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The Simpsons - S17E09

Family . Comedy . Animation

When Reverend Lovejoy and Ned Flanders are unable to deliver the Christmas sermon, Homer steps in and tells the story of the birth of the baby Jesus (Bart), King Harod’s (Mr. Burns’) attempt to have the baby killed and the creation of the first Christmas tree. Grandpa relates to Bart and Lisa the story of how in the Navy he and his older brother Cyrus were fighting in the Pacific in World War II. During a battle Cyrus’s plane is lost and Abe and Mr. Burns (his co-pilot) crash land their own plane. At Christmastime while awaiting rescue, Burns, anxious to shoot at something, shoots down Santa Claus. Abe and Burns help Santa to rebuild his sleigh (only for Burns to later steal.) After Abe gets it back, Santa promises to come back for a follow-up rescue, but never does. After Abe has finished relating the story to the kids, Santa makes his overdue appearance and takes Abe to Tahiti to be reunited with his brother. The kids at Springfield Elementary perform “Perhaps the worst version ever” rendition of “The Nutcracker” ballet according to Superintendent Chalmers. When it is revealed that you don’t have to pay for the music rights it leads to a montage of citizens of Springfield going about their usual Christmas activities to the more familiar pieces of music from “The Nutcracker,” including a sequence where Moe tries to kill himself, and Homer (forgetting as usual) tries to get Marge her present at the last minute.

Episode Title: Simpsons Christmas Stories
Airs: 2005-12-18 at 08:00 pm
  • Ken Tucker

    Groening has created a group of characters whose personalities and motives are more vivid and detailed than the vast majority of sitcoms featuring flesh-and-blood actors.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Richard Zoglin

    [The show] has a good deal of savvy wit.... The Simpsons, however, is strangely off-putting much of the time. The drawings are grotesque without redeeming style or charm (characters have big beady eyes, beaklike noses and spiky hair), and the animation is crude even by TV's low-grade standards.

    Time Full Review
  • Howard Rosenberg

    Easily the the best, cleverest and nuttiest arrival of the 1989-90 season is The Simpsons...It's very small-scale, but perfectly conceived and executed. What we have here from creator Matt Groening is a rare confluence -- delightful writing, pictures and voices fitting like a Matisse. [12 Jan 1990, p.F1]

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • John Engstrom

    "The Simpsons" is both a challenge and a delight. It's also that rarest of TV fauna, a cartoon show with levels of mirth for every brain and pair of eyes in the family. [12 Jan 1990]

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    A hilarious holiday package. [15 Dec 1989, p.3D]

    USA Today Full Review
  • John J. O'Connor

    There is, admittedly, a fine line between being hilariously perceptive and just plain, even objectionably, silly. While habitually teetering on that line, 'The Simpsons' has shown a remarkable ability to come down on the right side most of the time.

    The New York Times Full Review
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