7G08: Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire

Airdate: 17 December 1989

Writer: Mimi Pond
Director: David Silverman
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

After Marge spends the family's Christmas money on removing a tattoo that Bart got, and Homer's Christmas bonus is cancelled, Homer must find out a way to keep the Christmas spirit alive without shattering the hopes of his family. A trip to the dog tracks is their last hope. The dog they bet on, Santa's Little Helper comes in last, and gets the boot from his owner. The Simpsons take the dog, bring it home, and the family think it's the best present they have ever gotten for Christmas. The family sing 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer' to close the show.

7G02: Bart The Genius

Airdate: 14 January 1990

Writer: Jon Vitti
Director: David Silverman
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Facing the prospect of flunking an intelligence exam, Bart changes the name on Martin's test to his name. The school psychologist advises Homer and Marge that Bart has a very high level of intelligence, calling him a genius, even. Bart is enrolled at a new school for smart kids, where Bart feels out of place with the other students. When his Science project explodes, nearly destroying the school, he admits to the psychologist about his scam. As you would imagine, Homer is furious and chases him around the house.

7G03: Homer's Odyssey

Airdate: 21 January 1990

Writer: Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky
Director: Wes Archer
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Bart's class goes on a field trip to the Nuclear Power Plant. While riding through the plant in an electric cart, he spots Bart and waves to him, sending him crashing into a radioactive pipe causing the plant to shut down. Homer is fired for safety violations. Depressed and unable to find a new job, he sets off in the middle of the night to jump off a bridge. The family gets there just in time but almost gets hit by a truck. Homer pulls them out of the way in time. Homer embarks on a public safety crusade to make the town a safe place, putting road signs up everywhere. Mr. Burns recognizes his work and invites him back to the power plant.

7G04: There's No Disgrace Like Home

Airdate: 28 January 1990

Writer: Al Jean and Mike Reiss
Director: Gregg Banno and Kent Butterworth
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

When Homer compares his family to other families while at the company picnic, he realizes they're all better than his. Peeking through living room windows on other houses in their street, they see happy families sharing quality time together. Homer decides to take his family to the Marvin Monroe Family Therapy Center. When standard methods prove useless in civilizing the family, Marvin resorts to shock therapy... which also fails. Resigned to the fact that the Simpsons are uncurable, they are given double their money back.

7G05: Bart The General

Airdate: 4 February 1990

Writer: John Swartzwelder
Director: David Silverman
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Bart gets into a fight with Nelson Muntz while protecting his sisters cupcakes. Nelson beats him up after school, and tells him it will happen again tomorrow. Marge tells Bart he should try to reason with Nelson, whereas Homer tells Bart to fight like a man. Choosing Homer's advice, he approaches Nelson, but is beaten up again. He turns to Abe Simpson for help. Abe takes Bart to see Herman, a veteran of the war. Herman instructs Bart on a full-assault strategy. Bart gathers other boys from school and enlists them as his troops. As Herman commands from the field, Bart leads them into battle. Terrorized, the thugs surrender. Nelson is tied up on the Simpsons couch, and Bart and Nelson make up.

7G06: Moaning Lisa

Airdate: 11 February 1990

Writer: Al Jean and Mike Reiss
Director: Wes Archer
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Lisa wakes up one morning with a case of the blues. Her teacher notices her sadness and sends a note home to her parents. Nothing Homer and Marge say can bring Lisa out of her depression. That night, hearing distant music, Lisa sneaks out of her room to follow it. She meets a saxophone player, Bleeding Gums Murphy. He teaches her how to express her sadness on the sax. Gums brings out the best in Lisa, as she is happier at school. The family goes to a Jazz club where they hear a blues number sung by Bleeding Gums Murphy, which was written by Lisa about her family.

7G09: The Call Of The Simpsons

Airdate: 18 February 1990

Writer: John Swartzwelder
Director: Wes Archer
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

When Ned Flanders pulls up to his house with a new mobile home, Homer gets jealous and goes to Bob's RV Round-Up to buy his own and impress Flanders. Thrilled with the new RV, Homer takes the family on a trip in the wilderness. While taking "a shortcut", Homer leads the family into the middle of nowhere, where the van comes to a halt on the edge of a cliff. The family manage to escape just as the RV plummets into an abyss. Stranded in the wilderness, Homer and Bart look for food. After losing their clothes in a river, they use mud and plants to cover themselves A photographer takes a photo of Homer covered in mud, and thinks he's taken a photo of 'Bigfoot'. Homer is captured by hunters but then they realize he's really nothing more than a fat, bald human

7G07: The Telltale Head

Airdate: 25 February 1990

Writer: Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Sam Simon, Matt Groening
Director: Wes Archer
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Bart and Homer are chased through the streets by an angry mob. They stop so Bart can recount the story of the previous day. The story unfolds. Bart goes out to see Space Mutants IV at the local movie theater. Jimbo and his gang pressure Bart to sneaking in the back without paying. They get thrown out, and they start throwing rocks at the statue of Jebadiah Springfield. Jimbo tells Bart it would be cool if somebody cut the head off the statue, so later that night, in an attempt to win friends, he sneaks out of the house and saws the statue's head off. The whole town is upset. Feeling remorse, Bart comes home and confesses to his family. As Homer escorts Bart to the authorities, the angry mob starts chasing them. The story ends, and the mob forgives him.

