Merry September 26th everyone! It’s time for another Simpson’s Christmas episode! And boy is it a weird one. There are some great parts, some bad parts, and it got some goddamn Christmas carols stuck in my head in the middle of September. Fun! There is a really delightful little opening sequence though that takes the traditional opening and puts it in the North Pole where everyone is elves though. That’s fun.
The episode starts right off with an Itchy and Scratchy episode that’s a parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, where Scratchy George Bailey is attacked by Itchy and mutilated while running through Bedford Falls. It gets interrupted though, because apparently Krusty has never actually seen an itchy and Scratchy episode while sober, and he’s terrified of what he’s witnessing, so he does his best to get the cartoon pulled off before the children are warped. Too late!
It’s not a huge deal though, because no one is really watching Krusty over at the Simpson’s house, they’re busy getting some Christmas decorations up. Which, if you’re Homer, means adding Santa hats to the already placed Halloween decorations, which is rad as hell. And as everyone is busy decorating the house they take a brief break to watch a news report that is saying that thanks to Global Warming it’s not expected to snow anywhere in America this Christmas.
Until a miracle happens. Because that night Springfield is hit by a pretty big snowstorm, blanketing the town. The people of Springfield then head out into the snow, and of course end up wandering to the Town Square where they all start celebrating. Even when Professor Frink tries to bum everyone out by explaining they only got snow because of complex environmental factors from the exhaust of the Nuclear Plant comingling in the atmosphere with the fumes from the Tire Fire.
But it doesn’t matter why there’s snow, only that there is snow. Because now Springfield is the only town in the nation that’s going to have a white Christmas. And, in the true meaning of the season, they decide they need to heavily market this fact, brace for an onslaught of tourists, and get ready to gouge them for every last cent they have. That’s right, Springfield’s getting ready to be an expensive tourist destination!
And this plan works perfectly. Springfield is suddenly inundated with tourists, who seem very willing to spend all of the exorbitant prices that things have been inflated to. However, while this is good for the business owners of Springfield, it’s pretty crappy for the rest of the town. Marge is constantly suck in traffic, there’s no food available at the Kwik-E-Mart, and the rapid rising of prices have put her in the position that she won’t be able to afford Christmas presents.
However, as Marge is heading into the house to figure out what to do about Christmas, something odd happens. A random tourist family are just driving down Evergreen Terrace, and they decide to get Marge’s attention, and ask her if she would be willing to rent them a room in their house for the holidays, since there’s no more room at any of the hotels in town. This is an absolutely insane request, but because things are getting increasingly insane in Springfield, Marge decides to take them up on the offer.
She doesn’t stop there though. Because when Homer gets home that night he’s pretty shocked to find that Marge has opened an unlicensed bed and breakfast in their home, and has packed in several different families from all over the country into their home. And, while he’s initially very against this, Marge convinces him that it’s a good idea, and just like that the Simpsons are running a hotel in their house!
Oh, but we’re then introduced to a very weird little story that I can’t even call a B-Plot around this point. Because one Sunday the whole town, and all of the tourists, arrive at church , and Reverend Lovejoy decides to give the best sermon of his life. It’s all about helping your fellow man, and for some reason Lisa takes this to mean that she shouldn’t buy gifts for her family they would actually want this Christmas, she should buy things from her heart that mean something to her. So she heads to the mall and ends up buying a whole cavalcade of weird gifts.
As the days progress though, this whole hotel things really starts to become a bummer. Because these random strangers that are paying Marge to sleep in her den aren’t the best people in the world. They start complaining about every little thing, and generally making Marge’s life horrible. And, after several days of nonstop complaints, Marge finally has to snap at all of them, putting them in their place, and leading to things getting even more awkward.
Which brings us to Christmas day. All of the various families are sitting throughout the Simpson’s house, opening their presents and doing their best to avoid each other. And now it’s time for the family to open their gifts, and see Lisa’s weird ideas. Bart gets her a bunch of Angelica Button stuff, which gets her really excited. Lisa then gives Homer radish seeds, Maggie some weird patches to kick her pacifier habit, and she gets Bart a book of Treasure Island. And they all hate their gifts.
And that night Lisa wakes up in the middle of the night only to see Bart in the backyard, burning Treasure Island. She runs down to yell at him, and he actually makes some good points by saying that Lisa only bought him this to make herself feel good, not caring about the fact that it isn’t something he would like. So that’s awkward.
The next morning though all of the families are finally leaving the house, so that makes things better. We see the various weird groups start to pack up, and get ready to leave, while Lisa tries to make some amends. She’s decided that Bart was right, and she sold her Angelica Button stuff to get him a tablet, which has books and some games. Bart then gives her a wad of cash he has for some reason, making their relationship reach equilibrium again. Oh, and as the horrible tourists are leaving they all start singing for Marge, making her finally feel appreciated.
This episode is fine. There’s nothing about it that really rubs me the wrong way, other than the idea that these random people would just ask a stranger to stay in their house without the use of some website that makes that idea more palatable. But other than that, it’s just kind of fine. I’ve seen much better Christmas episodes, and I’ve seen worse. Honestly, I think the idea that they got to there at the end with Bart and Lisa was actually pretty interesting, with Lisa learning that gifts are just about making the gift-giver feel good about themselves, but about finding something that both parties will appreciate. But that’s just kind of tosses away at the end, and barely fits in with the rest of the episode. Because the majority of this story revolves around the whole bed and breakfast thing, which doesn’t really have any sort of moral, other than don’t run a bed and breakfast out of your house. Which honestly didn’t need the Christmas setting at all.
Take Away: Learn to give better gifts.
“White Christmas Blues” was written by Don Payne and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2013.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons