|A new member of the family|
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
December 17, 1989 is a day that changed pop culture forever. It was the first time a full length version of The Simpsons aired, sparking what has become one of the longest running television shows ever. As of this writing in 2013, The Simpsons is still going strong. Since Christmas was just days away, the first episode revolves around the holiday.
I was a junior in high school when the show debuted. I had been a fan of the shorts on The Tracy Ullman Show and when I heard the animated family was going to get its own show, I was more than excited. I loaded my trusty VCR that night and recorded the episode. I instantly became hooked and ended up doing the same thing each week for years.
Officially titled "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", the episode is also referred to as "The Simpsons Christmas Special." Viewers get an expanded look at the four fingered, yellow residents of Springfield USA during the show. Other characters like Barney, Moe, and Principal Skinner are also introduced to viewers.
Homer puts his money on a dog known as Santa's Little Helper, which loses the race and gets disowned in the process. Because he's a lovable loser like Homer and Bart, they take the pooch home, thus creating the ultimate Christmas gift for the family. It's a touching episode and a reminder that Christmas isn't about what you get, it's about what you give.
In the years that followed the creators would do other Christmas episodes. They don't do them every year, and while funny, I don't think any of them hold a candle to that first episode. This one holds a special place in my memory, partly because it was the first, but also because of the message and the unconditional love the family has for one another, with the exception of Homer and Patty and Selma.