Thirty years ago today, December 17, 1989, “The Simpsons Christmas Special” aired for the first time. It was season one episode one. The thing that started it all. I watched that first episode. I’m not sure why. I was a freshman in high school. Fox was still a new network, and I didn’t watch anything else on Fox. I’m guessing a friend said I should check it out.
It’s a quality episode, especially for a pilot. I remember talking to my friends about it the next day, “Oww, quit it! Oww, quit it!. . .” and the “Moth” tattoo were favorite moments. But, I could never have imagined that it would still be going thirty years later.
It’s amazing how much stuck from that first episode. Homer says, “D’oh,” for the first time. We see the bear in Mr. Burns’ office. Stupid Flanders annoys Homer. There’s already a large extended community in Springfield in the premier. Sure, some things have changed. The animation got better, the voices took a little while to settle, and it’s less grounded in reality, but the essentials were there from the beginning.
The Simpsons have done plenty of holiday episodes over the last thirty years. They even have one in season 31. But none of them make it feel like Christmas the way that first one does. Here’s to thirty years with The Simpsons.