“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” (1989) and the Diminished Respect for Fatherhood

The very first episode of The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” debuted the series on December 17th, 1989– roughly twenty-five years ago (I was there watching it live), launching the series and the family into the forever consciousness of pop-culture. I recently re-watched the episode and it shocked me how different the series was when it initially aired.

Watching an episode of today’s Simpsons reveals an entirely different show. The Homer character, while likable and endearing, is emasculated, negligent of others, and mentally handicapped.

Upon re-watching the first episode, Homer is instead presented as a sympathetic, under appreciated father whom, despite his best efforts, finds tremendous difficulty in providing a perfect family life for his wife and children.

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