Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire                          Written by Mimi Pond
                                                    Directed by David Silverman

TV Guide syopsis

The Simpsons prepare for the holidays, but it's rough sledding for
household-head Homer, who's forced to resort to desperate measures when
his Christmas bonus is canceled and Marge's family money goes to erase
the tattoo son Bart thought would be a perfect gift.

Title sequence

There is no title sequence for this episode.  We go straight into the show

Didja notice...

    ... Marge is a phone cord twiddler? @{cjb}
    ... Marge had to park in section ZZ of the mall parking lot?
    ... the parking lot goes from Z to ZZ, with no AA-ZY?
    ... Homer mumbled ``Mm hm'' at a dial that was in the red and another
        whose warning lights were flashing?
    ... all the workers were eating donuts?  Even the one wearing a
        radiation suit!
    ... the `O' in `MOE' was a Christmas wreath?
    ... the goofy face Marge had when the photo was taken at the end of
        the show? @{cjb}
    ... during the shot of the house during the Christmas carol, all
        the lights have burnt out except for one, meekly blinking atop
        the Simpsons' roof?

Freeze Frame Fun

Dogs in the fourth race

    * Whirlwind
    * Quadruped
    * Dog-o-War         (A pun on the champion racehorse `Man-o-War')
    * Fido
    * Santa's Little Helper

Animation and continuity goofs

- When Bart and Homer return with SLH, a single frame of Maggie sliding
  off Marge's lap was misplaced. {cjb}
+ The view of the snow covered house didn't have the treehouse behind it.
- Lewis changes from black to white when Milhouse dares Bart. [BluBlazr4L]

Comments and other observations

Maggie fall count

    *  While Lisa and Bart write their letters to the fat guy
       who brings them presents. (twice)
    *  Again off-screen shortly thereafter.
    *  When Homer asks for the extension cord.
    *  Outside admiring Ned's Christmas lights.
    .  For a total of five.


Jingle Bells, As sung by Bart

    Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg.
    Batmobile broke its wheel, the Joker got awa-augh!

Bart is hardly the inventor of these lyrics.  They're part of American
schoolyard culture.

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a la Simpson

Transcription due to Chris Baird {cjb}

[Abe at the piano, Maggie riding SLH side-saddle]

     All: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
          Had a very shiny nose,
          And if you ever saw it,
          You would even say it glows.
                [Bart:  Like a lightblub!]
                [Homer: Bart!]

          All of the other reindeer,
          Used to laugh and call him names.
                [Lisa:  Like Pergola! (?)]
                [Homer: Lisa!]

          They never let poor Rudolph,
          Join in any reindeer games.
                [Bart:  Like strip poker!]
                [Homer: I'm warning you two!]

          Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
          Santa came to say,
                [Marge: Take it Homer!]

   Homer: err... Rudolph, get your nose over here, so
          you can drive my sleigh... today.
                [Marge: Ohh, Homer...]

     All: Then all of the reindeer loved him,
          And they shouted out with glee:
          Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
          You'll go down in history!
                [Bart:  Like Attila the H- ugh, urk!]
                [Homer: You little... grrrr!]


Notice that Homer neglected to buy a Christmas gift for Lisa at the
Circus of Values.  (Overlooked middle child indeed.)

According to Tsukasa Nakamula, ``Hochiashi'' isn't the real Japanese Santa

Quotes and scene summary

 Homer and Marge drive to Springfield Elementary, late for the school's
 Christmas show.  A class sings ``O Little Town of Bethlehem'' as Marge
 (carrying Maggie, all bundled up) and Homer try to reach their seats.
 Next up is the second grade, presenting, ``Santas of many lands.''  After
 the German and Japanese versions of Santa Claus comes Lisa as Towanga,
 the Santa Claus of the South Seas.  Lisa appears, wearing a witch doctor
 mask and grass skirt, juggling flaming torches.

   Ah, the fourth grade will now favor us with a melody... err...
   medley (hee hee) of holiday flavorites.
   -- Principal Skinhead, err, Skinner hosts the school Christmas show,
      ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 They sing Jingle Bells, but Bart chooses some
 alternate lyrics.  He's yanked off the stage.  Time passes...

