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Recap / The Simpsons S 15 E 7 Tis The Fifteenth Season

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Original air date: 12/14/2003

Production code: FABF-02

When Carl gives Homer a DVD player and the first season of Magnum, P.I., Homer forgets that he is Lenny’s “Secret Santa”, so he hastily gives him Certs. Also, Mr. Burns gives everyone a cafeteria voucher as a Christmas bonus, except Homer, who gets a Joe DiMaggio baseball card (which Mr. Burns believes is worthless - Burns is so outdated he thinks DiMaggio is a rookie and Homer's surprise was about the fact they "started" to allow ethnics in the big leagues). Homer trades it in to Comic Book Guy, who gives him everything in his register. With this small fortune, the Simpsons go Christmas shopping and Homer promises to spend his money on a huge Christmas tree, but instead squanders it on a personalized talking astrolabe. When his family finds out, they call him out on his selfish act, with Marge saying that he doesn't care about anybody but himself. What’s worse is that Homer can’t return the astrolabe as the astrolabe itself reminded him after Homer was called out for his selfishness.

Later that night, Homer watches Mr. McGrew’s Christmas Carol and sees the Scrooge-type character doomed to go to Hell because of his selfishness. Fearing the same might happen to him, Homer decides to change his ways and become the nicest person in town. Around town, Homer performs good deeds for Springfield’s citizens, including giving his old clothes to charity, giving Lenny a photo cube, giving Marge the last pork chop at dinner and building a skating rink in his backyard. This kind attitude of Homer’s causes resident nice guy Ned Flanders to get jealous and so he competes buy dressing up as Santa and giving everyone in town a free gift and renting his house to a fraternity. Homer decides to get back by buying everyone a new car, but Lisa tells him that as a Buddhist, she believes there’s too much commercialism in Christmas and that everyone is better off without presents.

Inspired, Homer decides to to the “ultimate good deed” by stealing Christmas. That morning, as Homer prepares to burn the stolen gifts in a bonfire, an angry mob shows up. But Homer manages to calm everyone down by showing them a Christmas star in the sky (actually a flare from Hans Moleman). Homer gives back the gifts and everyone joins in singing a Christmas carol, including Moe after once again attempting suicide.

"'Tis the Fifteenth Season" contains examples of:

