One of the first things people learn about me is my love of The Simpsons. I mean, I talk about it in all my online profiles so I guess it’s pretty easy to learn, but it also often comes up in normal conversation, as well. The Simpsons doesn’t do a yearly Christmas episode the way they do Treehouse of Horror episodes, but the Christmas episodes still always seemed to have an impact on me.
Maybe it’s because the first episode that aired was “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” (and that’s when they get family dog, Santa’s Little Helper) that I always think fondly of Simpsons Christmas episodes. (And, I’ve gotta say, the Christmas add-ons on “Tapped Out” are really fun). For my purposes, the Simpsons Christmas episodes are “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” “Marge Be Not Proud,” “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace” and “Grift of the Magi” not because of anything more than the fact that these are the Christmas episodes that have ruined my life.
Here are five ways The Simpsons Christmas episodes have ruined my life:
1. Always Used to Sing “Jingle Bells” Like Bart
I understand that changing the lyrics to “Jingle Bells” to be about Batman didn’t originate from The Simpsons. But for me, and I’m sure many other kids my age, Bart Simpson created this song and it’s awesome and I can’t help but crack up at it every time.
Robin laid an egg
The Batmobile lost a wheel
And Joker got away
I’m sorry, but that is hilarious.
And hearing Bart sing that in the Christmas pageant in the first episode of The Simpsons completely ruined “Jingle Bells” for me and made it so I can’t HELP but sing the alternate lyrics whenever I hear those notes.
2. Made Me Obsessed With the Idea of Christmas Bonuses
At five years old, in 1989, I learned about, and then became obsessed with the idea of The Christmas Bonus.
Interestingly,16 days before The Simpsons premiered, Christmas Vacation came out, whose plot also revolves around a dad not getting his Christmas bonus as well as the reveal of a house decorated with an absurd quantity of lights.
It ruins Homer’s life so much to not get the Christmas bonus he was expecting that he has to work part time as a mall Santa and go to the dog track to try to salvage his family’s Christmas. And I remember just thinking, “wow, Christmas bonuses are important!” Especially if your 10-year-old son gets a tattoo that you then have to remove with your Christmas money. (My brother and I always did the “Ow, quit it” routine when we were kids)
I’ve personally never received a Christmas Bonus as I am a freelancer (and, therefore, a modern-day cowboy – thank you, Liz Lemon) but my husband has received Christmas bonuses and let me tell you…they’re kind of a life saver and I’m so jealous I’ll probably never get one. It’s just so nice to have that money around the holidays. We’ve bought furniture we desperately needed with a Christmas bonus, plane tickets last minute and just, Christmas gifts. So I totally understand how much of a bummer that could be if you suddenly don’t receive a bonus you were counting on! Rough times, man.
3. Always Terrified the Tree is Going to Burn Down
I mean, let’s think this through.
Trees can burn.
Then you put lights on them that you plug into the wall.
Those can burn.
Then you add MORE stuff on top of it.
That can also sometimes burn.
Add to this the fact that I grew up with dachshunds who love hanging around the tree (and specifically drinking from it) and now have two cats who love to play with … everything. It can be a big fire hazard to have a Christmas tree!
In “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace” the kids are told they can’t open presents until 7am. But of course Bart wakes up early and opens a realistic fire truck toy, runs it into a power outlet, spraying water all over the place and then the whole tree goes up in flames and he hides the giant plastic disk in the front yard under snow and lies about the whole thing saying that burglars stole everything. (Side note: it’s baffling to me that a kid would sneak down to open all their presents and not get in SO MUCH TROUBLE that it would be worth it).
4. Gave Me a Serious Distrust of “Fad” Christmas Toys
One of my big ruining moments of The Simpsons is the idea that there’s a group of security guards watching you in dressing rooms on monitors to make sure you leave with the correct socks.
In a few episodes there are situations with one-way glass like in an interrogation room and it makes me nervous every single time.
In “Grift of the Magi” a toy company invades Springfield Elementary to do research for a new toy. And there’s a sequence were Lisa finds out they’re spying on the classrooms through the blackboards, obviously.
But then it turns into this huge Christmas toy that everyone wants called “Funzo” (a name Lisa suggested in class one day) and it turns out that Funzo DESTROYS OTHER TOYS.
If there’s one thing I’m terrified of it is talking dolls/toys. (Don’t even show me a Teddy Ruxpin, I will throw it across the room). So the idea of a toy that literally would destroy all other toys is terrifying to me. So stay away from me with your Furbys and Tickle Me Elmo, I’ll just stick to my cup-and-ball, thanks.
5. I Can’t Watch the Episode “Marge Be Not Proud”
My husband and I watch at least one episode of The Simpsons each night before bed. We kind of start somewhere in the series and work our way through them season by season and then start again.
But every time we get to Season 7, episode 11 (disc 2) we skip that episode faster than if we had an electrified skipping machine.
I just can’t handle it. Marge’s disappointment in Bart, Bart’s sadness when he realizes Marge isn’t going to tuck him in, when they make a snow family and leave Bart out and he has to make one out of gross under-the-car snow. (I’m actually tearing up thinking about this).
I DO, however, love when Bart is racing home to remove the answering machine tape because I remember racing upstairs to the answering machine to check it whenever we got back from being out. Something about seeing that red light and listening to a phone message is so satisfying.
In a way, “Marge Be Not Proud” is a GREAT Christmas episode since I think the best Christmas things are mostly super sad. (Actually, ALL Christmas things are mostly super sad, I think).
But hey, Happy Holidays and may you all have a dog named Santa’s Little Helper.