Advent Calendar House - TV Holiday & Christmas Specials

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Episode Summary

Every unstoppable monster has a beginning. Guests: Erin Evans, Brandon Medley, Joey O. Find show notes at

Episode Notes

🎄 Every unstoppable monster has a beginning. Squeeze onto the couch as a perfectly cromulent panel of Advent Calendar House regulars celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Simpsons and its series premiere, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, or as it was advertised to us in 1989, “The Simpsons’ Christmas Special.”

CONTENT WARNING: We briefly discuss Mall Santas and 10-year-olds’ feelings on Mall Santas.  


🎙 Guests:  

Brandon Medley (@brandmed, Blessed Are the Geek).  

Erin Evans (@mserinmevans).  

Joey O. (Y-Not Radio, Words with Nerds, @ImGonnaDJ24).  


💬 Topics & Tangents:  

1. Remembering the buildup and promos for “The Simpsons’ Christmas Special” in 1989, and the time I accidentally watched The Tracey Ullman Show, because I was too sick to get up and change the channel.  

2. We can’t talk about early Simpsons without mentioning Burger King toys, The Simpsons arcade game, and of course, Do the Bartman.  

3. Bart’s first Butterfinger commercial predates the show by a year.  

4. Al Jean’s 5 favorite Simpsons episodes, as told to The Wall Street Journal.  

5. Among the animators who worked on this first episode was Eric Stefani, who had already founded some band with his sister.  

6. The crowdsourced origins of “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells,” (research by Rob Weir, 2006) and the “like a light bulb!” interjections to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (research by Azizi Powell, 2017).  

7. Feel free to Google image search “simpsons moth tattoo” for a gallery of real, intentionally unfinished tattoos.  

8. The tattoo artist is retroactively identified as Mervin Monroe, the younger brother of Dr. Marvin Monroe.  

9. Early, strange in hindsight prototypes of Springfield citizens, including a more competent Ralph Wiggum, a cockier Milhouse, and a Ned Flanders who says, “Happy holidays.”  


11. The time Brandon cut down his own Christmas tree.  

12. My guest appearance on the Two Bad Neighbors podcast to discuss the Simpsons’ next Christmas episode, Marge Be Not Proud.  


“The Simpsons” and “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” ©1989 20th Century Fox Television.  
Closing Music: The Simpsons Theme, performed by Green Day, ©2007 Reprise Records.  

Full show notes with links at  
Say hi on Twitter @adventcalhouse.