The Simpsons (season 1)

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The Simpsons
Season 1
The Simpsons - The Complete 1st Season.jpg
DVD cover featuring the Simpsons family sitting on their couch watching television inside a TV
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes13
Release
Original network Fox
Original releaseDecember 17, 1989 (1989-12-17) 
May 13, 1990 (1990-05-13)
Season chronology
Next 
Season 2
List of The Simpsons episodes (seasons 1–20)

The first season of the American animated television series The Simpsons originally aired on the Fox network between December 17, 1989, and May 13, 1990, beginning with the Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire." The executive producers for the first production season were Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon. [1]

Contents

The series was originally set to debut in autumn 1989 with the episode "Some Enchanted Evening," (which was meant to introduce the main characters) [2] but during the first screening of the episode, the producers discovered that the animation was so appalling that 70% of the episode needed to be redone. [3]

The producers considered aborting the series if the next episode turned out as bad, but it suffered from only easily fixable problems. The producers convinced Fox to move the debut to December 17, and aired "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" as the first episode of the series. [2] The first season won one Emmy Award, and received four additional nominations. [4] The DVD boxset was released on September 25, 2001 in Region 1 and September 24, 2001 in both Region 2 and Region 4.

With 13 episodes, this is the shortest season of the show to date.

Voice cast

Main cast

Recurring

Reception

Ratings

The Simpsons first season was Fox network's first TV series to rank among a season's top 30 highest-rated shows. [5] It won an Emmy and received four additional nominations. Although television shows are limited to one episode per category, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" was considered a separate special and nominated alongside fellow episode "Life on the Fast Lane" for Outstanding Animated Program; "Life on the Fast Lane" won. "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" was also nominated for "Outstanding Editing in a Miniseries or Special", while "The Call of the Simpsons" was nominated for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special". The main theme song, composed by Danny Elfman, was nominated for "Outstanding Achievement in Main Title Theme Music". [4]

Reception

On Metacritic, a site which uses a weighted mean score, the season scored a 79/100 from six critics, translating to "generally favorable reviews". However, the show was controversial from its beginning. The rebellious lead character at the time, Bart, frequently received no punishment for his misbehavior, which led some parents to characterize him as a poor role model for children. [6] [7] Several US public schools even banned The Simpsons merchandise and t-shirts, such as one featuring Bart and the caption "Underachiever ('And proud of it, man!')". [8] Despite the ban, The Simpsons merchandise sold well and generated US$2 billion in revenue during the first 14 months of sales. [8]

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" David Silverman Mimi Pond December 17, 1989 (1989-12-17)7G0826.7 [9]
While Christmas shopping, Bart sneaks off and gets a tattoo. Marge soon discovers this and uses the family's Christmas savings to get it removed. Meanwhile, Homer discovers that he will not be getting a Christmas bonus from Mr. Burns and thus the family has no money to buy Christmas presents. He decides to keep their financial troubles a secret and get a job as a department store Santa, but later discovers that the job does not pay enough. Desperate for a miracle, Homer and Bart go to the dog track on Christmas Eve in hopes of earning some money. He bets it all on a long shot named Santa's Little Helper, who loses. Angry that he lost, the dog's owner disowns him. Homer lets Bart keep him. Later, Homer attempts to come clean to everyone, but Bart exclaims that they have a dog and everyone happily welcomes the newest member of the Simpson family.
22"Bart the Genius"David Silverman Jon Vitti January 14, 1990 (1990-01-14)7G0224.5 [9]

Bart has trouble on an intelligence test and sneakily switches tests with Martin Prince, the class genius. After the results are tabulated, the school psychiatrist labels Bart a genius and sends him to the Enriched Learning Center for Gifted Children. Homer starts treating Bart with respect, but Bart immediately feels out of place among his new classmates and alienated from his former peers. He confesses that he cheated on the test and is subsequently sent back to Springfield Elementary School. [10]

