View Poll Results: How would you rate"'Tis The Fifteenth Season?"

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  • 5/5 - Nicer than a Christmas Flanders

    225 59.21%
  • 4/5 - Nicer than a Christmas Homer

    95 25.00%
  • 3/5 - Meh.

    38 10.00%
  • 2/5 - Worse than a Jimmy Stewart holiday special

    13 3.42%
  • 1/5 - Worse than Christmas prunes

    9 2.37%
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Thread: Rate & Review: "'Tis The Fifteenth Season" (FABF02)



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  1. #271
    Electrified Fooling Machine Mindy Simmons's Avatar
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    One of the better Christmas episodes.
    I was very surprised when I caught this one for the first time a few months ago. Good storyline, good characterizations, and several LOL moments. This is the most extensive use of TV parodies I've seen in a single episode of The Simpsons. The only joke I didn't like was Homer giving chloroform to Apu's kid during the Grinch parody. But even that was halfway redeemed by the fact that he did the same to the teddy bear.
    I liked the reversal of the Homer's -jealous-of-Flanders dynamic. And what do you know A rare decent ending!

    4+/5

  2. #272
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    best ep of the season
    sorry i am bad at spelling


    I'm just like Homer!
    I'm Homer, who are you? by NoHomers.net

    the simpsons is as good as ever

  3. #273


    Second best of Season 15. A-

  4. #274
    in the back of a pick-up Ryan's Avatar
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    Watched this as a Christmas treat today. I mean, damn it's good. I've written a thread about it before, but I want to encourage everyone to seek it out online or if you have the DVD it's on (Simpsons Christmas 2), watch it...
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  5. #275
    Food-Crazed Maniac Oh, that's raspberry!'s Avatar
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    Season 15 continues with a Christmas episode that doesn't dissapoint. In a nutshell, Homer acts selfishly by buying himself an expensive gift at the cost of a Christmas Tree. After watching several humorous spins on A Christmas Carol Homer sees the error of his ways and begins acting nicer than anyone in town. This upsets Ned Flanders who, as Nelson puts it, has had his position usurped. Ned tries to one up Homer several times which leads Homer to misinterpret advice from Lisa and steal the whole town's presents on Christmas Eve. In the end, Homer and Ned share the true meaning of the season and return the gifts.

    Although I summarized this episode much quicker than several others this season, this is clearly the best of the season so far. Aside from obviously strong characterizations all around we have several funny to hilarious jokes, parodies, and in-character moments. These include the California Prunes, Star Trek Christmas Carol, and a puppet Jimmy Stewart. Homer making Mr. Burns give more at church led to a great Burns line in, "Yes, I'm old!." Marge tearing up over being given the last porkchop was unexpected but very funny. Ned acknowledging a picture of Jesus in his house and later Rod or Todd yelling at fraternities to stay out of their medicine cabinet were also pretty great moments.

    Kudos to the staff for remembering Lisa's Buddhist turn and giving Homer a pretty good imaginary Buddha moment. The best part of the episode is likely Homer's Grinch parody which I wish would've been longer. Moleman being "saved" by wolves and Moe's annual suicide attempt round out a very funny episode. In terms of Christmas episodes I'd probably rank this 3rd, just behind Simpsons Roasting and Marge Be Not Proud. Still a great episode which deserves Season 15's first 5/5.

  6. #276


    I seen this episode from my Christmas 2 dvd. I always watch this episode every christmas since I've got the dvd. I loved this episode. Homer's version of the Grinch song was hilarious and I loved the Happy ending 4/5

  7. #277
    Junior Camper Mr.'s Avatar
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    Not the best episode but a Ok one.

    BTW -> This episode remind me of a friend who -- as I found out never read "Christmas Carol" or seen any of the adaptations and hadn't the smallest clue what is about. I'm still curious what her reaction would be If she saw/read it for the first time but it was funny to see Homer's reactions...

  8. #278


    3/5....good episode.

  9. #279
    Bake 'em away toys! The Wiggs's Avatar
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    Great episode from a great season. One of the best Christmas episodes of the series. 5/5

  10. #280
    Pin Pal alex_on_ice's Avatar
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    A pretty good episode. The beginning of the episode is a little bit slow but it gets a lot better once Homer decides to become a better person. The competition between Flanders and Homer is obviously very enjoyable. There are two very very funny bits at the end of the episode that are great: Hans Moleman trapped in the mountains and thinking that the wolves that are surrounding him are going to save him and Moe who ends up deciding not to commit suicide but falling off the building anyway.
    I also like the start off of the episode with Krusty the clown explaining why Kent Brockman isn't with Channel 6's crew.

  11. #281
    Administrator Sam's Avatar
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    Well, you guys are all voted 5/5 on this and the average for Miracle on Evergreen Terrace is 3/5. Damn. Still a good episode though. But overrated. 4/5.

  12. #282
    Stonecutter Blobulle's Avatar
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    This is my least favorite episode of the 15th season.
    2.5/5

  13. #283
    pushed a woman into 9/11 zach's Avatar
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    damn this is overrated.

  14. #284
    Space Coyote Lionheart's Avatar
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    Best episode of the 15th season, one of the best of the classic era, and in my top 100 overall. 5/5 A
    Season 26: Clown In The Dumps: C- | The Wreck of the Relationship: B- | Super Franchise Me: C+ | Treehouse of Horror XXV: B- | Opposites A-Frack: B- | Simpsonorama: C | Blazed and Confused: C- | Covercraft: B | I Won't Be Home For Christmas: B+ | The Man Who Came To Be Dinner: B | Bart's New Friend: B- | The Musk Who Fell To Earth: C+ | Walking Big and Tall: B- | My Fare Lady: B | The Princess Guide: C+ | Sky Police: B- | Waiting For Duffman: C | Peeping Mom: B-

    My Season Rankings: 4, 7, 5, 6, 8, 3, 2, 9, 1, 15, 14, 16, 10, 13, 21, 20, 19, 17, 25, 24, 23, 22, 12, 18, 11

  15. #285
    Administrator Sam's Avatar
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    Just read the Me Blog Write review. Damn, he really puts things in perspective. Changed to 3/5.