   Skinner: The fifth grade will now favor us with a scene from Charles
            uh.. Dickens' Christmas Carol.
   Homer:   Ohhhh.... How many grades does this school have!
   -- Watching the school Christmas pageant, ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 At home, Marge writes the family Christmas letter, while Homer struggles
 with the Christmas lights, and Bart and Lisa make out their Christmas
 lists.  Maggie practices walking.

   Maggie is walking by herself.  Lisa got straight A's.  And Bart...
   Well, we love Bart.
   -- Marge writes the family Christmas letter,
      ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

   Marge: [writing] The magic of the season has touched us all.
   Homer: Marge, haven't you finished that stupid letter yet?
   Marge: [writing] Homer sends his love.
   -- Marge writes the family Christmas letter,
      ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Homer asks where the extension cord is, and Marge tells him it's in the
 utility drawer.  Homer fishes it out, to find the cord a complete tangle.
 Marge asks the kids for their letters to Santa, and Bart scoffs, ``Oh
 please, there's only one fat guy who brings us presents, and his name
 ain't Santa.''  Lisa's list is, ``A pony.  A pony.  A pony.  A pony.
 Thank you,'' the same list as the past three years, and Marge tries
 to explain to Lisa that a pony won't fit in Santa's sleigh.  Bart hands
 his list.

   Marge: A tattoo?
   Homer: A what?
   Bart:  Yeah, they're cool, and they last the rest of your life.
   Marge: You will <not> be getting a tattoo for Christmas.
   Homer: Yeah, if you want one, you'll have to pay for it out of your
          own allowance!
   -- Reading Bart's Christmas list, ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Patty calls.  While Marge talks to her sister, Homer finishes installing
 the lights atop the house (falling to the lawn from the roof).  Homer
 tells Marge to ``turn on the juice'', and the lights light up, sort of.
 Most of the bulbs have burnt out.  ``Nice try, Dad,'' says Lisa.
 Ned plugs in his Christmas lights, and his house lights up in electronic
 opulence, complete with a Santa on the roof that says, ``Ho ho ho.''

 [End of Act One.  Time: 5:24]

 At the breakfast table, Marge tells the kids to get their money to go
 Christmas shopping.  Homer asks Marge where she's been hiding the Christmas
 money, and Marge isn't telling.  While Homer's back is turned, she fishes
 a huge jar of cash out of her hair.

 At the mall, Bart spots ``The Happy Sailor Tattoo Parlor''...

   Oh, Bart, that's so sweet.  It's the best present a mother could get,
   and it makes you look so dangerous.
   -- Marge in Bart's dream of getting a tattoo,
      ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Bart heads inside.

   Bart:  One `mother' please.
   Clerk: Wait a minute.  How old are you?
   Bart:  Twenty-one, sir.
   Clerk: Get in the chair.
   -- Bart gets a tattoo, ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Meanwhile, Homer checks the dials on a row of machines.  An announcement
 comes over the P.A. system.

   Smithers: Attention all personnel.  Please keep working during the
             following announcement.  And now, our boss and friend, Mr. Burns.
   Burns:    Hello.  I'm proud to announce that we've been able to increase
             safety here at the plant without increasing the cost to the consumer
             or affecting management pay raises.  However, for you semi-skilled
             workers, there will be no Christmas bonuses.  Oh, and one more
             thing:  Merry Christmas!
   -- ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Marge finds Bart getting a tattoo and yanks him out of the shop.  Bart's
 incomplete tattoo reads, ``Moth.''  The doctor says that he can remove the
 tattoo with lasers, but he insists on a cash payment up front.  Marge
 notes, ``Thank God for Homer's Christmas bonus.''  The laser does its work.

 At home, Bart's arm is bandaged.

   Lisa:   [touches Bart's injured arm]
   Bart:   Ow!  Quit it.
   Lisa:   [touches Bart's injured arm]
   Bart:   Ow!  Quit it.
   Lisa:   [touches Bart's injured arm]
   Bart:   Ow!  Quit it.
   Maggie: [touches Bart's injured arm]
   Bart:   Ow!  Quit it.
   Homer:  [comes in]  Hey, what's with this?  [touches Bart's injured arm]
   Bart:   Ow!  Quit it.
   -- If I've told you once... `Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Homer learns that Marge had to spend the Christmas money on getting the
 tattoo removed.  Homer cancels Christmas, but Marge says, ``We'll just
 have to stretch your Christmas bonus a little further this year.''
 Homer pretends he still has one then steps outside.  He watches
 Ned's extravagant Christmas lights and hangs his head.

