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
787 votes
  • 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.
  • A great start for a great show.

    This was a fine pilot episode for The Simpsons. It gets into the characters for the first time, telling us what each one is like.

    This pilot episode was also a Christmas special. It shows Homer trying to put up the Christmas lights while Flanders shows him up, Bart and Lisa\'s Christmas list where all Bart wants is a tattoo and Lisa wants a pony, and it shows the famous scene where Santa's Little Helper leaps into the arms of Homer, making him a Simpson.

    What a great start it was for The Simpsons. This was just one of the many classic episodes.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Totally Awesome.

    I love The Simpsons With All My Heart. This Episode Man, How Can You Not!! The Jokes Are Great! The Animations Are Fantastico! Or Um, Fan-Diddily-Tastic....................
    Never The Less, Buy (Or Steal) Season One On Video Or Dvd.
    I Was Only Fool'n, Do Not Steal This. Unless You Wanna Spend Twenty Years In The Slammer With Bread And Water, Icey Cold Showers, Gaurds Womping Your A** Around The Clock And The Only Way Out Would Be Suic*de.

    No Seriously It Would Be.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Great, Hilarious way to start off a great television series.

    I never saw this episode when it aired but it was one of the first Simpsons episode I saw when i was little and even though I was 3 I still laughed alot. I remember wanting to see it every Christmas, then I started watching more simpsons as a 7 year old and then at 9 started buying dvd's and I got hooked. and watching this episode a few years ago, I realized that the things I didn't find funny were hilarious. Any way I love this episode it was Great, Hilarious way to start off a great television series. Nice job Simpsons crew.
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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 is the pilot episode of the simpsons and it is great.

    The simpsons roasting on a open campfire is a good pilot episode. I liked it. This episode is a christmas special. It is funny like all episodes are. Bart gets a tatto and they have to remove it and it waste all their money and they can't get anything for anybody. They get a dog called santa's little helper. I liked this episode and alot of people should have seen this one since it is on the season 1 dvd. If you don't have it and haven't seen this episode you should see it.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • The cultural incidence of The Simpsons.

    I don´t think this episode, by himself, deserve a 10 as a score... this is not a bad episode, but there are much betters, and I think that a 8 would be more suitable. Even, I think that I have put to all the first season some rather-high ratings. But, when I think this season as a cultural thing, it shine much more than before, and the 10 is well given.

    To the boys and girls that, like me, are in the 20-25, The Simpsons serie have been a great friend in all our childhood and adolescence. And there are some things that will stay in our memories I think that forever.
    We´ll see the fights between Homer, Lisa and Bart and we´ll remember our own fights with our brothers, when we live in our parents home, and life was so much easier.

    I remember to have a routine in my adolescence, when I have hangover after a party night, of putting some of the first seasons of the show and watching it during the sunday afternoon, and some phrases from this chapters was great jokes to all the people in our age.

    So, when I see the first chapter of The Simpsons, his cultural meaning have much more incidence in me than the story (even as it is really funny on his own), and then, the 10 points I give to this chapter have much more meaning, since this chapter was the opening door to all of the others (better or worse) chapters from The Simpsons.

    Oh!, by the way, I really really really love the songs in this chapter: All: They never let poor Rudolph,
    Join in any reindeer games.
    Bart: Like strip poker!
    Homer: I'm warning you two!
  • Lisa Simpson needs to use the bathroom but Milhouse and Bart are hogging it, read this for fun and enjoy!!!!!!!!

    (Bart and Milhouse are in the Simpson's bathroom in the house, the only bathroom in there. They are both having a shampoo fight with eachother.)

    Bart:Ha ha you'll never spray me man.

    Milhouse:Guess again buddy. AAAhhhhhhhhhh AAAAAAAAhhh!

    (Lisa Simpson knocks outside the door)

    Lisa:Hey are you done yet, what are you guys doing in there.

    Bart:Nothing, get off our backs.

    Lisa:Bart come on, please let me in I really need to use the toilet!

    Bart:Sorry, looks like you're just going to have to hold it and wait sis, ha ha.

    Lisa:EHH! Come on Bart hurry up I drank like two gallons of milk with Magggie I gotta get in there.

    (Lisa is now shown outside squriming with her legs crossed in torment. Homer walks by.)

    Lisa:Dad, can you get Bart out of there, I really need to peeeeeeeeeeee!

    Homer:Sure honey (Homer knocks) Hey boy, what are you doing in there, your sister is waiting.

