Simpsons’ Christmas Stories
Couch gag: A newspaper swirls to a stop with the headline: Couch Gag Thrills Nation
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Synopsis: Homer re-tells the Christmas story in church; Grampa and Mr Burns are stranded on an island and Santa Claus drops by; Moe is trying to kill himself while Homer looks for last minute gifts for Marge.
Discussion: I like these episodes which have three segments. By necessity, the writing needs to be tight and without added fluff.
The First D’oh-El Rev Lovejoy is unable to give the Christmas sermon (due to a terrible accident on his train set) so gives the job over to Ned, who faints at the sight of his own blood after a paper cut. Thus Homer takes the reins and regales the story of the first Christmas. It’s sweet and to the point while still incorporating classic Simpsons humour.
I Saw Grampa Cussing Santa Claus is my least favourite of the three segments. Grampa tells of a time, in WWII, when he and Mr Burns were stranded on an island and Santa Claus was shot down by Burns, but survives and promises to come back and rescue them. He never does. After Grampa’s story, Santa comes to the Simpsons’ house and tells Grampa that his long-lost brother Cyrus is alive and living in Tahiti. Apart from the the WTF? factor, We’ve already seen rivalry between Burns and Grampa (way back in the Hellfish ep) and this doesn’t add to it. Plus war stories aren’t very interesting to me anyway, and shooting reindeer (even magical ones) just isn’t very nice.
The Nutcracker… Sweet is largely set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker after Lisa mentions the music is now in the public domain. It’s cute and very sweet but Moe trying to kill himself is nasty and weird.
Overall, it’s an above average episode and a really fun Christmas ep as well.