So we end 2021 on a beginning. not counting the shorts that were made before that I didn’t know even existed till a later episode showed some of them. Anyway, so with the fact that the Simpsons just goes on and on now, let’s end this December run and the year with its very first true episode.
I have learned that the later episode “Some Enchanted Evening” was originally meant to have been the first episode, and given how frankly primitive that episode feels with the characters and story that does seem to add up… but fortunately things happened this became the first episode and that stinker was pushed back to the end of the season.
The episode starts with a snowy drive to Springfield Elementary and we’re shown some of the Christmas performances by the classes… Lisa’s younger class getting the far more interesting one about Santas from around the world (though I wouldn’t call this researched as the German one contains elements of Krampus but not saying him, instead talking about someone else who I’m fairly sure doesn’t exist… I can’t talk to the validity of the others) as opposed to Bart’s which is just doing a Christmas Carol.
After that we get in tone an element that’s far more prevalent in the early years. Genuinely struggling with money. While later series would do this there’s a more earnest tragedy put forward here. Homer genuinely wants his family to have a good Christmas but due to a number of factors: the power plant cutting Christmas bonuses for all but the top brass and Marge using the money saved up to remove a tattoo from Bart – they have no money. But also Homer doesn’t want to admit this problem.
We see him try to get presents on no budget and being emotionally distraught comparing it to Ned who’s having a much more happy one. This is before his Christian element was pushed far higher leading to the term Flanderized.
The story is very much Homer’s, even seeing him become a mall Santa in hopes the extra money would save the Christmas plans, only for that too to be destroyed when the cost of training and the suit take up most of the payment.
The episode is a classic however so you probably know the rest, such as just why their dog is called Santa’s Little Helper. It’s definitely another holiday must watch and since I don’t like many of the Simpsons Christmas episodes (a lot just seem very mean spirited even if they try to have a happy ending I’m too turned off by then to ever willingly watch it again). This gets the balance right since rather than just gut punching you and making someone’s life horrible it’s showing how much Homer does care about the family that he’s willing to go to these lengths, sure he’s thwarted at every level but until the final one they were things beyond his control, and the ending is a very heartwarming one.
So ends my reviews of 2021…. please can the next year be better… well there was plenty of good things to enjoy once I found them, like the Tsubaraya channel so I’ve been able to watch Ultraman legally. My Transformers collection increased with some truly great new figures and Hero Quest came back. So sure there’s lots of things to grumble about but we can all find the little things that help us keep going.