Sunday, December 24, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Extra Credit 3 - Merry Christmas!

Chestnuts roasting on an open fiiiire...  Hang on, I don't have an open fire...

Oh dear.

Best get this finished quickly then - it's G.F. Ho-Ho-Ho-rons' guide to The Simpsons at Christmas!  First up: this won't be anywhere near as good as the Halloween ones.  I make no apologies - there's simply not as much material to choose from, and for the most part it's simply not as good.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
However, I *love* me some Christmas.  It's my favourite time of year, so if I've got an ongoing regular series, you bet your sweet...  ASS that I'll be marking it with a quick post.  So let's have a good old look at my top five, eh?  Come on, it's Christmas Eve.  You've got bollocks all else to do.

NUMBER 5: "The Fight Before Christmas"
Season 22, Episode 8
First Broadcast: December 5, 2010

A CHRISTMAS STORY: We kick off with a "Treehouse of Horror" style anthology, with Bart getting a job at the North Pole to take his revenge on Santa for...  Er, something (see?  I told you this wasn't as good as the Halloween ones!), Marge fighting the Nazis in World War II and something to do with Martha Stewart - none of which matters as there's a section at the end with a Henson-style puppet Simpsons interacting with Katy Perry, so no-one remembers all the other bits.  Yay?

X(MAS) MARKS THE (BEST) SPOT: By default, the bit with Katy Perry, but to be honest I can't even remember that properly.  NEXT!!!


NUMBER 4: "'Tis The Fifteeth Season"
Season 15, Episode 7
First Broadcast: December 14, 2003

A CHRISTMAS STORY: Right, this is definitely better - Homer's selfish streak is very much in evidence as he forgets to get first Lenny, then his family, any presents, whist treating himself to a lavish talking astrolabe.  But after watching a rip-off of "A Christmas Carol", he decides to mend his ways and become the nicest, most generous man he can be - until bloody Lisa ruins it all by passing on her Buddhist tendencies.

X(MAS) MARKS THE (BEST) SPOT: "Star Trek"'s (fictional) take on "A Christmas Carol":

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

NUMBER 3: "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire"
Season 1, Episode 1
First Broadcast: December 17, 1989

A CHRISTMAS STORY: Quite a lot happens in this, the first full-length episode of The Simpsons after their introduction in short form on Tracy Ullman's show, but to get to the heart of the matter: when Marge's hard-saved Christmas budget gets spent on tattoo removal for Bart, Homer works as an in-store Santa Claus to try to give the family the presents they want - but winds up with something even better...

X(MAS) MARKS THE (BEST) SPOT: Erm...  It's a bit rough if I'm honest, but I do enjoy Marge's Christmas letter - "Maggie is walking by herself, Lisa got straight A's and Bart...  Well, we love Bart."

SWEET LITTLE BABY JESUS RATING: Baby Jesus, making his debut.

NUMBER 2: "Holidays Of Future Passed"
Season 23, Episode 9
First Broadcast: December 11, 2011

A CHRISTMAS STORY: Quoted by many as a possible planned final ever episode should the actors' pay dispute not have been ironed out, this is the 'canon' future of The Simpsons, and is a very family-focused episode, as Bart and Lisa are struggling to connect with their own children and Maggie is in labour.  Luckily Homer is there to act as a bad example as usual, and there's all kind of future gubbins, including clones of Ralph Wiggum and a mind-swapped Lenny and Karl.

X(MAS) MARKS THE (BEST) SPOT: Homer's surprisingly touching talk about being a son, and being a father: "...everyone thinks their dad's a jerk.  And everyone's right.  But, when you get older, you realize how much you love them.  Your dad may be a little bit immature, but I know he loves you.  So, you ought to give him a chance."


NUMBER 1: "Marge Be Not Proud"
Season 7, Episode 11
First Broadcast: December 17, 1995

A CHRISTMAS STORY: Yes, this was a Christmas episode!  And thank Godzilla for that, as we get to talk briefly about a non-gimmicky episode which is simply good on its own merit.

Bart will stoop to any low to get "Bonestorm", the hot new beat-'em-up videogame, but when he tries to shoplift it and is caught by the store detective, Marge begins to feel she has failed as a mother, and that Bart has grown up too much to need her.  But the seasonal spirit brings reconciliation, and Bart gets to "enjoy" a videogame for Christmas - "Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge".

X(MAS) MARKS THE (BEST) SPOT: Anything to do with "Bonestorm" itself is pure, post-"Mortal Kombat" moral panic gold - but come on, it has to be this one shot...

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

Join us next Thursday when we'll be back in our usual routine.  But until then, have a merry Christmas, everybody - and enjoy the rock 'n' roll stylings of Wild Billy Childish and The Buff Medways!

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