Trivia / The Simpsons S 1 E 13 Some Enchanted Evening
Old Shame: For everyone on the original crew, including James L. Brooks, who called it "shit" and threatened to cancel the show if the animation wasn't improved.
Orphaned Reference: A lipstick stain can still be seen on the front door after the scene explaining how it got there was reanimated. In the original version, Homer accidentally slammed the door into Marge's stretched out lips, but this scene was reanimated so Marge's lips didn't stretch out too far and never touched the door.
Out of Order: The episode was originally designed as the pilot (hence the opening breakfast scene introducing each family member) but ended up as the season finale after the entire thing had to be re-animated several times. This also explains why the opening credit sequence has no Couch Gag, but ends with the family merely taking their seats on the couch and smiling as they watch TV. The original intent was that the pilot would play this scene straight, while every subsequent episode would subvert it.
Production went so badly wrong that it nearly killed the show before it even began. The big problem was that the key members of the production team didn't appear to be talking to each other. Matt Groening and James L. Brooks imagined a show with unique designs and color schemes, but characters who were animated in a realistic way. Animation director Kent Butterworth (and apparently the people at Klasky-Csupo) on the other hand thought it should be animated in a whacked-out, over the top style with little regard paid to keeping the characters on model. And nobody appeared to have told the Korean animators anything at all, meaning they were let loose on the episode with wildly inconsistent results. The end product, while sometimes defended by animation enthusiasts as how the show should have been animated, wasn't what the producers or Fox wanted at all, and the plug nearly got pulled on the series. Fortunately the second episode, "Bart the Genius" did fit what the producers were looking for, and so they reshuffled the episode order and kicked off the series with "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," while "Some Enchanted Evening" got substantially re-animated and booted to the end of the season.
There is a notorious story surrounding the first time the staff saw the episode. In one scene, Bart and Lisa watch a Happy Little Elves cartoon. For some reason yet to be determined, Butterworth had decided to have a bear tear off one of the elves's heads and drink its blood. Needless to say, this did not go over well with the production crew.
What Could Have Been...: More like What Almost Wasn't: This episode was so fraught with animation errors and Troubled Production issues that James L. Brooks and Matt Groening threatened to cancel the show if "Bart the Genius" (the next episode in production code order) came out worse than this — meaning that The Simpsons would have been a Short Runner. Considering The Simpsons is the longest-running American scripted prime-time series in TV history and considered by some to be the greatest TV series of the 20th century, this is one of the biggest What Could Have Been... moments in TV history.