episode. We are introduced to a lot of our favorite characters like santa's little helper the losing mut. A lot of people dont care for first season because of the small number of jokes and serious plot but its every bit as good as any other season. After making a very small amount playing a mall santa homer decides to take bart to track to gamble the money on a horse with a name that calls out to homer Santa's little helper, homer thinking it must be a sign is saddened when he and the dog lose but really win when because the dog lost his owner abandoned him ironically right in front of homer giving him the present for his children he so desperatly needed.
  • It is Christmas time in Springfield and the Simpsons have to use all of their Christmas money to remove Barts tatoo.Homer trys to find a way to make money and puts it on the line at a dogtrack, and Santas Little Helper loses,but joins the Simpsons.

    1.1 Simpsons Roasting Over An Open Fire

    A great way to start the series.A good plot and has its funny moments. A good driving force to get everyone interested in the show. Ranks in the top half of the whole first season. I enjoyed the episode for numerous reasons but here are my top moments in the episode.I am going to write a review for each Simpsons episodes

    1. Marge writing a letter saying that "Maggie just learned how to walk, Lisa got straight A's on her report card and Bart,well,we love Bart."
    2. Bart proclaiming he is 21 years old.
    3. Homer eating pickled eggs.
    4. Flanders lights compared to the Simpsons
    5. Homer talking to Patty or Selma on the phone, where we hear her raspy voice.
    6. Bart saying "ow,quit it" over and over.
    7. Homer and Bart waiting for Santas Little Helper to finish the race.
    8. Marge pulling out the Christmas money out of her hair.
    9. Homer stealing a Christmas tree.
    10. Patty and Selmas gripes about Homer.

  • The first installment of the of The Simpsons is a very good episode. I described it as a "very special episode" for one reason, because it's the first episode in one of the best shows of all time. This episode set it off.

    This episode was well written I think. There were nice jokes, mixed in with emotion. Homer not being able to avoid Christmas for his family is something no parent would want to deal with. I thought this episode captured the anxiety and sadness quite well.

    The jokes were good, Bart's rendition of Jingle Bells showed us right off the bat what we'd be dealing with throughout the series. Homer shopping for Christmas gifts was classic I thought. Deciding to buy the pantyhose for Marge, then the sheets of paper for Bart, "I bet he could think of a million things to do with this." The best one was buying the chew toy for Maggie "It says it's for dogs...but Maggie can't read." Nice joke.

    I liked one of the more subtle references to society, when Homer goes to get his paycheck for being Santa, he only gets $13, the woman explain all the taxes taken out from it. I saw this as a take on the way the government is today with taking taxes out of peoples pay, leaving them with very little. Not as small as 13 dollars, but it was still a nice little joke. Bart's monologue about how tv has taught him that Christmas miracles happen was a nice reference to many famous Christmas specials, ie Charlie Brown and of course Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

    Of course the dog track scenes were typical Homer Simpson. Him changing his bet to Santa's Little Helper based on what he thought was a "sign". Homer's naivety and spur of the moment personality are two reasons why we love him. The shot of Santa's Little Helper jumping into Homer's arm, and Homer claiming him as a Simpson was very sweet.

    In the end, they all sing around the piano, and are a happy, loving family.
  • This is where it all began

    This is the very first episode of The Simpsons(besides the ullman shorts) Although it's not the funniest episode, it got a long running series started, and without it, The Simpsons wouldn't be here today.

    The episode begins with a school Christmas pageant. Then, Marge writes her christmas letter, saying Lisa is very smart, Maggie is learning to walk, and Bart.... well, they love Bart.

    Later on, Bart gets a tattoo at the mall, and Marge must spend all the Christmas money on the removal. However, Homer isn't getting a Christmas bonus this year, so he must get a job as a Santa at the mall. He ends up getting only 13 dollars, so he bets at the Dog races. He loses on a dog named Santas Little helper, but Bart and Homer end up taking him home, as their pet.

    This was a great start to a great show, but better episodes defientaly come later in the show's run.
  • The episode that started it all off! And a good one at that

    This is my favourite Simpsons episode. It is a Christmas classic and never fails to get me in the Holiday spirit! Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire is the first ever episode of the long running show and introduces the Simpson family, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. It is Christmas time and the family are celebrating and preparing traditionally, but Homer discovers he is not going to recieve a Christmas bonus at work. Homer is ashamed and worried about dissapointing his family and ruining Christmas so he keeps it a secret. To make matters worse, Marge had to spend all her Christmas savings getting a laser tatoo removal when Bart got a tatoo. Homer takes Santa training to earn extra money as a Mall Santa. He doesn't tell anyone about this but Bart discovers when he sits on his fathers lap at the mall, pulls the fake beard off and sees Homer looking back at him angrily. Homer reveals the truth to Bart and he is touched that his Dad went to such lengths to keep his family happy. When the job fails to provide enough money, the last resort is to go to the dog races. Homer and Bart bet on a dog which loses miserably and they are feeling very down and dissapointed in themselves. The dog is thrown out by the owner and they decide to take him home. The dog symbolises the real meaning of Christmas for the Simpson family and they celebrate a perfect family Christmas together. This is the best episode because it's filled with warm holiday spirit
  • Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire: Homer learns that he will not be getting a Christmas bonus at work. How will he have a Christmas with his family if he can't even afford a Christmas tree.

    Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire: So here is where it all began. Well not really the Ulman shorts were where it began but this was the first full length episode. It must of been a real challenge turning about 20 (I don't know exactly) 1 minute shorts and making a 22 minute episode but I think they pulled it off. Of course it's not the best episode ever they were just starting but it was a good heart warming Christmas episode. The introdution to the characters was good. Bart was mischievous, Lisa was studious, Homer was stupid but not over the top and Marge was just Marge.

