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 (129)

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out of 10
785 votes
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Christmas is almost ruined when Bart Simpson gets a tattoo and the family have to spend all the christmas money to get it off. Meanwhile at the plant, Homer doesn't get his christmas bonus and doesn't tell Marge. He trys everything to get money but they g

    I thought this episode was a classic because it is the first episode that aired. I liked how Bart gets a tattoo and Santa's Little Helper joins the family. I think it could of been better but it was only Season 1. They didn't know what they were doing. Yeh thats about it.
  • Not a bad pilot. Humble though considering the pop culture phenomenon this show would go on to become.

    When watching this pilot episode, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Ignore the spotty animation and the fact that Homer's voice is not itself. The characters aren't yet what they would become by the end of the season either. The pacing is slow and as such, the entire production seems choppy when compared to modern episodes.

    But this episode was important obviously. And if you are a fan of the Simpsons, you should watch it.

    It's a sweet episode in how it ends with Santa's Little Helper coming to live with the family. Despite the fact that this is a cartoon, I think the show's writers succeeded here because by the end we really care about the characters. To do that in a cartoon is pretty impressive. We have the solid work of Jim Brooks and Matt Groening to thank for that.

    In my opinion, that's what seperated this series from the pack early on. It made us laugh and we came to actually care about these characters here too.

    But the jokes are slow coming and there are hosts of other problems as described above, so I can only give it a "6."
  • First 30-minute episode of the Simpsons. Homer has trouble having a good Christmas, so he becomes a mall Santa to raise money. He only gets $13 dollars, so he gambles it on a dog race. He doesn't win, but he gets to keep the losing dog.

    Overall, the Simpsons had a very good primetime startoff with this episode. This episode is a classic episode with its plotline and events, but it just isn't very funny. A few chuckles include Bart lying about his age and Homer stealing a Christmas tree. The plotline is excellent though, and the events go well together. The most classic moment, however, is when Santa's Little Helper is properly introduced. I like how he is dissed by his malevolent owner, yet he is heartwarmingly accepted by the Simpsons. All in all, this episode is one of feelgood elements, and that is what makes it a memory, though it is only average when compared to other episodes.
  • 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.

  • 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-
  • Despite not actually being the first episode in the production run, The Simpsons' "pilot" episode is a fairly solid insight into the wacky adventures of Our Favorite Family.

    It's often debated whether this or "Some Enchanted Evening" is The Simpsons' TRUE pilot episode, seeing as how SEE was first in production, but SRoaOF was actually the first post-Ullman episode era. Nonethless, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" is a solid premiere. It follows the simple story of not being able to afford anything for the holidays, forcing Homer to take up a job posing as a mall Santa. Bart is the main source of comedy throughout this episode, as with the majority of the show's first season. The ending sequence with the introduction of Santa's Little Helper is far and away the most memorable aspect of the episode. Despite being only slightly above average for the series as a whole, it's still one of Season 1's best episodes.
  • the begining of the king of shows

    the start of a series that would change american tv forever warning that this a nearly detail after deatail spoiler the episode starts with trouble already in the oven when bart gets a tatto behind marges back when shes discovers that he has the tatto shes spends all of the familys christmas money to get rid of the tatto while an nuecelar power plant mr.burns cuts off the employee christmas bonus witch means no presants under the christmas tree. homer knows that if he tells marge that he never got his christmas bonus that she would be horrified so homer goes to derastic messures to put gifts under the tree by buying them at the dollar store.after his halfassed attempt to save christmas fails he goes to moes to see barney in a mall santa costume and barney suggests that he become a mall santa to homer takes that advice.unfortuneatly for him bart is there and sees through homers disguises.bart then rips off homers beard homer then losses it and starts attacking the end of his shift homer only $13 as did barney.homer decides to go with barney and bet in the race track but instead of betting on the obvious winner homer bets on santas little helper.they lose the race but gain santas little helper
  • The first christmas episode!