  16. #286
    coughing up snot Insomnia's Avatar
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    The second best X-mas episode in my opinon
    4/5
    Everything in this episode is pretty funny and I like how Homer isntt actually a jerk here, hes actually really trying to be good.
    For the most part all the jokes actually worked, but there were a couple of bad jokes.
    For some reason I cant anayize this episode very good

  17. #287


    I agree that this episode is a bit overrated (although I love Wiggum calling Moe a drama queen over another suicide attempt)
    Although I tend to disagree with the majority of fans on the Xmas episodes (I love She of Little Faith which isn't rated that highly)

    Flanders being jealous and trying to out-Santa Homer also seems out of character
    3/5

  18. #288
    A Lonely, Insignificant Speck Insanity Pepper's Avatar
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    Overrated. Both Flanders and Homer are out of character. Otherwise, though, it is a fairly solid episode. 6/10

  19. #289
    Pin Pal AdrenalinDragon's Avatar
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    Always found this episode really overrated. A few okay-ish jokes are present throughout, but I didn't like the Grinch parody and think the plot is much inferior to all Christmas episodes done before it.

    4/10
    My Top 100 Simpsons episodes

    My Simpsons season rankings (1-23):

    6 > 8 > 5 > 7 > 3 > 4 > 10 > 9 > 2 > 12 > 1 > 11 > 16 > 15 > 13 > 17 > 14 > 18 > 20 > 19 > 23 > 21 > 22

    Simon Era - Reiss Era - Mirkin Era - Oakley Era - Scully Era - Jean Era

  20. #290
    wanna live like common people Elliot76's Avatar
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    I always thought this was a hated episode and this is the first time I've check out the R&R for this episode.
    I was convinced I'd have to defend this underrated episode. However:

    Anyway, my favourite Christmas episode of all time and I don't even know why. It just clicks with me. (The series premier beats it on nostalgia but for rating the episode, this is top dog)
    I watch it every single Christmas, it's funny and has lots of memorable quotes, good emotion and "Get this, he learns a lesson!" (This is a quote but, Homer actually does...)

    Wonderful from hilarious start to heart-warming finish, a true post-classic in my eyes.
    5/5.
    "Maybe there is no moral. Maybe its just a bunch of stuff that happened."
    - The Simpsons

  21. #291
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    Probably my favorite of season 15. Grade: A

  22. #292
    To Professionalism! DarkDiamond's Avatar
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    Season 15's best episode. Homer, Ned and all the characters were great. The jokes were particularly clever. This was a great Christmas special. A+
    Zombie Simpsons - Season 26
    Clown in the Dumps - F The Wreck of the Relationship - F Super Franchise Me - D- Treehouse of Horror XXV - D Opposites A-Frack - D Simpsorama - D+ Blazed and Confused - D Covercraft - D I Won't Be Home for Christmas - D+ The Man Who Came to Be Dinner - C- Bart's New Friend - D The Musk Who Fell to Earth - F Walking Big & Tall - D

    Family Guy - Season 13
    The Simpsons Guy - B The Book of Joe - C- Baking Bad - C+ Brian the Closer - C Turkey Guys - B+ The 2000-Year-Old Virgin - F Stewie, Chris, & Brian's Excellent Adventure - B Our Idiot Brian - B- This Little Piggy - D Quagmire's Mom - C

  23. #293
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    One of the best post-classics and also most likely the best of season 15, hilarious through with a great plot, it has some mild problems so im not sure if i rate it a A+ but still a excellent episode. Grade: A

  24. #294
    Pin Pal wiley207's Avatar
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    Watching this one for the holiday season again...

    Yep, this is pretty much when people on the show started to notice what a Jerkass Homer could be!
    I do enjoy the "Christmas with the California Prunes" bit, and the talking astrolabe being promoted as "unnecessary!" The Christmas Convoy song was fun too.
    I liked Homer's fake "Woohoo! Maggie's talking!" and the astrolabe testing its' smoke alarm for the next three hours, even if it sounded like the meltdown warning at the SNPP (maybe it has multiple tones?)

    "The Year Santa Got Lost" was fun (they even included the same misfit toys as in the original "Rudolph!") and I LOVED "Mr. McGrew's Christmas Carol!" Probably because the previous week, I finally saw the real special for the first time (my dad and I now watch it every holiday season) so I immediately got the references, especially with the lightning revealing the name on the tombstone ala the real special.) And when Homer began realizing how selfish he was acting from watching the special (complete with Dan Castellaneta voicing Mr. McGrew), I love the profile shot of him sitting closer to the TV wrapped in his blanket before it gets to the graveyard scene.
    I really enjoyed how the Simpsons pointed out how regarding "A Christmas Carol," "TV writers have been milking that goat for years," which is very true, along with film screenwriters. (I got that saying in as well when I did a vlog of me as the Big Bad Wolf reviewing the "Mickey's Christmas Carol" LP record.) With that said, I enjoyed the "Family Matters" and "Star Trek" takes on the story.
    I also liked seeing Homer be generous to everyone to make up for his selfishness, with Lenny's photo cube with the sharp corners filed, giving Marge the last pork chop, and the backyard ice-skating rink. And I found Nelson claiming Ned's position had been usurped humorous.