    Score: 7.0/10, 3.5/5, B-
  • this is were it all began

    the simpsons are disfunal family homer who works at a power plant and bart who always gets into trouble and lisa the genious and maggie the baby. and grampa who is in a retirment home. but on this chrismas the simpsons were ready to get gifts from the mall homer could not wait to get gifts bart and lisa were making chrismas list and homer could barly put up the tree and lights on the house. home recived the news that he was not getting his chrismas bonus and marge had to spend the rainy day money on barts tat tue removal. homer and bart went to the dog track to try to win and they lost but as they were leaving saw a dog that got abandoned and they brought it home santas little helper they called him.
  • So,this is how it all started...

    I have seen this episode a lot of times and I never found anything bad except for those famous animation errors.However,I gave it 8.5 because it doesn´t feel like Simpsons at all.Homer´s voice is still annoying,Lisa is like Bart(too bad they changed this) and Marge,surprisingly,got a lot of space if you compare it to other episodes.I did not like how everyone was so jolly,family/related things and other stuff like that belong to series like Full House.And the ending...was OK.I don´t know what to say about it.Also,I liked Barney´s appearance and when that guy was teaching Homer how to be like Santa Claus.
  • The historic first season begins with a not so Merry Christmas for the Simpsons. Homer did not get a bonus and Marge was forced to spend the entire Christmas fund on the removal of Bart's new tattoo. Homer makes a desparate attempt to save Christmas.

    So, this is the episode that started a run that has now lasted for two decades. This episode is very formulaic (even predictable) but there are plenty of funny jokes and clever dialogue to make this episode worth while. The highlight of the episode is Homer's hilarious attempt at playing a department store Santa. This episode is also notable for the introduction of some popular characters. Specifically Margie's sisters Patty and Selma and Santa's Little Helper. The episode also ends on a very clever note with the Simpson's funny rendition of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." A very good start.
  • So this was the start

    so, this was the start of the Simpsons franchise? the answer is no. the Simpsons used to appear on the Tracy ulman show with 1-2 minute long clips in every show. Sone they got so popular that they were offered t do a season on fox. Fox ordered only 13 episodes for the first season. that is why the first season is so short. Who would have beleaved that the Simpsons would go through 21 seasons and their 450 episode airing January 3rd 2010. I sent a congradulations to every one that helped make this show go on for so long.

    Merry Christmas and a happy 450th episode Matt Groening
  • Merry Christmas From the Simpsons

    In this, the first ever Christmas episode {and series pilot}, Homer needs money for Christmas gifts for the money after Bart "surprises" Marge with a tattoo. He decides to become a department store Santa. Which ends up him being paid only 13 dollars. His friend Barney and him go to the dog track, and hearing the name "Santa's Little Helper," Homer bets everything on him thinking it is a miracle and he will win. Instead, Santa comes in last. His owner chases him out, and Santa's Little Helper becomes a Simpson.

    As far as premieres go, this wasn't the best, wasn't the worst. It did a pretty good job of introducing most of the main characters, but it could have been a tad better.
  • Marge and Homer watches Bart and Lisa's Christmas Pageant. Homer finds out he will not get a Christmas bonus, and goes out and gambles on the dog track. He loses but they end Up with Sanata's Little Helper, which brings the family closer.

    The Simpsons got of to a flyer with the classic 'Roasting On a open fire'. Although this episode was far from perfect on animation/quality, I believe this didn't effect it in the slightest, this episode was a very loving one with a great moral. And although Santa's little helper is pathetic at racing, Homer and Bart fall for him, as he brings the family closer and shows the true meaning of 'Christmas'. The earlier episodes maybe aren't as funny,but they sure have a great meaning. This episode is a true classic, and I shall be watching it before christmas this year!
  • The Simpsons add Santa's Little Helper to their family!

    After Marge spends the family's Christmas money on removing a tattoo that Bart got, and Homer's Christmas bonus is cancelled, Homer must find out a way to keep the Christmas spirit alive without shattering the hopes of his family. A trip to the dog tracks is their last hope. The dog they bet on, Santa's Little Helper comes in last, and gets the boot from his owner. The Simpsons take the dog, bring it home, and the family think it's the best present they have ever gotten for Christmas. The family sing 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer' to close the show.

    As this being the first official episode of the full length tv show of the Simpsons, I thought this was very well-done with some memorable moments, and it was good to see a heart warming story. A must see for any Simpsons fan!
  • This episode need a review other than perfect? No. It was the episode that started it all.

    It may not be the first time the world saw The Simpsons, but it is the first canonical episode. From this point on, this television show changed television as we know it. On top of that, its also a great christmas story along the lines of The Grinch and other christmas classics. Perfect!
  • This is one of my favorite Christmas specials.

    I watch this episode every Christmas season. It's not only a great Christmas episode; it's also an effective introduction to the Simpson family. It's a sweet story how Santa's Little Helper becomes the perfect gift for the family. Bart's introduction singing wrong Christmas carol lyrics is a classic nod to all the trouble he'll be getting into in the coming years. I like the emotion that comes from this episode. I think everyone can relate to the desire to provide a wonderful Christmas for the family. Twice we have to watch Homer suffer when he finds out the power plant is not giving a bonus and then again when his Santa check is much smaller than he expected. You feel so bad for him that you find yourself rooting for Santa's Little Helper so that Homer can get the money he needs. In the end, Homer comes through when he brings Santa's Little Helper home. It's a very happy ending.
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