7G11: Life On The Fast Lane

Airdate: 18 March 1990

Writer: John Swartzwelder
Director: David Silverman
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

As a last minute birthday gift, Homer buys Marge a bowling ball with his name on it, and drilled to fit his fingers. Marge takes up bowling in spite of Homer wanting to use it as if it was his own. The local pro, Jaques notices Marge and he helps her with her bowling technique. She becomes quite attatched to Jaques. Homer suspects something is not right. Jaques asks Marge to meet him at his apartment and she accepts. Homer tries to tell Marge how he feels but the words won't come out. On the way to Jaques' apartment, Marge has a second thought. She encounters a fork in the road. One leading to the Power Plant, the other to Jaques. Marge takes the road to the plant and surprises Homer. An overjoyed Homer leaves work to make love to his wife in the car.

7G10: Homer's Night Out

Airdate: 25 March 1990

Writer: John Vitti
Director: Rich Moore
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Homer tells Marge that he'll be attending a stag party for a co-worker at a restaurant. At the party, Homer is enticed to dance with a belly dancer named Princess Kashmir. While Homer is gone, Marge takes the kids out for dinner Unknowingly, they are at the same place that Homer is having the party. Bart stumbles into a room where he sees Homer dancing with Kashmir, so he takes a photo with his new spy camera. He gives Milhouse a copy. Soon, all of Springfield has the photograph, and eventually Marge sees it. She orders him out of the house. Homer takes Bart to a burlesque show to teach him not all women are sexual objects. Homer stumbles on stage during the show and gived the cround a sentimental speech about the importance of women to men. Marge, who is in the audience, runs to Homer and forgives him.

7G13: The Crepes Of Wrath

Airdate: 15 April 1990

Writer: George Meyer, Sam Simon, John Swartzwelder and Jon Vitti
Director: Wes Archer, Milton Gray
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

After Bart gets into more mischief at school, Principal Skinner talks to Homer and Marge about sending him to France as an exchange student. Expecting the good life, Bart sets off for France as the Simpsons welcome their exchange student Adil, from Albania. Bart arrives in Paris to discover his exchange parents intend to use him as a slave. In Springfield, Homer takes Adil to the power plant. Once inside, Adil takes pictures of sensitive equipment and relays the info back to Albania. Barts exchange parents force him to sample their wine laced with anti-freeze to see if it harms him. When Bart sets off to buy more anti-freeze, he talks to a policeman about what they have done to him. He becomes a hero for saving the wine. Meanwhile, the FBI detects the satellite signal Adil uses, and arrests him.

7G12: Krusty Gets Busted

Airdate: 29 April 1990

Writer: Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky
Director: Brad Bird
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Homer witnesses a robbery at the Kwik-E-Mart and identifies the robber as Krusty The Clown. Krusty is arrested and kicked off his show, and Sideshow Bob becomes the new host. Bart and Lisa believe Krusty is innocent so they look for clues. The reason Krusty couldn't have used the microwave, as shown in the security video, was because he wears a pacemaker. The video also showed him reading a magazine, but Krusty was illiterate. They conclude Krusty was framed. Bart thinks the imposter was Sideshow Bob, as he had large feet that Homer stepped on. Bob admits he did it, and he is jailed.

7G01: Some Enchanted Evening

Airdate: 13 May 1990

Writer: Matt Groening and Sam Simon
Director: David Silverman and Kent Butterworth
Executive Producer: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

When Homer and Marge go out to spend a romantic evening together, they call for a babysitter to look after the kids. The babysitter, Ms Botz, arrives and Homer and Marge leave. While Botz is out of the room, Bart and Lisa see a bulletin on 'America's Most Armed and Dangerous' warning parents about the babysitter bandit. The photo fit they see matches Ms. Botz, so they run around the house and try to hide. Ms. Botz finds them and ties them up. As she plunders around the house, Maggie escapes her crib and unties Bart and Lisa. Bart hits Botz with a baseball bat, and then ties her up. They call the police, and they are on their way. Marge and Homer arrive home to a tied up babysitter. Assuming the kids are playing a prank, Homer frees Botz and pays her triple her fee. She drives off as the police arrive, and Homer realizes what he has just done.

The Episodes
[7G08] - Simpsons Roasting Over Open Fire
[7G02] - Bart The Genius
[7G03] - Homer's Odyssey
[7G04] - There's No Disgrace Like Home
[7G05] - Bart The General
[7G06] - Moaning Lisa
[7G09] - The Call Of The Simpsons
[7G07] - The Telltale Head
[7G11] - Life On The Fast Lane
[7G10] - Homer's Night Out
[7G13] - The Crepes Of Wrath
[7G12] - Krusty Gets Busted
[7G01] - Some Enchanted Evening

Matt Groening Says:
What we have here are thirteen crudely animated episodes, first aired in 1989 and 1990. If Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie look weirdly off-model, if their voices sound spooky and different, and if the animation seems particularly glitch filled, just remember this: we didn't know what the hell we were doing back then.

What's fun for me in looking back at all these old episodes is how many jokes and characters have stayed vivid for more than a decade. I love Santa's Little Helper leaping into Homer's arms at Christmas; the debut of Blinky, the three-eyed fish; Bart's game-winning scrabble word "KWYJIBO" ("a fat, dumb, balding North American ape with no chin"); the Simpsons giving each other electroshock therapy courtesy of Dr. Marvin Monroe; Lisa playing saxophone with Bleeding Gums Murphy; Homer being mistaken for Bigfoot; and Marge's bowling instructor Jacques strangely losing his French accent when yelling for onion rings.

I also dig Grandpa Simpson's letter to TV advertisers: "I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. We are not all vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs. Many of us are bitter, resentful individuals, who remember the good old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive."

So enjoy. We've got more Simpsons episodes to make, then broadcast, then re-run, then chop up for syndication. But you know something? We wouldnt have it any other way!

Your pal
Matt Groening

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