    Kent Brockman's "Santa Claus is dead" fake-out report was pretty funny, along with the retouched photo of Homer and the imagine spot of the Buddah driving a red convertible. The whole "You're a Hero, Homer J." part was rather cliched, but I enjoyed the reactions to the town's presents being stolen. The fake Christmas star was also a nice touch (I like Moleman mistaking the wolves for rescue dogs, complete with that old Disney/Hanna-Barbera "howling wolf" stock sound effect). Santa's Little Helper returning gifts ala Max was cute.
    It was interesting how the standard post-1992 end credits theme started skipping ahead of the pizzicato intro, and as a result, the end of the theme didn't play over the start of the Gracie Films logo as it usually does. That gave the ending kind of an old-school flavor.

    It's also interesting to note how as with many of the show's stop-motion scenes, the "California Prunes" and "The Year Santa Got Lost" segments were produced by the Chiodo Bros, the same company responsible for effects such as Large Marge's freaky stop-motion face in "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure," the creatures and dinosaurs in the 1991 "Land of the Lost" and that "Theodore Rex" direct-to-video movie, along with the puppet for Salem the cat in "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" from 1998 to 2003.
    Last edited by wiley207; 12-18-2017 at 08:19 PM. Reason: correcting a typo

  25. #295
    Junior Camper mrserious's Avatar
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    Pretty good 3/5....there have been a lot better Christmas episodes though, like, "Marge not be proud" for instance.

  26. #296
    Junior Camper Dr. Bill Harford's Avatar
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    Very funny in places despite a middling first act and other obvious problems. Still, there are a lot of memorable, genuinely laugh-out-loud funny gags here. I'd say it's certainly a highlight of the Jean era, which may not seem like a particularly strong endorsement but still. B

  27. #297
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    (most of this was written last year, barring the climax which was written 12/17/18)

    'TIS THE FIFTEENTH SEASON
    written by: ho-ho-who cares
    directed by: fa-la-la-la-like i give a damn

    NOTES
    - heya kids! happy holidays! the season of giving and all so i figured why not give the simpsons review hungry VULTURES OF THIS GODFORSAKEN WASTELAND a little nibble in between reviewing Feminist Garbage! as such i'm resuming this purposefully exhausting nitpicky style of reviewing for the sake of having a little fun and changing the pace. but yes, christmas. i'm a fan. you? don't answer that, i wouldn't be able to hear you, but i'm gonna pretend you said yes, and i agree! it's dope as heck. i watch alot of the same specials yearly because they're jam packed with memories and warm fuzzies and each year i may find new things within them. alot of these specials are great, some of them are bad, and some i waver fervently on. that's where we arrive today, at the intersection of "eh" and "eh (but a good eh, like a mildly impressed "eh" like "eh it dont beat most things but for the holidays its a nice lil pick me up that gets the cheer flowing just enough til the egg nog kicks in)". s15 of the simpsons is bad. duh. yet some really like it or insist at the very least its the very edge of the precarious cliff before the eternal dive of s16 onward. me, id say s15 isn't so much before the dive as it is the point where you can't emotionally except how quickly you went from a lovely saunter to careening into the abyss, its a space of firm denial, but at times there are bits and pieces in the season that affirm one's comforts in this Silver Era buffoonery, and at tiiiiimes i've told myself this is one of them. is it though? well truth be told i did about all the reviewing i could handle of explaining why the simpsons is good or bad barring special exceptions, in the event of reviewing another bad jean ep i wouldn't wanna just go about the same bullshit for my sake or yours. instead, as a professional holly jolly lunatic i will be reviewing this episode on one factor alone: Christmas Spirit! i will be obnoxiously analyzing every inkling of spirit or lack thereof through the duration of this thing, examining whether or not it deserves to even once enter your holiday special rotation, even for a quick laugh or eeeeven for a "cheesy but well meaning" special, a category very common to the season. so enough dilly dallying, ive got my christmas colors on, red in the face and green with envy of those spending this time in ways that don't involve s15 simpsons, but i do it because i care, and nobody should go wanting in these wonderful times. so lets get Crackin (chestnut ref)

    - Alright so here's how this is gonna go. I'm going to keep a total score throoughout, with each moment small and large that does directly relate to the episode's interpretation of the holiday season coming into play with regards to increasing and decreasing the tally. to keep it simple, the maximum score is 100, and to keep it forgiving but not toooo forgiving i will begin the show at 75 Christmas Spirit Points. the criteria for what consitutes Christmas Spirit will vary based on my own feelings and for each positive or negative act in the episode i will deduct or add points at any given time, a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 in either direction at a time, again forgiving i'd say but not too forgiving so as to give the episode more credit than it deserves. if you feel any of my criteria for point increase or deduction is unfair or ridiculous just bear in mind, i know way more about christmas spirit than you. k? k!

    - anime couch gag. minus 1 point for making no effort to create a holiday couch gag here, i know they tend to loop couch gags quite a bit instead of making a new one for every single outing but in the event of holidays i find it to be a bit unacceptable. 74 points!

    - the episode begins with the channel 6 Family wishing the denizens of springfield a happy thanksgiving. 1 point for this opening as i think beginning with thanksgiving is a great way to signal christmas's presence in a signficant way, i also like the turkey with the CHANNEL 6 logo on it, not so much the kent brockman cardboard cutout joke if only because they explain it. as a background gag its kinda funny, all these other weirdos gathered around the table but here's a specific Kent cutout with fork and knife like he has to be the one to look like he will cut the turkey when he isn't even there, but pointing it out kinda dulls the humor it has as a sight gag. 75 points!

