Miracle of Evergreen Terrace
Rudolph’s red nose is not alcohol related.
Couch gag: The Simpsons are in a snow globe.
Director: Bob Anderson
Alex Trebek as himself
Synopsis: Bart accidentally sets fire to the Christmas tree and presents, and hides the evidence under some snow, telling his family and the police that a burglar stole everything. The townspeople give money to the family and Bart eventually comes clean about the whole thing, angering the townspeople.
Discussion: I’m undecided on this holiday treat. Bart has ruined Christmas before, so it’s really retreading old ground, but at the same time it’s retracing the issue of family togetherness and the spirit of Christmas… until the townspeople steal everything from the family as payback for the money donated and spent.
The residents of Springfield are generally very kind, but also quick to react when there’s a scam going on. Scaaaaaam! Taking back the Simpsons’ possessions is a fitting way to end the episode; the other Christmas episodes end on that warm, fuzzy feeling one expects from Christmas themes. There’s nothing really wrong with that, and one could argue that the family running around fighting over a washcloth exemplifies the Christmas spirit “as long as you have your family!” but really, we know it’s all about the presents, especially when you’re a kid.
So Bart usually screws up Christmas, this time the whole family are feeling the pinch. They’re receiving hate mail, fruit thrown at their windows and graffiti on their car. This is somewhat unusual; usually Bart’s actions only affect the family. I’d expect Lisa to casually mention the Buddhist principles of happiness not coming from material possessions, but I guess the anger of losing a yellow sweater clouded her brain…