    Bart:Just me Dad taking a nice clean bath.

    Homer:Got you boy, good job keeping clean.

    Lisa:Dad, what about me.

    Homer:Well what do you want from me honey, you never disturbe a man from his bath.

    (Homer walks away leaving Lisa. Lisa is left there with her arms and legs crossed in squriming and hopping torment and knocks again.)

    Lisa:Bart, come on, please let me in already, I really need to use the bathroom, that toilet, and there are none left in the whole house.

    Bart:Ok fine, here.

    (There's a rumble outside and a bang, and the toilet comes landing in near Lisa.)


    (Then suddenly the bathroom door blasts off open with water spraying everywhere as a huge wave blasting Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse off it out off Springfield. Lisa has her hands tucked in tight still squirming.)

    Lisa:DOHHHHHHHHHH! Bart why couldn't you just let me in the bathroom to use the toilet for just a few seconds, huh, WWHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!


    (All three splash into inside the mall into the girls room.)

    Milhouse:Oh no Bart, not here, lets get out.

    Bart:Right, come on Lisa...Lisa?

    (Lisa's feet are shown at the open bottom part of a stall and the stall is closed and locked.)

  • Definately the best series opener for any tv show ever written a very special episode does not describe it well enough.

    as i said before definately the best series opener for any tv show ever written a very special episode does not describe it well enough, From the second it started till the second it stopped it was truly a great episode my favourite jokes were the reindeer one and this:

    (Santa's Little Helper is chased off by his owner, and comes running towards Homer and Bart.)
    Homer: Oh, no, you don't! No, no! Get away from me! Uh-uh!
    (Santa's Little Helper jumps into Homer's arms.)
    Bart: Oh, can we keep him, Dad, please?
    Homer: But he's a loser. He's pathetic! He's...(Santa's Little Helper licks Homer.)...a Simpson.

    The One That started it all from this episode through to All About Lisa Season 19 the simpsons have been the greatest show of all time and they will be for years to come...hopefully they don't get cancelled.

    Ahh Goobras

    Screw flanders Screw flanders Screw flanders Screw Flanders Screw Flanders Screw flanders
  • This is a great episode i like it very much.

    The simpsons is a cartoon that I can watch all day and it can be watched by all family. This episode is the first one of the great serial.And it allways will be in my mamoris like the firs and best cartoon i have even see.And it allways will be in my hart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T H E S I M P S O N S . . . . . . . . . .
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  • The one that started it all.

    This is easily one of the best pilots to any T.V. show. It perfectly introduced the characters and the story bought back many memorable Christmas specials about a loser who gets a stroke of luck on Christmas Eve. There were also many funny moments from Homer naming reindeer to Bart singing "Jingle Bells". While the animation wasn't that perfect in the beginning, I was able to ignore and enjoy myself while I was watching this episode. And while newer Simpson Christmas specials would be made, this one is still the best after all these years. Although it didn't win the Emmy, it was still good to see that it got nominated.
  • a good way to start the simpsons

    the simpsons say good-bye to the tracy ullman show show and gave us this glorious episode . it's about when bart gets a tatoo , marge has to spend the x-mas money to make sure the tatoo is removed , however homer gets no x-mas bonus and is stuck working as a mall santa with only bart knowing of this . when he finally gets his low paycheck barney suggests to go to the dog track and bet on a dog named whirlwind. howevr , homer bets on the wrong dog , santa's little helpr and lose the bet . homer and bart walk the streets trying to find anytrhing to make merry x-mas but no luck . then , santa's little helper's owner abandons him anbd homer and bart decide to keep him making a merry christmas after all . anyways , this is a good episode and a good way to start the simpsons .
  • How How D'oh!

    In this episode we learn who The Simpsons are. The introduction to theire characters are very similar to how we know them by the years. Homer as the father who tries to make out of all the misery something good, with the most stupid remarks and handelings. Marge as the caring mother and loving wife. Bart as the brat who is always up for some joke. Lisa as the smart one. And Maggie, well we know she likes to suck her pacifier and drops a lot. :-)

    It's a real nice episode with so much thing I can relay to real life. No Christmas-bonus, money-troubles during the holidays and stuff like that. It can be a very nice time, but if you haven't anything you just want to make your family happy, it can be a pain in the *ss.
    I really like the jokes in this one, Homer who strangles the Santa-teacher, the Jingle Bell's Playground Version, the Christmas decorations and the "How How D'oh"!

    Season Greetings from Marc
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