    - krusty begins yelling at the viewers that now that the holiday season has been rung in, its time to begin Shopping, specifically for krusty brand products. as satire this is point blank and obvious, if its intent is to skewer the dubious nature of christmas' veil of sentimentality its a very thin one and its a bit of a crummy attitude to take, buuuut it is a fitting one from krusty, who is definitely the type to indulge the holidays for how it treats his wallet. an issue to waver on to be sure, ill just remain neutral for the sake of progressing. we remain at 75 points!

    - the kids begin putting up christmas lights on their bushes as "its the most wonderful time of the year" plays. christmas montage? 1 point! another point too for their creative way of Lassoing the lights onto the bushes, in a world of more christmas content than you can count finding new ways to present the decoration aspect is welcome. sadly i must deduct both of these points and One more Immediately as following this cute display homer instantly lassos two birds, yanking them and breaking their necks. murder is just not festive, except if tim allen is doing it to santa himself. back to 74 points with you!

    - marge puts terrible christmas sweaters on the pets, and homer. 1 point for christmas sweaters as they always add a nice visual flourish to the aesthetic of the season, even if i am iffy on dog clothing and also homer trying to gnaw his shirt off, especially because the scene lasts too long. back up to 75 points!

    - power plant MERRY XMAS sign has an atom for the X in XMAS. another point for creativity, though the rest of the power plant's decorating leaves alot to be desired, though i suppose thats to be expected, workplaces dont seem to go too crazy with this sorta thing and do it almost obligatorily. 76 points!

    - carl gives homer a dvd player and magnum p.i. with audio commentary for secret santa. these are very much xmas style gifts especially the likes of which you'd get when you're older without being the joyless obligatory clothing and tools scenarios, maybe i also just relate too much to getting dvds for christmas for the sake of audio commentary. still, a point for carl's thoughtful gifts. sadly once again its time to Dock this point as homer decides to give lenny Certs for the holidays cuz he's a selfish douchebag. its also just kinda a cliche at this point, the thoughtless gift not-giver, its not even just a holiday thing. im sure this will set up homer fucking up the holidays - ive seen this ep quite a few times but i can never remember it beyond the Gift homer gets himself but uh ahead of myself so lets resume. still at 76!

    - actually while homer's present may be rather rotten, the point of christmas is never to take the low road of the ones trying to spoil it's wonder through their own complacency, so lenny's "this gift STINKS" is no way to treat the situation, righteously annoyed or otherwise, so im docking another point for the Conditional cheer exhibited by the hypocrite lenny. 75 points!

    - burns' thoughtless gifts may not be cheery but they are suitable to both burns specifically and the nature of the christmas bonus in general. jelly of the month club and all. neither adding nor detracting for this but its an accurate touch. cathy joke is terrible though, as if i needed tress' voice coming out a female burns lookalike. bleh.

    - homer uses the joe dimaggio baseball card he received from burns to get money for christmas. aside from actually presenting homer using his brain, he's also presenting a momentary selflessness where he's considering the importance of making the holiday great for the family. a nice move for the character to counteract the perhaps guilt after carl's accusation of extreme selfishness. one point, up to 76 though im pretty certain this will be tentative.

    - giving a whopping 3 points for the frighteningly accurate will vinton claymation homage here, the work put into the animation is pretty uncanny, the music is befitting the old raisins segments from that christmas special, even if O Pruney Night is really unfunny but Christmas Spirit dang ya! its also just like the very kinda thing you'd watch during these times, or i would anyway. everyone barring homer who's out and making Dough is gathered watching too. as a moment of reflecting the holidays its pretty accurate and seems like a love letter to a nice oddball corner of holiday animation thats as quirky as it is memorable. 79 points!

    - lisa then says "this is offensive to christians and prunes". shut up lisa.

    - the family heads to the fancy schmancy mall the Springfield Heights Promenade as "silver and gold" plays. another standard of the holidays eh? i love hearing them as much as the..well actually i find many dont like hearing them. i do though, theyre warm and fuzzy and all. yet, at some point it becomes a bit suspicious if you keep shoving them in, especially when they seem not to suit the tone. if you need to use old materials to insist the christmassyness(sp?) of your special on me it may be a sign that everything good here doesn't belong to you. maybe im being harsh though, i do love seeing different forms of entertainment use old songs in new contexts or just with different characters doing the christmas thing, so ill stay neutral on it for now.

    - homer passes out his newfound fortune to the family to buy gifts for each other then a great big absurd christmas tree. cue the various vignettes of what each family member desires. some of this is ultimately useless, like bart's whole bit is just him playing a video game finding out its educational then tossing his controller at the game, which is just on display at..prodigy barn? the fuck. i so wanna take more points off understand if i was rating this on comedy this would be wayyy low this episode is not funny at all and if you need to laugh or cant stand the jean cringes sorry this isn't gonna do you any favors but gosh Dangit that's not why we are here! there isn't alot to say about these scenes though except they feel a bit incomplete, we see bart buy Nothing, marge only buys homer big underwear. these are not festive scenes! you're wasting the idea here, taking one point away for this insistence to do typical ass long-winded jokes that have nothing to really do with the holidays and the gifts of such a time. 78 points!

    - homer gets marge and bart Keyrings. thoughtless gifts yes but he seems genuinely happy about these gifts, like hes actually done a good job. thought that counts and all, lets give him the benefit of the doubt and believe he really thought they'd treasure his keyrings. one point, 79!

    - however! then he sees an...astrolabe. i have never heard of these things besides this simpsons episode, like nowhere else. this episode focusing on this weird bauble always threw me off, why would homer even want this? seems to me its just because its so Unnecessary, and his conscious noting of the gift being much more gaudy and absurd than what he got the others drains the old sentiment to me, and begins us down a less Cheery path. back to 78 with ye!