  • The Anti-Grinch: Homer decides to change his ways and become the nicest person in town. When he gets told there's too much commercialism in Christmas and that everyone is better off without presents, Homer decides to do the "ultimate good deed" by stealing Christmas. Needless to say, this doesn't work.
  • Art Shift: The Show Within a Show Christmas specials "Christmas with the California Prunes" ("This is offensive to Christians and prunes.") and "The Year Santa Got Lost" ("Jimmy Stewart as a puppet is just wrong.") are animated via claymation.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Homer imagines Buddha as a bald, happy-looking obese guy, as typical in pop culture. In reality, this is a common mistake: while the famous fat dude everybody knows is certainly a Buddha, he is not the Buddha, Siddartha Gautama, but a posterior Chinese monk named Budai. (Other appearances of Buddha in the series do get his appearance right, though.)
  • Bait-and-Switch: Snake has this to say after being robbed by Homer: "Ho, I've been robbed! Man, so this is how it feels. I'd better see my shrink... and rob his ass."
  • Big, Fat Future: In the Star Trek: The Original Series version of A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come attacks the Enterprise with visions of the future. Scotty is horrified by how fat he's going to become.
  • Big "NO!": Three in the same scene. McGrew does one on the TV when his name appears on the gravestone, Homer does one when he imagines his name appearing on it, then he does another one when he reads it correctly (""Unloved by all"?! NO!").
  • Blatant Lies: When the Astrolabe makes a comment within earshot of the family, exposing Homer, Marge asks what that was, and Homer responds with, "Woohoo! Maggie's talking!"
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When the family find out Homer blew their money on the Astrolabe, he tries to say that if he's happy, he's "less abusive" to them. Lisa shoots him down with one sentence, without even needing to raise her voice: "No, Dad. This time, you were just plain selfish."
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Lisa reminds Homer that she's a Buddhist after converting in "She of Little Faith".
    • Ned brings mini club sandwiches to the homeless shelter.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Homer doesn't have a Secret Santa gift for Lenny. He runs off to the vending machine and buys him a cheap snack. Lenny and Carl call him out for this, although Homer later makes up for it with a photo cube.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Breaking and entering into houses to steal stuff (in this particular case, Christmas presents) equals a pissed-off lynch mob armed with Torches and Pitchforks, not people deciding to learn the True Meaning Of Christmas. Homer got very close to buying it as a result.
  • Disappeared Dad: Nelson's missing father is referred to again in this episode.
  • Drama Queen: Wiggum accuses Moe of this for his annual suicide attempt.
  • Driven to Suicide: Moe, as per every Christmas, threatens to jump off the city hall building (not that anyone is interested). He opts to back out, only to slip, land in the gutter, and unable to get up. Though he joins in singing with the crowd while he's down.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Mr. Burns gives a more thoughtful gift than Homer.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Homer sleeps on the couch at night after angering his family with his selfishness.
  • Eye Scream: Homer gives Lenny a photo cube with the edges trimmed so Lenny won't jab the points in his eye.
    Lenny: It only stings a little.
  • Fat Flex: After finishing Thanksgiving dinner, Homer pops off his belt to let his gut expand for the winter season.
    Homer: See you in spring, toes!
  • Freak Out: A positive example. As soon as Comic Book Guy sees Homer's Joe DiMaggio card, he dumps out his entire cash register into Homer's arms just to have the card.
  • A Gift for Themselves: Homer buys a talking astrolabium as a Christmas gift for himself, wasting most of the money he had.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Homer starts to feel empty even after having done multiple good deeds, so Lisa tells him that Buddhism teaches that having nothing material brings enlightenment. Homer decides it would be a good deed to steal all of the presents in town.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Exaggerated. When Flanders finds the homeless shelter empty, he exclaims, "Where the H-E-C-K is everybody?"
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Flanders gets really jealous that Homer is doing more charitable work than he is and goes to great lengths to outdo him.
  • How the Character Stole Christmas: In a twist, Homer does it because (thanks to misunderstanding Lisa's attempt at teaching him a little Buddhist spirituality) he believes stealing said presents will be a good thing.
    Homer: You're a hero, Homer J.,
    You're as crafty as a skunk.
    They’ll thank you in the morning for stealing Flanders' junk,
    Homer Ja-a-ay.
    You're a double bacon genius-burger,
    And just a little drunk!
  • Heel Realization:
  • Hypocrite: Homer imagines a Buddha that preaches for liberation of material desires, yet is driving a sports car and has apparently been in jail.
  • Hope Spot: After a car accident, Moleman thinks he's been found by rescue dogs, but it's really a pack of wolves.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The Christmas tree that Homer gets is of such poor quality that when he rubs it, it catches fire.
    Homer: Oh, why do things I love always burn?
  • Inelegant Blubbering:
    • After Homer decides to be nicer, he lets Marge have the last pork chop at dinner. Marge, who apparently has waited years for Homer to offer that, starts crying tears of joy and eats the chop with her bare hands. While she's doing this Marge gushes over how good Homer's thoughtfulness tastes. Homer, and the kids, are understandably creeped out by Marge's blubbering.
    • Homer himself also does this when the Personalized Talking Astrolabe tells him it can't be returned.
  • Instant Sedation: While Homer is stealing Christmas, he is spotted by one of Apu and Manjula's octopulets (a la Cindy Lou Who), so he knocks her (and a teddy bear) out with a chloroform rag.
  • It's All About Me: Homer before he decides to be a better person. He forgets he's Lenny's secret Santa, annoying both him and Carl. Carl in particular calls Homer the most selfish man he knows. Homer says that Mr Burns is more selfish than him, leading straight into the Right Behind Me example below. Then, he buys keyrings for his family's presents and spends almost everything else on the Personalized Talking Astrolabe, meaning the only Christmas tree they can afford is so dry bursts into flames when Homer rubs it. Marge and the kids are not happy when they find out, and when they call him out on it, Homer tries to justify himself by saying that if he is happy, then he's less abusive to the rest of the family. It takes a Nightmare Sequence from watching A Christmas Carol to get him to change his ways.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Homer is shown donating his old clothes to the needy. Cut to hobos wearing white shirts and blue pants.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Springfield Heights Promenade has the following slogan: "Our prices discriminate because we can't"
  • Never Going Back to Prison: Buddha in Homer's first thought bubble.
  • Nice Guy: Homer tries very hard to be one of these after his Heel Realization. He does this by donating his old clothes to hobos, giving Lenny a photo cube to make up for being a bad secret Santa to him earlier in the episode, offers Marge the last pork chop (causing her to break down in tears of joy), orders Burns to donate to the church collection plate, and builds an ice rink in the back yard. Marge is very happy by Homer's newfound unselfishness, and Gil even calls him "the nicest man in town", right in front of Ned Flanders.
  • Pet the Dog: Mr. Burns for once remembers who Homer is but also that he has a young son, giving him a baseball card as a gift.
  • The Pigpen: Homer's hygiene is apparently so bad that when he donates some of his clothes to the less fortunate, this exchange occurs:
    Hobo: These pants smell worse than my old pants!
    Homer: You're welcome.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Homer is unfamiliar with the plot of A Christmas Carol.
  • Right Behind Me: To give an example of somebody more selfish than him, Homer started describing Mr. Burns, who overheard him. Fortunately, Burns thought Homer was talking of a woman named Kathy, who does look like Burns except for the fact she's a woman.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Tears of Joy: Marge when Homer lets her have the last pork chop. She calls her tears the sweetest sauce, which creeps Homer and the kids out.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Hans Moleman gets eaten alive by wolves.
  • To the Tune of...: "You're a Hero, Homer J." to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch".
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lisa says that, as a Buddhist, she believes the holiday is too commercial and that people would be better off without presents. This gives Homer the idea to break into people's houses and take their presents and decorations. Homer nearly gets beaten to death for this.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Homer tries to get rid of the excess commercialism of the holidays by stealing all the presents and decorations in town and burning them. Naturally, it just pisses everyone off. He does, however, return them afterwards.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Lisa shows Homer that many adaptations of A Christmas Carol exist, showing scenes from Christmas episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series and Family Matters.
    Bart: TV writers have been milking that goat for years.


Video Example(s):


Christmas Carols (Simpsons)

The Simpsons discuss about the overuse of the Christmas Carol plot after Homer saw a Mr Magoo version of the story at night.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / YetAnotherChristmasCarol

Media sources: