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The Simpsons’ Thanksgiving Episodes Prove the Show’s Evolution

The Simpsons – which is steadily approaching its 750th episode in season 34 – has been a lot of things over the years. The Fox series first evolved from its original form as a series of shorts. Since then, it has transitioned from a grounded, subversive take on the traditional sitcom to an ever-changing exploration of pop culture and family life in the United States.

Weather The Simpsons has a lot of Halloween and Christmas themed episodes, it hasn’t done as much with Turkey Day. Its two most notable Thanksgiving storylines occurred years apart: season 2’s “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” and season 31’s “Thanksgiving of Horror.” Fittingly, the two highlight just how much the show has changed over the years. last three decades.

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How The Simpsons Celebrate Thanksgiving Then And Now

Season 2 Episode 7, “Bart vs. Thanksgiving,” directed by David Silverman from a script by George Meyer, focused on a hectic vacation at the Simpsons’ house. In the midst of all the escalating tension between the family and their respective in-laws, Bart got into a fight with Lisa and destroyed her elaborately designed cornucopia. Sent to his room to “ruin” Thanksgiving, Bart escaped and explored the city on his own. While the family cared for Bart, his travels around Springfield highlighted the privileges he enjoyed with his family that others less fortunate did not. When he returned home and made amends with Lisa, the couple finally returned to the house to share Thanksgiving leftovers.

Season 31 Episode 8, “Thanksgiving of Horror,” directed by Rob Oliver and written by Dan Vebber, was an anthology installment in the vein of the iconic show. the house of the tree of terror episodes “A-Gobble-Ypto” recast the central family as turkeys during an early celebration of the holiday in a parody of Apocalypse. “The Fourth Thursday After Tomorrow” had an AI duplicate of Marge fighting the real version of herself. “The Last Thanksgiving” was a parody of science fiction horror movies like Alien Y Lifeand followed the kids from Springfield Elementary on a spaceship that got a whole lot more dangerous when a jelly-like creature from a cranberry sauce can springs to life and begins devouring the bones of everyone on board.

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How The Simpsons Thanksgiving Episodes Show Its Evolution


When The Simpsons formally began in 1989 after a three-year stint as shorts in The Tracey Ullman Show, was a largely grounded series. The subversive version of the cloying comedies of the time gave The Simpsons an edge that other shows lacked, and even in something as emotionally candid as “Bart vs. Thanksgiving,” that much was clear. That episode didn’t mince words about the stresses the holidays can bring, nor did it refrain from highlighting the selfish nature that people can focus on instead of family. The episode’s sweet ending, with the family taking “another chance” to spend the holidays together, came with a subversive gag about Homer taking credit for Bart’s emotional growth.

By contrast, “Thanksgiving of Horror” was a much sillier affair. The more subversive elements of the episode, found in the second segment, hit far harder, in keeping with its inspiration in the recently renovated black mirror. The installment was more overtly silly and overall darker, including some particularly gruesome on-screen deaths in the first and third segments. In addition to reflecting the more general acceptance of violence on modern television, the anthology episode spoke to the way in which The Simpsons he has evolved to be willing to defy tradition and genre for a quick laugh. Both episodes were solid entries in their respective seasons, but they prove that the series has become a looser, more ambitious animated show than it was decades ago.

The Simpsons is now streaming on Disney+.

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