    - some of this stuff is hard to quantify Christmas Wise and is just jean era stupidity. homer has a moment of reservation knowing his remaining money was necessary to get the family christmas tree, but changes his mind because this Thing knows margaret cho's birthday. jokes are hard aren't they. taking two points off for this, not because its a bad joke but because it creates a bad reason for homer's conflict. being bad at christmas is one thing but homer's stupidity and thoughtlessness being so forced does it no favors and makes the story less engaging. im all for watching someone embrace christmas and escape their own self indulgence, and theres so very many ways you could do this with homer, so this is pathetically lazy. 76 points!

    - oh boy okay, so with two dollars left to get a tree, homer decides to veer into Scary Part Of Town as Christmas Convoy plays. christmas convoy alone loses three points, because its a terrible stupid ass parody. christmas parodies should have something to do with christmas, not just inserting christmas into...yknow forgotten 70s songs about trucking and radios. the hell. i see why they were using traditionals now. as they drive through this unpleasant corner of town we see gil hang himself, thats Murder, three points docked again, and he hangs himself with christmas lights which is unpleasant and a poor attempt at subverting christmas into dark comedy so im taking one more point for that. so thats seven down in one bad scene, 69 points! nice.

    - oh eugh and a snowman with a hatchet in it, and blood coming out? blood you say, is there a person in the snowman, is this for whom the sleigh bell tolls! taking another two points for this icky sight, your oh so clever Edgy Christmas jokes make me vomit. fuck bad santa. 67 points!

    - i wont take any more points for homer's selfish nature as negative characterizations for the sake of turning it around in a christmassy way is a tale as old as time and those are often some of my favorites. i will however remove a point for him insisting his present for himself will make him so happy he's less Abusive to the rest of them. abuse is bad and not a fun thing to think about and why is our protagonist so constantly unlikeable? 66 points!

    - "cmon marge im not the only selfish person here! YOU have to get your hair cut at Supercuts. I guess Regularcuts just isn't good enough for you!" boy i sure do wanna take points for bad jokes that have nothing to do with christmas cuz yikes. homer is a dick here but deflecting the notion that one needs improvement when they're clearly in the wrong is not unfamiliar trajectory for these stories so ill leave it be.

    - the unpleasantness of the conflict doesn't really give us a reason to root for homer's turn around however, he does seem a bit too aware of his bad deed. stories like that of scrooge work because he was entrenched in life long bad decisions and behavior that have isolated him from the feelings hes refused to let himself have, and the story allows for avatars of unconditional kindness and warmth that represent the holiday, though its also not afraid to leave him shaking in his boots to get his attention. its all in love even when its tough love though. marge isn't in the wrong here but painting her disgust with his actions as some boring marriage crisis doesn't really work to me, it feels too typical with a thin christmas overlay like those themes dont really matter. its very hard to give the simpsons credit for a tale of homer's selfish deeds as a christmas tale when its every other episode. still im not sure what the right way to do this is, its not a bad framework, homer is thoughtless and buys himself a nice gift because of that while neglecting his initial promises and rendering them insincere, providing evidence that his appreciation for the holidays is shallow and self-absorbed. sure, but the writing just isn't good enough to make homer seems Unlikeable in a way that provides he's making mistakes he doesn't realize or evidence he's deflecting from guilt. he just seems like a brat. he sees right in front of him his mistake but just wants to move on and get away with it. its not a particularly profound tale so i dont expect much but its just written with way too much emphasis on homer knowing hes a dick and wanting a pass for it.

    - another christmas parody on tv, this time its The Year Santa Got Lost, a rankin/bass take with castellaneta doing an Okayish jimmy stewart impression as the mailman from santa claus is comin' to town. the designs aren't very rankin/bass, the mailman's eyes are more Buggy like a stop motion family guy figure of a character from those specials, though the rest of the characters in the scene are toys so its harder to totally compare them. the aesthetic isn't tooo far off, the colors are all very soft and easy on the eyes, prominent baby blues and snowy trees spread outside the windows, it gives off a similar vibe to those specials visually. in terms of the scene's writing, uh...i have no idea whats going on here, it sure don't feel like rankin/bass. i mean its a little awkward and unsettling so it kinda feels like rankin/bass, but not enough for points. then homer flips to MR MCGREWS CHRISTMAS CAROL, but before we see that, homer neglects his father outside for comedy, and then knocks a bunch of snow onto him. insanely not christmassy behavior, three points off for this. 63 points!

    - so yeah, mr...mcgrew. siiiigh this show. the style of this is accurate, i.e. shitty, to the hanna barbera jagged, limited movement, flavorless background qualities of the original. should i give props for that? i'm gonna not, its basically an excuse to do less work. the "writing" if you can call it that - place magoo/mcgrew in a locale and have him be just incredibly blind for comedy, boom done wheres my check - is technically accurate, up until the furnace bit which they opt to end with a castelanetta scream that is totally ill fitting to the character. they seem a bit unwilling to commit to anything in these little tv special bits so its more difficult to appreciate them. i'd like to say homer realizing his parallel in mcgrew and sitting to watch the conclusion the scrooge tale to understand his own failings would be a nice enough if obvious trajectory to lean into his redemption but its cut hard by a crummy joke about how death should "take tiny tim" instead. i sure do love when my protagonists wish death on a character who is the literal embodiment of good. if that aint three points off i really dont know what is. 60 points!

    - sidebar: the gravestone says EBENEZER MCGREW. what i said about not committing, yeah still that. "unloved by al" is a pretty good joke though, so hey props?