 [End of Act Two.  Time: 8:58]

   Marge: [in bed, reading the shopping list]
          I get the feeling there's something you haven't told me Homer.
   Homer: Huh?  Oh, I love you Marge.
   Marge: Homer, you tell me that all the time.
   Homer: Oh good, because I <do> love you.
          I don't deserve you as much as a guy with a fat wallet and a credit
          card that won't set off that horrible beeping.
   Marge: Well, I think it does have something to do with your Christmas bonus.
          I keep asking for it, but...
   Homer: Marge...  Oh... Let me be honest with you...
   Marge: Yes?
   Homer: Well... I...
   Marge: [rubs his hand]
   Homer: I want to do the Christmas shopping this year!
   Marge: [hands over the list she was holding]  Well, sure.  Okay.
          [flicks bed-side light off. Homer's forced grin glows in the dark]
   -- Homer can't bear to tell Marge that his Christmas bonus has been cancelled,
      ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Homer pays a visit to the Circus of Values (nothing over $4.99).
 He buys a six-pack of panty hose for Marge, pads of paper for Bart,
 and a squeak toy pork chop for Maggie.  (``It says it's for dogs, but
 she can't read.'')  On his way out, he bumps into Ned, laden with gifts.
 Their respective armfuls of goodies fall into the snow.

   Homer: [bumps into Ned.  Their respective armfuls of gifts fall into the snow]
   Ned:   Oh ho ho, Simpson, it's you.
   Homer: Hello, Flanders.
   Ned:   Oh my, what a little mess we've got here.  Well, which ones are yours
          and which ones are mine?
   Homer: Well, let's see.
   Ned:   [picking up gifts] Well, this one's mine, and this one's mine, heh heh,
          this one's mine, and...
   Homer: They're <all> yours!
   -- ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 All except the squeeze toy for Maggie.  (Squink, squink.)

 Homer is drinking at Moe's, and Barney comes in dressed as Santa.

   Barney: I got me a part-time job working as a Santa down at the mall.
   Homer:  Wow.  Can <I> do that?
   Barney: I dunno.  They're pretty selective.  [belch]
   -- ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Homer applies.

   Manager: Do you like children?
   Homer:   What do you mean?  All the time?  Even when they're nuts??
   -- Homer applies for a job as a department store Santa,
      ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 [My audio dropped out for a bit.  Sorry.  I'm working from visuals here.]
 Homer attends Santa school.  They practice saying, ``Ho ho ho.''  Homer
 is asked to name Santa's reindeer...

   Dasher...  Dancer...  Prancer...  Nixon...
   -- Homer lists Santa's reindeer, ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Homer practices talking to a boy on his lap.

 Homer returns home and greets Patty and Selma.  They are their usual
 non-cheery selves.  They note that there isn't a Christmas tree, andHomer
 says he was on his way out to get one.  He drives past signs that read
 ``All trees $75'', ``$60 and up'', ``Christmas trees, slightly irregular,
 $45'', heading instead for a sign that says, ``No trespassing.''  He
 chainsaws a tree and carries it to the car one step ahead of the guard
 dogs and gunfire.

 The kids are impressed.  Selma inquires after the birdhouse in the tree.
 ``Do I smell gunpowder?''

 At the mall, Homer plays Santa to a young boy and tells the child that
 he should be happy he has a good home and a loving father.  Homer steals
 a bite of the kid's donut.  Lewis, Bart, and Milhouse watch the pathetic
 Santa down below.  Milhouse dares Bart to yank his beard off.  Bart accepts
 the challenge.

   Bart:  Hey Santa, what's shakin', man?
   Homer: [as Santa]  What's your name, Bart...ner?  Uh, little partner?
   Bart:  I'm Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?
   -- Homer works as a department store Santa,
      ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Bart yanks off Homer's beard, and Homer takes Bart aside.  He explains
 that he didn't get a bonus, but he'd do anything to keep the family from
 missing out on Christmas.

