The Simpsons—Season 1

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some decent stories like Bart the General and The Crepes of Wrath

Voices are still weird and the art is pretty crude.


We will make you one of us! One of us!

The Simpsons have a new family member in Santa’s Little Helper, Homer and Marge face threats to their marriage, and Bart and Lisa match wits with Krusty the Clown’s Sideshow Bob and a babysitter bandit.  Meet the Simpsons and all their friends.

The Simpsons—Season 1 aired on the FOX Network from December 17, 1989 to May 13, 1990.  The first episode is also known as The Simpsons Christmas Special and serves as an almost stand-alone pilot for the series which spun out of the popular Tracy Ullman Show shorts.  It won an Emmy for “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”.


That’s a kid who likes Krusty

Going back to season 1 of The Simpsons is like entertaining a time capsule.  I can remember watching The Tracy Ullman Show shorts and loving them (sometimes watching the show just for The Simpsons), and I remember when the show premiered.  Watching it now, it is really strange.  The characters move strangely and the voices (especially Dan Castellaneta’s Homer) don’t match up with the animation of later seasons.  The characters also aren’t in character (Homer would never give up the TV before Marge as he did in “There’s No Disgrace Like Home”).

The structures of the shows are also much different than current Simpsons stories.  Most episodes are a single story without any sort of a B-Story that runs in unison with the main story.  The show starts to show some potential with episodes like “Bart the General” which does have a similar feel to how the series feels today.  It also shows some more stylized shooting which the series is also known for.


Bart gets to enjoy a little “Lunch on the Grass” while in France…with Manet

One thing you notice in the early seasons is how Bart-centric the show was.  It was all about Bart’s one liners and interjections.  It developed into a much more Homer based show and now the episodes can revolve around supporting characters who barely appear in this season.

This show also had a huge effect on culture.  There were tons of Simpsons T-Shirts and people coming out against The Simpsons, like Bill Cosby when they were to challenge his popular Cosby Show on Thursday nights.  Even this season, the message of family is pretty hardy in The Simpsons…it just isn’t the Huxtables.

If you weren’t around when these episodes aired, go back and check them out.  They don’t seem to be in rotation as much as later episodes since they are pretty crudely drawn and not the strongest stories.  You can see where the Simpsons really took off and began to turn into the culture icon that they are today…The only thing I wish the DVD did was put all those original Tracy Ullman shorts on there somewhere since it is a short season.

The Simpsons—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:


“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”

1.1       Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire Airdate:  12/17/89

It’s Christmastime, and Bart gets a tattoo.  When Marge is forced to spend the Christmas money to pay to have it removed, Homer can’t tell her that he isn’t getting a Christmas bonus from the power plant.  Homer tries to find ways to make money and finds his only chance for a happy Christmas might right on a greyhound named Santa’s Little Helper.


“Bart the Genius”

1.2       Bart the Genius Airdate:  01/14/90

Bart switches IQ tests with Martin Prince and is declared a genius.  Placed in a special school, Bart finds that the only thing harder than the classes is telling Homer that he lied.


“Homer’s Odyssey”

1.3       Homer’s Odyssey Airdate:  01/21/90

Homer loses his job at the power plant but decides to go on a crusade of safety that makes him a star of Springfield and puts him at odds with his old boss Montgomery Burns.


“There’s No Disgrace Like Home”

1.4       There’s No Disgrace Like Home Airdate:  01/28/90

When his family embarrasses him at the office party, Homer decides he has to take drastic steps to get his family on the right path.


“Bart the General”

1.5       Bart the General Airdate:  02/04/90

Bart’s being plagued by the school bully Nelson.  Teaming with his Grandpa, Bart is out to get the class in shape to take on Nelson and end his reign of terror.


“Moaning Lisa”

1.6       Moaning Lisa Airdate:  02/11/90

Lisa’s suffering from depression that she can’t seem to beat.  When she meets a blues saxophonist named Bleeding Gums Murphy, she finds new direction.  Homer also deals with Bart’s ability to beat him in a boxing video game.


“Call of the Simpsons”

1.7       Call of the Simpsons Airdate:  02/25/90

The Simpsons purchase an RV to compete with the Flanders but become trapped in the woods when the camper goes off a cliff.  Homer and Bart search for civilization while Maggie spends time with bears.  When Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot, the hunt is on.  Guest Stars:  Albert Brooks


“The Telltale Head”

1.8       The Telltale Head Airdate:  02/25/90

Bart befriends Jimbo and his gang and tries to impress them by stealing the head of Jebadiah Springfield.  Now he and Homer must get it back before the mob finds it.


“Life on the Fast Lane”

1.9       Life on the Fast Lane Airdate:  03/18/90

Homer has forgotten Marge’s birthday again.  When he buys her a bowling ball with his name on it, Marge decides to take up bowling against his plans.  Marge meets a mysterious bowler named Jacques and glimpses the opportunity at another life.  Guest Stars:  Albert Brooks


“Homer’s Night Out”

1.10     Homer’s Night Out Airdate:  03/25/90

Homer’s in deep trouble when Bart gets a spy camera and catches him dancing with a stripper at a bachelor party.  When Bart makes copies of the picture, Springfield starts to talk.  Guest Stars:  Sam McMurray


“The Crepes of Wrath”

1.11     The Crepes of Wrath Airdate:  04/15/90

Homer hurts his back on Bart’s skateboard, and Bart causes problem at school when he flushes a cherry bomb.  Skinner, Homer, and Marge decide to enroll Bart in an exchange program, and Bart heads off to France where things don’t go as promised.  While Bart is gone, an Albanian exchange student has plans of his own in America.


“Krusty Gets Busted”

1.12     Krusty Gets Busted Airdate:  04/29/90

Homer witnesses a robbery at the Kwik-E-Mart and identifies Krusty the Clown as the robber.  As Bart tries to prove Bart is innocent, Krusty faces time in prison.  Guest Stars:  Kelsey Grammer


“Some Enchanted Evening”

1.13     Some Enchanted Evening Airdate:  05/13/90

Homer and Marge set off for a romantic evening to recharge their marriage and leave Bart and Lisa in the hands of a babysitter.  When Bart and Lisa learn that their babysitter is a crook, they have to fight to escape her grasp.  Guest Stars:  Penny Marshall

Followed By:

The Simpsons—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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