    - DESPITE IT BEING A PRETTY FUNNY IF EASY HOMER IS DUMB JOKE "unloved by al/all" only further serves to make homer's reformation continue to seem entirely self-absorbed. a christmas carol is all about a man realizing the effect he had on a world he intended to detach from, and he goes from being selflish for his self preservation to selfless in sacrifice of that within a deepened faith in humanity, which makes him feel better because he is ultimately a more altruistic soul and a beacon of all he has learned. its a pretty good tale, is my point. homer here is just worried people wont adore him anymore. its typical writing for his character at this point but its hard to want him to succeed when you rush through the scrooge parallel just for his ultimate worry to be he's not popular enough, which has nothing really to do with the astrolabe anyway? in fact scrooge has very little to do with homer's misdeeds anyway come to think, but i at least get why they chose it to maintain the episode's tv special motifs and use the past to inform homer's decision-making as a man who worships the big glowey box. cool, fine, but even if the whole point is Oh Its Funny Cuz Homer Is Selfish And Doesn't Really Learn Anything, what am i left with? the storytelling doesn't have to make him likeable intriniscally to function as a christmas story but it does have to make some sense with its parallels, and ultimately they're kinda opposites. scrooge is a stingy miser who hoards his gold, homer is an impulsive ninny who splurges for himself, the connection is there in selfishness but homer has no deep seated intimate flaws that make him this way he's just kinda a dick cuz its easy to write i guess.

    - lisa explains what a christmas carol is to homer. everyone knows what a christmas carol is. everyone. all humans. i promise you this. it is fucking everywhere, there are many many adaptations, humans have done it, cartoons have done it, puppets have done it, its been british, american, its been a musical, its been done as comedy, and played straight, written deeply or truncated for short form convenience, its even been radio plays as early as 1901 and new versions of it still crop up from time to time - family guy did one this year. it was watchable i guess? my point is shut up lisa goddamn. i can't take points for this but i sure can HARUMPH loudly and wake the neighbors, and it will be on you lisa. it will be on you.

    - okay so homer uses the lessons of christmas content to take in and value the meaningful themes of the holiday, to become a Good Boi. i wont yet give points for this til i see the shows idea of this but its a start cuz the last few minutes have been woefully neutral. i do relate with it tho, theres a heap of different specials, tv episodes and movies that have provided me little nuggets of resonate wisdom that all refers back to the ultimate magic and meaning of the holiday season, ive definitely felt inspired to be a better person by something as simple as a christmas special. reminds me what mindset i want to maintain yearly, what values and feelings i wanna spread and which id like to extinguish or control better. i get it, these things can make you reflect in the right moments, they sure catch me when im vulnerable. but lets see how homer's good ass deeds play out.

    - homer gives a bunch of his old clothes to the homeless, a nice gesture even though they seem to not enjoy the scent of the pants. is this a Sacrifice for homer however? a christmas carol accentuates scrooge's changes by inverting his behavior towards money that broke him away from the world to allow him to act as a substantial benefit, the man who feared the world saving a boy's life, buying big fat dinners, and just generally sharing his wealth with the world in glee, making him feel all the richer. its a good story you guys! homer giving away his clothes is nice but the man wears the same thing daily, its not the most notable sacrifice on his part. granted though he does not have wealth to share. so what would he do? share the astrolabe? im not sure. lets watch onward. for now, a charitable single point. 61!

    - homer gives lenny a photocube - is this a thing? - and besides jabbing him in the eye with it, this is actually a gesture in service of mending a selfish and thoughtless mistake previously established by improving his gift for secret santa. i will add another Darn point for this. 62!

    - then homer gives back in the most notable way so far, as he gives his last porkchop to marge. first off homer giving away food but also giving back specifically to his family, the very people he has most disappointed with his astrolabe purchase. still i'd think this plot would be more focused on giving back to them but the family incident is the more the straw that breaks the camel's back i suppose. his charities do begin to seem increasingly anecdotal to a tenuous theme tho, he builds a skating rink for the town in his backyard. well that would cost money yes, which does address him being selfless with his dough, BUT WHERE did he get the cash for this. he couldn't afford a tree DUE to his astrolabe purchase but now he can swing a whole damn ass ice rink. yes i know i know the simpsons does not really consider the titular family's budget at this juncture but these are the sorts of scenes that just begin to feel a bit random. it doesn't help that homer presents a sort of smugness to his niceties, like he's looking for something in return. i hate to keep referring to scrooge but seriously scrooge's turn is amazing because its so different, he goes from bitter and detached to uprooting for the first time in years his purity and youthfulness, and its so overwhelmingly amazing he becomes almost hysterically joyous, almost scary in moments but if only because of how abrupt it is, but it would have to be, its all slowly brewing then the resolution and relief and realization all kick in together. homer's conflict just maybe isn't strong enough to build it on the foundation of the scrooge tale, homer wasting 20 dollars on a dumb ass thing then doing random good deeds to make up for it just feels a bit hollow. scrooge feels joy because he realizes the world around him is joy if you let it in. homer feels duty bound to be Good almost as a karmic debt exclusively and just to his own ends. this feels a bit too sitcom and as such seems to lose the plot on the christmas allegory its set up for itself, its just not strong enough and has no real themes being followed through. i would go so far as to say despite wintery themes to things like the ice rink the christmas theme is becoming increasingly incidental. it takes place at xmas, its about homer bettering himself, but they dont seem to come together. sad. ultimately this in my view basically kills the potential mood and themes so im docking three points. 59!