   You must really love us to sink so low.
   -- Bart admires Homer's working as a department store Santa,
      ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Homer returns to work.

 Homer reaches the head of the paycheck line, to find that he's earned
 only $13.

   Homer: Thirteen bucks?  Hey, wait a minute.
   Clerk: That's right.  $120 gross, less Social Security...
   Homer: Yeah.
   Clerk: ... less unemployment insurance ...
   Homer: But...
   Clerk: ... less Santa training...
   Homer: Santa training?
   Clerk: ... less costume purchase...
   Homer: Wait a minute...
   Clerk: ... less beard rental...
   Homer: But...
   Clerk: ... less Christmas Club.
   Homer: But...
   Clerk: See you next year.  [closes the window]
   -- Paydirt, ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Barney is on his way to Springfield Downs.  He's got a hot tip on a dog
 in the fourth race.  Whirlwind, a 12--1 shot.  Homer isn't so sure.

   Bart:  Aw come on, Dad.  This could be the miracle that saves the Simpsons'
          Christmas.  If TV has taught me anything, it's that miracles always
          happen to poor kids at Christmas.  It happened to Tiny Tim, it happened
          to Charlie Brown, it happened to the Smurfs, and it's going to happen
          to us!
   Homer: Well, okay, let's go.  Who's Tiny Tim?
   -- ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 [more audio dropout.  I really gotta get cable...]
 Lisa watches `The Happy Little Elves'.

 Homer, Bart, and Barney arrive at Springfield Downs.  In the fourth race,
 there's been a scratch.  The replacement is a dog named Santa's Little
 Helper.  Homer figures, with a name like that, it can't lose.  The odds
 are 99--1.  Bart isn't so sure that this is a great idea, but he
 reluctantly lends his support.

 Back at home, the Happy Little Elves are happy again, and Lisa is pleased.
 Patty bad-mouths Homer.

   Lisa:  What, Aunt Patty?
   Patty: Oh, nothing, dear.  I'm just trashing your father.
   Lisa:  Well, I wish you wouldn't because, aside from the fact that he has the
          same frailties as all human beings, he's the only father I have.
          Therefore, he is my model of manhood, and my estimation of him will
          govern the prospects of my adult relationships.
          So I hope you bear in mind that any knock at him is a knock at me,
          and I am far too young to defend myself against such onslaughts.
   Patty: Mm hm.  Go watch your cartoon show, dear.
   -- ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 The race is run, and SLH is dead last.  Way, way behind the rest of the pack.

   Don't worry, Dad.  Maybe this is just for suspense before the miracle happens.
   -- Bart's been watching too much TV, ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Whirlwind wins.  SLH doesn't even make it to the finish line.

   It doesn't seem possible, but I guess TV has betrayed me.
   -- Bart, ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Outside, Homer and Bart go through the discarded tickets in search of
 a winner.  Barney skids past, brandishing his winnings (and Daria).
 SLH's owner tells the dog to scram, and SLH leaps into Homer's arms.

   Bart:  Oh, Dad, can we keep him?
   Homer: But he's a loser!  He's pathetic!  He's...
   SLH:   [licks Homer's face]
   Homer: ... a Simpson.
   -- ``Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire''

 Homer finally arrives home, and admits that he didn't get a bonus at all.
 Bart shows the family SLH, and Lisa is ecstatic.  ``So love at first
 sight <is> possible!''  Adds Bart, ``And if he runs away, he'll be easy
 to catch!''  Marge says it's the best gift of all, something to share
 their love, and frighten prowlers.  The tender moment is captured forever
 in a snapshot.

 [End of Act Three.  Time: 21:35]

 Over the closing credits, OFF sing a Christmas carol.

 [Time:  1:01 (including TCF logo)]

Boring distribution restrictions

Episode summaries Copyright 1991 by Raymond Chen.  Updated 1999 Andrew
A. Gill.  Unattributed discrepancies between this and the previous
revisions are mine.  Top 40 delenda est.  Not to be redistributed in a
public forum without permission.  (The quotes themselves, of course,
remain the property of The Simpsons, and the reproduced articles remain
the property of the original authors. I'm just taking credit for the

HTML conversion by
Howard Jones( on Sat 10 Sept 1994