    THis episode is great i only saw it once but it was great. Bart usually ruins christmas Here are some examples: Getting the tattoo,burning down the christmas tree, and shoplifting. Some examples he didnt do are: Funzo's,homer the cheapskate,and kids taking over the school. This is also the first episode!
  • 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+
  • 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.
  • Homer has to get money as his job doesnt hava a xmas bonus. To make things worse bart got a tatoo and Marge had to spend all the money removing it. Homer gets a job as a santa and only gets 13 dollars on Xmas eve. So he goes to the racetrack and loses.

    A great start to the greatest comedy series ever. I love where they are searching for tickets and the dog (santas little helper) runs up. Also the santa training where Homer is reciting the reindeers name's. Patty and Selma briefly have a few line on this episode where they refusr to say who they are to Homer and repeatedly say "Marge please" even though Homer knows who they are. Very funny. The tattoo where Bart tries to get Mother written on his arm. BUT, only suceeds in getting half way as Marge pulls him away and it spells Moth. They have to get it surgically removed which I think is very funny when Lisa and Maggie consistently poke him.
  • The pilot episode

    This is the first episode of The Simpsons.It is christmas time and Marge spends all of the money on removing barts tattoo he got at the mall. Homer didnt get a bonus at work but doesnt want to tell marge there is no money for Christmas, so he becomes a Santa clause at the mall. Bart finds out so when when homer gets his check it is only $13.00 . So Homer and bart go to the Springfiled downs and bet on a losing dog. After the race the owner disowns the dog and homer and takes it home and Christmas is saved.

    It has a good plot.It has a lot of heart but not a lot of laughs. It is a very good pilot for a show ,it was a good way to get people to watch. It shows that things will work out if you believe.
  • A good start

    How can I forget the first episode that made the Simpsons what it is today? It told us about the Simpsons and their origins, and also introduced Santa's Little Helper in the family. The animation wasn't at it's finest, and Homer wasn't very funny like he is in season 2 on, but still, this is a classic episode definately worth watching!
  • The Simpsons start in this episode!

    In this episode. The best selling FOX animated show "The Simpsons" began. In this episode. We start off with the Simpsons family. The main characters of the series. In this episode, its Christmas in Springfield. Homer tries to get his family many presents as possible, but fails. He then becomes a fake santa to win cash for presents, but he is discovered by his son Bart. Homer and Bart go to a dog race competition. Where he bets on a dog called "Santa's Little Helper" to win. He loses and Homer is frustrated. Overhearing Santa's Little Helper's owner bashing him. Homer takes the dog home since Bart wants him badly. He arrives in the house,, with a sad look. Until Santa's Little Helper's arrival gave the Simspsons there christmas spirits back.

    What can I say? Good episode.

    Althrought, the graphics and voice were horrible for this episode and it lacked humor. It made it lose points.

    Enjoyable episode. I recommend to watch it.
  • And the Simpsons series begins....

    The first episode of The Simpsons...I wonder if Matt Groening knew that the show he created would continue to be successful for more than 18 seasons. Well anyway, in the pilot episode, it's almost Christmas and what better way for Mr. Burns to be jolly than to not give his workers a Christmas bonus! And that's exactly what he does. Embarrassed, Homer doesn't tell Marge, and decides just to rely on the money the family has saved for the Christmas tree and gifts. But when Bart sneaks into a tattoo parlor and gets one on his shoulder, Marge has to use the savings. But by the end of the episode, the Simpsons are doing that whole "we don't need gifts to be happy" thing and end up adopting Santa's Little Helper! What a way to kick off the series!
  • a great introduction to the simpsons characters

    this episode shows just how much the simpsons have changed and also how little they've changed. this episode immediately introduces bart as a troublemaker, changing the lyrics to jingle bells, getting a tatoo and pulling off "santa's" beard. it also introduces homer as being gullible enough to listen to barney who is introduced as a drunk. however the simpsons has evolved for instance, homer's voice, barney's hair and the animation has improved since this episode. i think this is the best way to introduce all of the simpsons characters as it shows that all of them will occasionally care about something when santa's little helper or number eight as homer was calling their new pet was brought into the household. this episode shows that this series would be more of a cartoon. and it still is
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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
  • 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.
  • Homer brings home the best and most unexpected present ever for his family on a christmas night.

    What a nice and beautiful episode is this. The message is so altruistic, even for this show's standards. It has been a long time since I last watched an episode this old and I have to admit that it feels very different to any other Simpson's episode. I suppose the characters are still young and not perfected or matured.