    - it definitely doesn't help the way it begins painting this rivalry between ned and homer like they are competing for the position of Town Good Guy. this definitely defies the christmassy nature, painting ned as a character who loses his identity when someone bests his typical friendly gestures detaches it from the very nature of being a holiday season sentiment. christmas is in the air, its something you grab ahold of and feel and spread to everyone, the way this episode takes the "Nice" character idea like a trophy being passed around defeats the whole point. its also totally boring and generic jealousy trope shit but id let that slide if there was some sense that this wasnt just really petty and unpleasant for an attempt at a christmas tale. SCROOGE - get used to it i guess - was not the town nice guy, he was the last remaining grump in a world of joy, all that happened was he opened himself to the feeling in the air and instead of being suffocated by it he became wrapped in it like a warm blanket and felt its aura as he embodied what everyone else is. its not a contest and theres no Most Jolly or whatever because that implies you own the feeling or can take it away from someone else, as though christmas joy or giving is finite. its really odd but i guess it just feels that way cuz they made a seasonal show any old damn sitcom bullshit. three more points off for this lazy drivel. 56!

    - kent brockman tells children santa claus is dead, a mislead but still goodness me no. a point off! 55!

    - "holding families at nicepoint". just a reminder that this episode is really unfunny. cool? cool.

    - so now flanders does nice things, out of petty jealousy to prove he's the best. remember homer and astrolabe and his family and all that. yeah. this show has attention deficit disorder. no use being redundant but yeah these scenes ring insanely hollow, it just uses christmas as a framework and thats about it. see thats the thing, the window dressing doesn't always cut it. oh i love the christmas aesthetic but dont just show me presents and santa hats and go HUH HUH?? CHRISTMAS RIGHT?? cuz those symbols are not empty of context and i will not be fooled into giving credit when they seem so interchangable. objects of christmas value dont mean much without all that christmas really represents, so seeing presents being passed out spitefully uh yeah doesn't really do the heart any good now does it.

    - homer now consciously doing the exact same thing erasing any potential ambiguity that his "kindness" is a ploy to look really good to the town and be loved superficially. so very not the meaning of christmas, three more points away with ye! 52! dropping fast and its no wonder this shit just totally lost all of its momentum towards having any spirit, if anything that feels too high but will be fair and gauge the moments as they come.

    - lisa says people feel christmas has become too materialistic so homer interprets that as steal everyone's presents to save them from their greed. so now its the grinch. goodness fucking gracious. surely they could create one single thread and work with that? is that so hard. technically this is still him trying to best flanders but its all built on misunderstanding lisa's idea of a good deed which will tank him. whats the lesson though? this doesn't really present the potential for turning homer's overt giving around, you could almost save homer/flanders conflict by addressing the fact that christmas is indeed not to be won or to give you the glory but to spread it to everyone, having homer do something so absurdly generous that it's costly to him somehow. nah though just here we see hes an idiot and is about to steal presents. the ensuing grinch "parody" is basically the same scenes from the original but yknow not animated well, and with dan singing terribly and not really clever lyrics. i am choosing to interpret this as a disrespect for the source material and lazy lifting thereof, so im removing another point for this. 51! grinch if you wanna grinch but ive seen the grinch everyone has, these homages are starting to get lazier and lazier.

    - homer chloroforms a child. what do you think. 48.

    - okay so there is a subversion to the grinch bit in that homer does it out of his hope for freeing them but they end up pissed christmas was stolen, its literally the inverse. miiiildly clever but the issue is its all so tacked on. this story wasnt the grinch until the very end so its hard to really appreciate, and its still trying to be the scrooge parallel too. its all very jumbled together.

    - jokes about nelson's dad abandoning him. happy holidays. 46.

    - so we approach our climax as any good holiday special does: with our lovable protagonist being pelted furiously with snowballs by an angry mob because he stole their presents. god bless us everyone. thankfully, the episode is almost over so homer pulls the story of jesus straight from his bulbous jaundiced ass because christ is the great plot untangler! forget all those other frameworks and wrapping them up, the new framework is that any attempt at celebrating christmas that forgoes the non-Mas part doesnt matter, what Christmas is really about is that big twinkling plot convenience in the sky. there is....no way to accept this as anything but pure cop-out. maybe, MAAAAYBE if ned had maintained a more altruistic understanding of the source of his christly behaviors and holiday generosity that he could spread on over to homer, who for all his overzealous searching for the greatest gift he can give people to be King Khristmas, fails to realize the simple truth of Christmas' value. no though, it quickly becomes a pissing contest then forgets one side of the equation for a limp parody. all you really had to do was have someone else point out the christmas star (or well moleman's flare, which ok that bit's pretty funny. "oh good, rescue dogs!"), maybe marge, or lisa even tho she's buddhist now so i dunno where she stands on all of this. also the stealing presents thing isn't given time to grow or become anything else so its of little use beyond an belaboured reference. i know this is all over the map but this climax leaves so much just dangling in the wind and its really hard to attempt to lasso it all together without breaking some necks. also a moe suicide joke to wrap things up. yeesh. this ending actually makes the point system so hard to maintain with any feeling that it matters, because for all my effort, this ending reminded me that any matter you see is arbitrary, because well..this is jean simpsons.