Note: First episode to feature Edna Krabappel
33"Homer's Odyssey" Wesley Archer Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky January 21, 1990 (1990-01-21)7G0327.5 [11]
Bart's class visits the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and Homer, anxious to look like he is working, accidentally crashes his cart into a radioactive pipe, causing him to be fired. Depressed and unable to find a new job, he decides to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. His family discover his plan and try to stop him, but in the process they are almost run over by a truck. Discovering his new purpose, Homer embarks on a safety crusade and eventually decides to go after the Nuclear Plant and holds protest rallies. To end Homer's furor, Mr. Burns offers him a job as safety inspector, with increased salary, which Homer accepts.
Guest star: Sam McMurray [12]
44"There's No Disgrace Like Home" Gregg Vanzo & Kent Butterworth Al Jean & Mike Reiss January 28, 1990 (1990-01-28)7G0420.2 [13]
Homer takes his family to the company picnic at Mr. Burns's manor. Marge, Bart and Lisa embarrass Homer and he notices that Mr. Burns seems to favour a family who love and respect one another. Convinced that both he and his family are pathetic, he takes everyone to a family therapy center. When standard methods prove useless in "civilizing" them, the doctor resorts to shock therapy. Soon the Simpsons start shocking each other, causing the whole town to lose power. [14]
55"Bart the General"David Silverman John Swartzwelder February 4, 1990 (1990-02-04)7G0527.1 [15]
Bart runs afoul of Nelson Muntz, the school bully, who begins attacking Bart every day after school. Homer suggests fighting back, which does not work. Desperate for a solution, Bart visits Grampa for advice. Grampa takes Bart to meet Herman, who suggests that Bart rally all the school children and declare war on Nelson. Bart and his army attack Nelson and successfully manage to convince him to give up his bullying ways. [16]
66"Moaning Lisa"Wesley ArcherAl Jean & Mike ReissFebruary 11, 1990 (1990-02-11)7G0627.4 [17]
Lisa becomes depressed, which begins to affect her performance in school. Neither Marge nor Homer are able to make Lisa happier. One night, she hears distant Jazz music and sneaks out of her room to follow it. She meets Bleeding Gums Murphy, who teaches her how to express her music through the saxophone. When Marge drops Lisa off at school the next day, she suggests that Lisa smile no matter how she feels. However, Marge sees that Lisa is being denied her creativity and realizes that is what is disappointing her. Marge tells Lisa to just be herself, and the entire family go to see Murphy perform at a local Jazz club.
Guest star: Ron Taylor. [18]
77"The Call of the Simpsons"Wesley ArcherJohn SwartzwelderFebruary 18, 1990 (1990-02-18)7G0927.6 [19]
Homer becomes envious of Flanders' new RV and goes to "Bob's RV Round-up" to buy one of his own. Settling on a dilapidated camper, he takes the family camping and in the process destroys the RV. Leaving Lisa and Marge behind, Bart and Homer try to find their way back to civilization, but have little luck. Later on, Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot and captured. Marge, Bart and Lisa are saved and Homer is released, although scientists say they can not determine which species he belongs to.
Guest star: Albert Brooks. [20]
88"The Telltale Head" Rich Moore Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Sam Simon & Matt Groening February 25, 1990 (1990-02-25)7G0728 [21]

Bart becomes friends with Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney, a group of local troublemakers. Trying to impress them, Bart decides to cut off and steal the head of the statue of Jebediah Springfield. The next day, the entire town grieves for the vandalized statue and Bart discovers that his new friends want to attack the vandal. Feeling remorse, Bart confesses to his family and Homer and Bart take the head back to the statue after passing through the furious people. [22]

Notes: First episode to feature Krusty, Sideshow Bob, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Reverend Lovejoy.
99"Life on the Fast Lane"David SilvermanJohn SwartzwelderMarch 18, 1990 (1990-03-18)7G1133.5 [23]
Having forgotten about Marge's birthday, Homer rushes to the Springfield mall and impulsively buys her a bowling ball. Marge is not impressed with the gift and after discovering that he intends to use it, she decides to spite him by going bowling herself. While at the alley, she meets Jacques, a charming French bowling instructor, who offers her lessons. Jacques begins to fall for Marge and invites her to his apartment. Although she agrees, Marge undergoes a moral dilemma. In the end, Marge visits Homer at the nuclear plant.
Guest star: Albert Brooks. [24]
1010"Homer's Night Out"Rich MooreJon VittiMarch 25, 1990 (1990-03-25)7G1030.3 [25]
Bart purchases a mini spy camera and manages to take a picture of Homer dancing next to stripper named Princess Kashmir at a co-worker's strip club party. He gives copies of the picture to his friends, and eventually the picture starts to circulate around until eventually Marge sees it. She kicks Homer out of the house, but the next day explains that she is not upset about his dancing next to a woman, but rather that Bart saw it. She demands that he take Bart and go apologize to Princess Kashmir. Homer agrees and says he is ready to start respecting women.
Guest star: Sam McMurray. [26]
1111"The Crepes of Wrath"Wesley Archer & Milton Gray George Meyer, Sam Simon, John Swartzwelder & Jon VittiApril 15, 1990 (1990-04-15)7G1331.2 [27]

Principal Skinner finally becomes fed up with Bart's pranks and proposes that Bart be sent to France as part of the student exchange program. The family agrees and Bart is sent to the "beautiful" Château Maison, which is actually a dilapidated farmhouse on a neglected vineyard. Bart is treated like a slave by two unscrupulous winemakers, César and Ugolin, who eventually feed him wine tainted with antifreeze. Meanwhile, an Albanian boy named Adil starts to live with the Simpsons who, unbeknownst to Homer, is a spy sent by his country to obtain nuclear blueprints. Back in France, Bart learns French and reports the winemakers' crimes to the authorities. [28]