    Things I like about this episode are: homer is not THAT stupid yet, Bart is not THAT evil yet, and the show runs in a much different way and feels more like a soap opera. (And that is going to be less evident soon)

    A great episode with a great message!
  • This was a good way to start the Simpsons one of the best shows in the history of all television, but the show's brilliance will come later on...

    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.
  • Funny and Heartfelt

    Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire is a near perfect pilot. It sets up the family perfectly along with several second tier characters and the Simpsons' pets (Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II).

    The episode deals with money troubles (something that is revisited often) and what sacrifices Homer is willing to endure for his family. It sets up the conflict between Homer and Marge's sisters, Patty and Selma. It also shows what a cheapskate C. Montgomery Burns is.

    Besides being a great start to a great series it is a true Christmas clasic, that can hold its own with How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and all the rest.
  • Great begginging

    What a begginging. Homer needs extra money when Marge has it spent on removing Bart's tatto. He doesn't get his christmas bonus so he joins the Santa group. Bart pulls off Homers beard. Bart learns that this is the only way to make Christmas special. Homer brings home a tree from a persons home and Patty(or Selma)smells Gun powder. Selma(or Patty)asked about the bird's house.

    Homer, Bart, and Barney Gumble go to the race course to bet on a dog to win money. Wirlwind won by a mile but Homer choose a dog named Santa' Little Helper. He never finished the race. Bart and Homer took Santa's Little Helper home and everyone had a fantastic holiday.

    That is why it's a great beggining
  • Defining of an era

    This is for obvious reasons one of the most defining episodes of the Simpson's. We immediately get the introduction to the characters and get to see the family in all their roles. Homer's impetuousness "there's no time to be careful we're late." Bart's antics in his rendition of Jingle Bells. Lisa's over achievement with her dance for the Santa clause of different lands. And of course Marge putting the best on everything saying Bart sings like an angel. Then as we get to their house it plays out to the "fun" in dysfunctional family that we will grow to love. The episode of course ends on a happy note that makes us feel good. This has to be by far one of the greatest first episodes of a series and set up the Simpson's to hit one out of the park for the rest of their run
  • The first episode of a very long lasting series.

    I won't say that this episode was my favorite epsiode in the series, and I won't say that it featured the most hallarious quotes I have ever heard before in the show, but for a pilot episode I feel that it was very well done, so I felt that writing a review would be appropriate for this occasion, and considering it is a Christmas episode, I think it was very good. This episode really starts to show the traits of the characters in the show, and personally, I think this episode was the best episode to be a pilot for this show. Merry Christmas!!!!!
  • In this first Episode of the Simpsons we are introduced to the Simpsons family and many characters who are still around today.

    Ah, the first episode of the Simpsons. In this episode we meet the Simpsons family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. We are also introduced to many seconadry characters notably Moe, Ned Flanders, and Barney Gumble.

    This episode revolves around the Simpsons relying on Homer's Christmas bonus, however this year Homer did not receive a bonus. A pivotal point in this episode is when Bart decides to get a tatoo of a heart and the word Mother on it. Marge determines that Bart is too young for a tattoo and has the tattoo surgically removed. For this procedure Marge had to spend all of the Simpsons Christmas money.

    Since Homer did not receive his Christmas bonus he did the Christmas shopping and got gifts from the dolalr store including pads of paper for Bart, panty hose for Marge, and a dog toy for Maggie. Homer also gets a side job as a Santa at the Springfield Mall, however when he gets his check he is dissappointed that it is only for $13. Barney, Homer's drunken friend convinces Homer to go to the dog track and wager on a dog 'Whirlwind' who is almost guaranteed to win. However once at the track there is a late entry called 'Santa's Little Helper'. Homer thinks this is a sign from God and bets all of his money on the longshot.

    The dog comes in last place and after the race the show cuts to Homer and Bart looking for winning tickets on the ground outside of Springfield Downs. While looking for the ticket 'Santa's Little Helper' is abandoned by his owner and as a result Homer and Bart take the dog home for Christmas.

    This is not one of the best episodes of the Simpsons produced, however it was only the first episode and is a classic nonetheless.
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