    ok let me do a simple comparison. simpsons roasting on an open fire. that's a great episode! for many reasons, but for this case, most importantly, for just one. homer in this instance is also down on his financial luck, woeful and certain he's gonna ruin christmas, but his characterization is consistent, his financial woes are consistent, his understanding is consistent, and it's all really easy to follow and understand while being sophisticated and human. hell the episode doesn't even feel the need to assert it's point with no tact, it uses santa's little helper to make it's point, that a bevy of gifts can't beat a sweet hearted sentiment. it's also brimming with all that christmas magic that these silly little points are made of, but you know what really holds it together? sincerity. i really did want to rate TIS THE FIFTEENTH SEASON completely on these terms, i did my best, and it really did seem possible, but when i hit that ending something happened. i smacked my jolly face into a wall of humbug, no even worse, because humbug suggests a wall that can be broken down, a scrooge that can be made the real richest man in town, but the climax to this episode doesnt have any interest in being figured out, its a true "just a series of things that happened" episode, and those are fine in the right contexts, but no not here. the simpsons at its best is many things, its biting satirical, its excessively witty, its stunningly quotable, and its able to tackle a massive variety of episode ideas and motifs, but at the end of the day, when it still counted, it was sincere. sincerely sweet, sincerely bitter, sincerely sad, sincerely addressing whatever it was with all of its multi-faceted heart. sincerity has many values, especially in a world that's taken a big fatal bite of the irony apple, but just on a clinical, storytelling front, it is IMPERATIVE to tell a christmas story like this. if you don't buy your own premise, if you don't maintain your characters with an honesty, and if you don't understand your own point, then instead of a neat pretty bow on top, you'll just have your product extraneously mummified in too much tape and ribbon to want to bother with when you can already guess that what's inside isn't worth the effort. the simpsons used to be a show that knew what it was, and when you know what you are, you can really do anything, you can push your characters to the very fringes of their being and come back a-ok, you can dive into the bleak ugliness of internal frailties and still manage to resurface. christmas is many things but the big fat sappy syrupy word that wraps it all together is of course, LOVE. and for all my efforts i don't feel that the rating here matters as much as i wanted to, because while there may be holiday-mimicking moments, they are but fierce indifference in a heart-shaped mask. the window dressing adorns the landscape, but the love ain't here.


  28. #298
    Stonecutter ComicBookGal's Avatar
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    I actually revisited this episode this morning, yes that Astrolab was a stupid purchase but key rings? what the hell homer, that's worse than the clorets mints. yeah I could easily hear Castellaneta as McGrew

    I think Flanders jealousy stems from when Homer got praise from Lovejoy (because come on let's face it, Flanders so desperate for Lovejoy's attention the same way Smithers gets jealous when it comes to Burns)

    this isn't really among my top 5 favourite Simpsons Christmas episodes top ten maybe

    Jerkass Homer didn't have to come out to play but he didn't have to overcompensate either
    Last edited by ComicBookGal; 04-11-2020 at 02:57 AM.
    Simpsons Comics 1993-2018

  29. #299
    Junior Camper Captain Wacky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foose View Post
    ok let me do a simple comparison. simpsons roasting on an open fire. that's a great episode! for many reasons, but for this case, most importantly, for just one. homer in this instance is also down on his financial luck, woeful and certain he's gonna ruin christmas, but his characterization is consistent, his financial woes are consistent, his understanding is consistent, and it's all really easy to follow and understand while being sophisticated and human. hell the episode doesn't even feel the need to assert it's point with no tact, it uses santa's little helper to make it's point, that a bevy of gifts can't beat a sweet hearted sentiment. it's also brimming with all that christmas magic that these silly little points are made of, but you know what really holds it together? sincerity. i really did want to rate TIS THE FIFTEENTH SEASON completely on these terms, i did my best, and it really did seem possible, but when i hit that ending something happened. i smacked my jolly face into a wall of humbug, no even worse, because humbug suggests a wall that can be broken down, a scrooge that can be made the real richest man in town, but the climax to this episode doesnt have any interest in being figured out, its a true "just a series of things that happened" episode, and those are fine in the right contexts, but no not here. the simpsons at its best is many things, its biting satirical, its excessively witty, its stunningly quotable, and its able to tackle a massive variety of episode ideas and motifs, but at the end of the day, when it still counted, it was sincere. sincerely sweet, sincerely bitter, sincerely sad, sincerely addressing whatever it was with all of its multi-faceted heart. sincerity has many values, especially in a world that's taken a big fatal bite of the irony apple, but just on a clinical, storytelling front, it is IMPERATIVE to tell a christmas story like this. if you don't buy your own premise, if you don't maintain your characters with an honesty, and if you don't understand your own point, then instead of a neat pretty bow on top, you'll just have your product extraneously mummified in too much tape and ribbon to want to bother with when you can already guess that what's inside isn't worth the effort. the simpsons used to be a show that knew what it was, and when you know what you are, you can really do anything, you can push your characters to the very fringes of their being and come back a-ok, you can dive into the bleak ugliness of internal frailties and still manage to resurface. christmas is many things but the big fat sappy syrupy word that wraps it all together is of course, LOVE. and for all my efforts i don't feel that the rating here matters as much as i wanted to, because while there may be holiday-mimicking moments, they are but fierce indifference in a heart-shaped mask. the window dressing adorns the landscape, but the love ain't here.
    *slow clap*

    Wow... this is actually a pitch-perfect summarization of the Jean era's greatest problems, chiefly the general lack of heart and trust invested into both the story and the audience. Sure, numerous Jean-era episodes will pull a 'sentimental' moment out for a climax, but it typically feels extremely empty because they clearly seem to utilize it as a means of distracting the audience instead of investing the narrative groundwork into actually earning it. Resembling a stereotypical 'emotional' scene with dialogue following that image doesn't cut it, particularly with a show once possessing such earnest wit as classic-era OFF.

  30. #300
    newb Alfred's Avatar
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    4/5. Thought this was better than the other Christmas episodes I've seen tbh, the storyline in general was pretty interesting. Always like the episodes where Flanders ends up acting out of character beacuse of Homer's antics.



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