Note: First episode to feature Agnes Skinner.
1212"Krusty Gets Busted" Brad Bird Jay Kogen & Wallace WolodarskyApril 29, 1990 (1990-04-29)7G1230.4 [29]

While buying ice cream at the Kwik-E-Mart, Homer witnesses a robbery perpetrated by a man believed to be Krusty the Clown, host of "Krusty the Clown Show", Bart's favorite program. Krusty is sent to jail and his show is taken over by his assistant, Sideshow Bob. Bart is certain Krusty is innocent, and gathers evidence to support his claim, which he takes to "Krusty's bestest friend", Sideshow Bob. Bart realizes the robbery was actually committed by Bob, who was trying to frame Krusty. Bob is arrested and Krusty thanks Bart for saving him.
Guest star: Kelsey Grammer. [30]

Note: First episode to feature Kent Brockman.
1313"Some Enchanted Evening"David Silverman & Kent ButterworthMatt Groening & Sam SimonMay 13, 1990 (1990-05-13)7G0127.1 [31]
Marge, feeling unappreciated by Homer, makes a call to a radio therapist, which Homer overhears at work. Homer, wanting to make it up to Marge, decides to take her to dinner at a fancy restaurant and hires a babysitter to take care of Bart and Lisa. They are sent Ms. Botz, who Bart and Lisa soon discover is actually a burglar nicknamed "The Babysitter Bandit". They are captured by Ms. Botz and tied up but eventually are freed by Maggie. Bart and Lisa capture Ms. Botz and call the police. Meanwhile, Marge and Homer return home and find Ms. Botz is tied up. Homer, unaware of her true identity, frees her and Ms. Botz makes a clean getaway just moments before the police arrive.
Guest stars: June Foray, Christopher Collins, Penny Marshall and Paul Willson. [32]

DVD release

The DVD boxset for season one was released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in the United States and Canada in September 2001, eleven years after it had completed broadcast on television. As well as every episode from the season, the DVD release features bonus material including deleted scenes, Animatics, and commentaries for every episode. When the first season DVD was released in 2001, it quickly became the best-selling television DVD in history, although it was later overtaken by the first season of Chappelle's Show . [33]

The Complete First Season
Set Details [34] [35] [36] Special Features [34] [35] [36]
  • 13 episodes
  • 3-disc set
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • AUDIO
    • English 5.1 Dolby Digital
    • English 2.0 Dolby Surround
    • French 2.0 Dolby Surround
  • SUBTITLES
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
September 25, 2001September 24, 2001September 24, 2001

See also

Related Research Articles

Bart Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Bartholomew JoJo Simpson is a fictional character in the American animated television series The Simpsons and part of the Simpson family. He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed Bart while waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip, Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name is an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received its own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989. Bart has appeared in every Simpsons episode except "Four Great Women and a Manicure".

Barney Gumble fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Barnard Arnold "Barney" Gumble is a recurring character in the American animated TV series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and first appeared in the series premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".

"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", titled onscreen as "The Simpsons Christmas Special", is the first episode of the American animated TV series The Simpsons, originally airing on December 17, 1989. It is the only episode to air during the 1980s.

"Bart the Genius" is the second episode of The Simpsons' first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 14, 1990. It was the first episode written by Jon Vitti. It is also the show's first episode to feature the iconic opening sequence, though this version is much different from the one used from the second season to the twentieth season. It is also the first normal episode of the show. In the episode, Bart cheats on an intelligence test and is declared a genius, so he is sent to a school for gifted children. Though he initially enjoys being treated as a genius, he begins to see the downside of his new life.

"The Call of the Simpsons" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 18, 1990. It was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Wesley Archer. Albert Brooks made his first guest appearance on The Simpsons in this episode as the voice of Cowboy Bob.

"Life on the Fast Lane", also known as "Jacques to Be Wild", is the ninth episode of The Simpsons' first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 18, 1990. It was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by David Silverman. Albert Brooks guest starred as Jacques, a French bowling instructor, with him being credited as "A. Brooks".

"Some Enchanted Evening" is the thirteenth and final episode of The Simpsons' first season. It was originally broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on May 13, 1990. Written by Matt Groening and Sam Simon and directed by David Silverman and Kent Butterworth, "Some Enchanted Evening" was the first episode produced for season one and was intended to air as the series premiere in fall 1989, but aired as the season one finale due to animation issues. The Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" premiered in its place on December 17, 1989. It is the last episode to feature the original opening sequence starting from "Bart the Genius". In the episode, Homer and Marge go on a night out while leaving the children under the care of a diabolical babysitter named Ms. Botz.

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Bibliography