Merry Christmas everyone! Or close enough! And to celebrate this year we’re given four whole segments instead of the paltry three that Halloween gets. Plus, we even get a frame story. It’s a Christmas miracle! The episode opens up with Marge struggling to get some decorations up on Christmas Eve, and we quickly see that the rest of the family is hardly in the Christmas spirit. They’re all complaining and being unpleasant, and it really bums Marge out. She tries giving them a lecture, but Bart is busy planning on shooting Santa and Lisa is busy whining about the tree they cut down. So Marge gives up and everyone goes to sleep, letting us get a peak into their dreams.
Our first story follows Bart, who is sleeping in the living room so that he can ambush and shoot Santa. Apparently he’s asked for a dirtbike for several years, and wants things to get dirty now. But as he’s sitting there he’s suddenly summoned outside where a magical train is ready to take him to the North Pole. Bart meets Otto, who is driving the train, and after giving the train plenty of marijuana they’re able to fly up to the magical North Pole. Which is a serious hellhole. The whole place is like a burned out industrial zone, and everyone working there seems incredibly depressed. But Bart is able to get a job in the wrapping room, where he’s working with elf Milhouse and Nelson, since everyone else got laid off. But Bart has some pretty innovative wrapping ideas, and he’s quickly promoted out of the wrapping room. He then gets placed in a room inspecting faulty toys, and finds ways to still move the broken toys, earning himself another promotion. This continues until Bart becomes a Vice President at ClausCo, and gets an office near Santa himself. Which is when we figure out his real plan. He’s done all of this to get close enough to Santa to kill him for the dirtbike incident. However, when Bart storms into Santa’s office (here looking like Krusty) he’s shocked at what he finds. It’s a rundown little office where Santa is clearly cutting corners. Apparently things aren’t going well for ClausCo, what with the business model all revolving around a cookie-based economy, and it’s just a serious bummer. Bart ends up getting so depressed that he decides to leave Santa to his life, and returns back to Springfield. Which is just what Santa wanted, because it was all a scam! But Bart doesn’t see that.
Next up we have Lisa, who is busy fuming in her room over the fact that no one else seems bothered that people kill so many trees for Christmas. She ends up falling asleep and being thrown back to 1944 where the people of Springfield are dealing with the strain of World War II. Turns out that Marge has gone to fight in the war, and Homer is staying home with the kids, working with some riveters. Homer’s doing the best he can, and ends up bringing home a freshly cut-down tree to give the family. And 1940’s Lisa is not pleased. She has a huge freak-out about the presence of a tree, and yells at Homer. But not for the reasons that contemporary Lisa does. This Lisa hates trees because Marge was shipped out last Christmas while she was buying a tree with Lisa, and now she has a serious problem with trees in general. And, to make matters worse, as they’re arguing about the tree they get a telegram saying that Mage is missing in action. This causes Lisa to freak out, and she runs through the town, getting depressed. And, eventually, she ends up finding herself at the same tree-lot where Marge was shipped out from. But when the proprietor sees Lisa he recognizes her and tells her that Marge paid for a tree the year before, but didn’t take it. He’s kept the tree the whole year, and has decorated it to look like Marge. Lisa takes this as a sign that Marge is okay, and brings the tree home to celebrate with her family. Oh, and we also see that Marge is fine and pulling an Ingloroius Basterds on a movie theater that Hitler is at with Dumbo.
After that we cut up to Marge and Homer’s bedroom, where Marge is pretty distraught. She’s depressed that the family is being so un-merry, and decides to write a letter to some magical person who can fix everything. We’re led to believe it’s Santa for a while, but by the end we see that it’s Martha Stewart. Her letter then flies out the window, and she just goes to sleep. But when she wakes up she’s shocked to find that Martha Stewart is there, waiting for her. And she’s made it her mission to make Marge’ Christmas as delightful as possible. Martha Stewart then walks around the Simpson’s house, using her DYI magic to make the house festive. But, while Marge is delighted, everyone else is being driven insane. They all hate Martha Stewart, and the way that she’s taking everything apart to turn them into other things. And, eventually, Marge agrees. She loves that the house has been made beautiful, but she’s sad that the family isn’t happy and that the house doesn’t feel like them. So she sends Martha Stewart away, and ends up waking up from a dream. And she’s awoken to the family getting ready to make her breakfast in bed to thank her for everything she does for them.
But the episode isn’t over! Because throughout the episode we saw that Maggie was desperately trying to get the family to watch some sort of knock-off Muppet Christmas tape. Which means it’s time to see some Simpsons puppets! We get treated to a fun little segment with some shockingly great Simpsons Muppets acting out a silly little skit. It starts with the Simpsons getting ready for a vacation to spend Christmas in Hawaii, while Moe is coming over to watch the house. Moe makes some reference to inviting a girlfriend over, but the family are too busy packing. Oh, and Homer managed to get this time off by telling Mr. Burns that he was in an accident and hurt his neck. Which was a bad call, because Mr. Burns comes by the house to verify this. Homer then has to pretend that everything is fine, while dodging all of Burns’ questions about the house’s lack of Christmas flair. Mr. Burns becomes very suspicious at this point, until everything gets derailed by the sudden appearance of Katy Perry, who is dating Moe. She convinces Burns that it’s okay that Homer lied, and they decide to sing the 39 day of Christmas to finish the episode.
While I’m a bit of a Grinch, I thoroughly enjoyed myself with this episode. The Christmas Simpsons episodes are often rather solid, but we’ve had a few clunkers over the last couple of years. But not this one. This one is pretty great. They’re funny, schmaltzy, and incredibly goofy, but they all worked great for me. I love Bart going to see the depressing hell-scape that is the North Pole, and working his way to the top of the company to assassinate Santa Claus. That’s insane, and it worked great. The Lisa story is definitely the best, and actually has some great emotional moments in it, especially for such a short segment. The whole Martha Stewart/Marge story is probably the weakest of the bunch, but there were still some fun bits in it that worked well. And while the puppet thing is incredibly superfluous, it’s a blast. Seeing the Simpsons as Muppets and singing with Katy Perry is so weird and fun, and I loved it. So yeah, what better way to spend a Thursday in June than by getting some Christmas spirit!
Take Away: Don’t trust big business, don’t go to war, don’t trust Martha Stewart, and don’t date Moe.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons