The Simpsons: Season 1 (1989 - 1990)


Season 1
The Simpsons

Critics Consensus

The Simpsons' first season proves a quickly addictive introduction to America's animated first family with a run of entertaining episodes that set the stage for a groundbreaking series.



Critic Ratings: 17


Audience Score

User Ratings: 296

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Air date: Dec 17, 1989

The Simpsons Christmas Special is actually the first full-length episode of the popular animated television sitcom. In this episode, Bart gets a tattoo, and all of the family's Christmas money has to be used to surgically remove the tattoo from his arm. Not only was the family's savings drained, but Homer's Christmas bonus never materialized, so he's forced to take a job as a mall Santa to earn money for the holiday season. But Homer decides to spend the money at the racetrack, where he bets all of his salary on a greyhound called "Santa's Little Helper".

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Air date: Jan 14, 1990

Academics have never been a priority for Bart Simpson (voice of Nancy Cartwright), and when Mrs. Krabappel (voice of Marcia Wallace) hands out a standardized IQ test that will "merely determine your future social stature and financial success," Bart hedges his bets by swiping a test from class brain Martin Prince (voice of Russi Taylor) and putting his name on it. Bart is as surprised as anyone when "his" test results confirm he has a genius IQ (while Martin is revealed to not be especially bright), and suddenly the school's staff decides Bart's rebellious behavior and previous poor grades were merely a product of boredom and dissatisfaction. Bart is transferred from Springfield Elementary to the Enriched Learning Center for Gifted Children, and he discovers his father Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) has a new respect and admiration for him. But Bart finds life among the super-intelligent is rough sledding, and his brighter sister Lisa (voice of Yeardley Smith) has a hard time believing her brother is a genius. "Bart the Genius" was first aired on January 14, 1990.

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Air date: Jan 21, 1990

Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) has never been one of the more distinguished employees at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, but he reaches the last straw after a long series of accidents when he crashes an electric cart into a pipe full of radioactive waste -- just as his son Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright) is touring the plant with his class from school. Homer has no luck finding a new job, and falls into a deep depression; eventually, Homer decides to drown himself by jumping off a bridge, but when his family arrives at the last moment to save him, they're nearly hit by a speeding car. Deciding the intersection near the bridge is dangerous, Homer appears at a Springfield City Council meeting to demand a stop sign be installed; when the council agrees, Homer decides he's found a new purpose in life, and he becomes Springfield's leading safety crusader. Before long, Homer has become affiliated with People Against People for Nuclear Energy, a group looking to close down the Nuclear Power Plant for a number of safety violations. But Homer still needs a job, and he finds himself torn when the plant's owner Mr. Burns (voice of Harry Shearer) offers him a cushy, higher-paying job to shut him up. "Homer's Odyssey" was first aired on January 21, 1990.

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Air date: Jan 28, 1990

C. Montgomery Burns (voice of Harry Shearer), owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant -- and boss to Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) -- throws his annual employee picnic, which is hardly a relaxing experience for his workers, since he insists on winning all the games and tends to fire people who don't enjoy themselves. After observing the more highly functional families of his co-workers, Homer becomes depressed, convinced that the Simpsons are the worst family in Springfield. Determined to get his relationship with his wife and children back on track, Homer pawns the family's television and enrolls them all in group therapy with nationally advertised psychotherapist Dr. Marvin Monroe (voice of Shearer), who offers to give his patients double their money back if he can't resolve their issues. But Monroe soon realizes he's never been up against a challenge like treating the Simpsons. "There's No Disgrace Like Home" was first aired on January 28, 1990.

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Air date: Feb 4, 1990

Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright) makes the mistake of trying to protect a batch of cupcakes Lisa (voice of Yeardley Smith) made for her teacher from schoolyard bully and thug in training Nelson (voice of Cartwright). Nelson gives Bart a beating, and promises more of the same; Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) suggests that Bart try to reason with the bully, while Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) tells his son that fighting dirty is the only answer. Neither strategy seems to work, so Bart turns to Grampa Simpson (voice of Castellaneta) for advice. With the help of Herman (voice of Harry Shearer), the mildly insane owner of a store specializing in military relics, Bart and Grampa organize his fellow fourth graders into an army and orchestrate an all-out water-balloon war against Nelson and his fellow bullies. "Bart the General" was first aired on February 4, 1990.

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Air date: Feb 11, 1990

Lisa Simpson (voice of Yeardley Smith) is used to being a misfit, but one day she finds herself overcome by feelings of depression, and nothing she does seems to make her feel better. Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) is concerned, but can't seem to figure out what the matter is, and urges her daughter to ignore her feelings and put on a happy face. Lisa, however, makes friends with local jazz musician Bleeding Gums Murphy (voice of Ron Taylor), who shows her how to work out her bad feelings by playing the blues. Marge, however, isn't so sure that playing blues riffs will really help Lisa in the long run. Meanwhile, Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) has problems with Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright), who has been subjecting Homer to a series of "defeats -- correction, humiliating defeats" on their video boxing game; Homer is convinced he has to start winning if he wants to regain the respect of his son. "Moaning Lisa" first aired on February 11, 1990.

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Air date: Feb 18, 1990

When his next-door neighbor Ned Flanders (voice of Harry Shearer) rolls up with a fancy new mobile home, Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) becomes jealous and decides he needs an RV of his own. However, given the dismal state of his credit rating, Homer has to settle for a used camper that's on its last legs. Undaunted, Homer rounds up the family and they set out for a camping trip; the Simpsons barely escape when the camper rolls over a cliff, and they find themselves forced to fend for themselves in the wilderness. Homer and Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright) volunteer to find civilization and come back to rescue Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) and Lisa (voice of Yeardley Smith), but a series of misadventures causes Homer to lose his clothing and he's soon captured by scientists convinced he's Bigfoot, while baby Maggie is adopted by a family of bears. Albert Brooks makes a guest appearance as the voice of Bob, the RV salesman. "The Call of the Simpson" was first aired on February 18, 1990.

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Air date: Feb 25, 1990

While Bart Simpson (voice of Nancy Cartwright) may be the terror of the fourth grade, his delinquency is small potatoes compared to Jimbo (voice of Pamela Hayden), an older aspiring hooligan who runs with a crowd of rough kids. Bart decides to take in a showing of "Space Mutants IV" at the local movie house, but before he can buy his ticket, he runs into Jimbo, who offers to let Bart sneak in with him and his friends through the theater's rear exit. After spending the afternoon with Jimbo and his friends, Bart wants to do something to really impress his new pals; after joining them as they throw rocks at a statue of Jebediah Springfield, the town's founder, Bart thinks of a way to really show Jimbo he's tough -- he cuts off the statue's head. Soon it seems everyone in Springfield is up in arms about this act of vandalism -- including Jimbo, who informs Bart "I'd never cut the head off a guy who iced a bear with his bare hands!" Bart belatedly comes to the conclusion that he's gone too far, and owns up to the crime to his parents. Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) decides to help Bart return the head, but they run afoul of an angry mob protesting the desecration of the statue. "The Telltale Head" was first aired on February 25, 1990.

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Air date: Mar 18, 1990

Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) has a reputation for not being very good at picking out gifts for his wife Marge (voice of Julie Kavner), as evidenced by such past birthday presents as a tackle box and a Connie Chung calendar, but he hits a new low when Marge finds she's the recipient of a new bowling ball -- which has been drilled to fit Homer's hand and even has his name engraved on it. Marge is furious that Homer used her birthday as an excuse to get himself a gift, and while she doesn't bowl, she decides to learn just out of spite. Marge's early attempts to teach herself the game are disastrous, but she soon attracts the attention of Jacques (voice of Albert Brooks), a local professional bowler who has a French accent and a way with the ladies. Marge is more than flattered by the attention she's receiving from Jacques (who, just because he likes her, cuts his lesson fee from $50 to $25), and she begins spending more and more time with him. But when Jacques asks her to spend the afternoon at his apartment, she wonders if she ought to leave her marriage behind. Homer, Lisa (voice of Yeardley Smith), and Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright) all suspect that something more than a friendly game of ten pins is going on between Marge and Jacques, and all react with different degrees of dread. "Life on the Fast Lane" first aired on March 18, 1990.

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Air date: Mar 25, 1990

Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) informs his wife Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) that he has to attend a party for a co-worker who is about to be married, but he reassures her it will be a subdued affair. With Homer out for the evening, Marge opts to take Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright) and Lisa (voice of Yeadley Smith) out for dinner to The Rusty Barnacle, a local seafood restaurant -- not knowing that the bachelor party is being held in a banquet room at the same restaurant. Bart is poking around the restaurant with his new miniature camera when he stumbles into the party and sees Homer dancing with Princess Kashmir (voice of Maggie Roswell), an exotic dancer hired as entertainment. Bart snaps a few pictures of Homer and Princess Kashmir together, and gives a copy of one to his friend Milhouse (voice of Pamela Hayden); Milhouse begins making copies of the snapshot, and soon it seems everyone in Springfield has seen the picture. When Marge gets wind of this, she's understandably furious, not only because her husband lied to her, but for setting a bad example to Bart. Homer, seeking forgiveness, spends the evening trying to find Princess Kashmir with Bart in tow, hoping to show his son that the dancer is more than just a sexual object, but before long, Homer has taken his son on a tour of every strip joint in town. "Homer's Night Out" was first aired March 25, 1990.

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The Simpsons: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

FOX's landmark animated comedy began in December 1989 with the episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," in which family patriarch Homer deals with a Christmas in which he's too poor to buy presents by adopting a canine from the local dog-racing track named Santa's Little Helper. While the show was a phenomenon almost from the get-go (with the face of 10-year-old hell-raiser and initial breakout character Bart Simpson appearing on just about every form of merchandise imaginable), few could have predicted then that "The Simpsons" would become a cultural institution, running for over two decades and defining the comedic sensibilities of a generation. In the first series, the animation was noticeably cruder and some of the voice actors were still figuring out their characters (Dan Castellaneta stated that he based Homer's voice in the early going on Walter Matthau), but the show still excelled at telling small-scale stories about a lower-middle-class family trying to get by: Homer gets fired from his job at the nuclear power plant and tries to get rehired, Bart deals with a bully and Lisa befriends a jazz saxophonist who helps cure her depression. In time, "The Simpsons" would evolve into nothing less than an elaborate satire of every aspect of American life in the late-20th century, with jokes that ranged from highbrow literary references to humor so stupid it was almost zen; here at the very beginning, it was simply an idiosyncratic show that was equal parts hilarious and heartwarming.

Cast & Crew

Hank Azaria
Moe Szyslak/Apu Nahasapeemapetilon/Chief Clancy Wiggum/Dr. Nick Riviera/Carl Carlson
Nancy Cartwright
Bartholomew Jo-Jo "Bart" Simpson/Nelson Muntz
Yeardley Smith
Lisa Simpson
Julie Kavner
Marge Simpson
Harry Shearer
Principal Seymour Skinner/Ned Flanders
Dan Castellaneta
Homer Jay Simpson
Pamela Hayden
Milhouse Van Houten
Maggie Roswell
Maude Flanders / Helen Lovejoy / Others
Jo Ann Harris
Susan / Collette the Waitress
Marcia Wallace
Mrs. Krabappel / Others
Russi Taylor
Dr. Hibbert's Daughter / Sherri / Terri / Martin Prince
Albert Brooks
Dr. Raufbold
Susan Blu
Howie / Boy 2
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News & Interviews for The Simpsons: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Simpsons Season 1

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (10)

The citizens of Springfield deliver fresh stories, sharp barbs, and unique lessons on family, week in and week out - on a broadcast schedule, no less.

Jul 5, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

...10 times funnier than The Flintstones...

Jan 17, 2018 | Full Review…

An endless, imponderable, unstoppable Niagara of sight gags, jokes, one-liners, characters and stories that explore everything from the meaning of God to the anti-allure of Duff Beer.

Aug 20, 2014 | Rating: A | Full Review…
Top Critic

But "Simpsons" fans have long been more Comic Book Guy than Troy McClure - so quality be damned; for those of us among the obsessed, it's a must-have for archival purposes.

Jun 13, 2018 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

A Fox press release says the Simpsons "represent the American family at its wildest!" Not true: The Simpsons are the American family at its most complicated, drawn as simple cartoons.

Nov 8, 2017 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Do not miss this half hour. It's a flat-out howl. It's also warm . . . uh, I think.

Nov 9, 2017 | Full Review…

A masterpiece which could pass as a work in progress.

Dec 26, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

There are more addictive series... (especially now that the old auto-conclusive plot formula seems so passé), but we will always have Springfield. [Full review in Spanish]

Aug 14, 2018 | Full Review…

This addition, a mordant animated series from cartoonist Matt Groening, is the most subversive beast in the Fox den, and, at least initially, the wittiest.

Nov 9, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

What is far more remarkable is how many of the elements that came to define the show were already in place that very first episode.

Nov 16, 2017 | Full Review…

What's great is seeing the characters start to find their personas and how the laughs were achieved through some inventive animation and crackerjack writing.

Nov 10, 2017 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

... it wouldn't take long after "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" for the series to find its funny.

Nov 10, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Simpsons: Season 1

  • Sep 14, 2020
    Although currently the last seasons of The Simpsons are not as special as the first, this series, after 30 years and counting, shows that it still has a lot to tell and that it is still very entertaining.
  • Aug 09, 2020
    Wow hilarious cartoon and mad
  • Jul 21, 2020
    Entertaining and much more wholesome than recent seasons
  • Jan 17, 2020
    The one that started it all, you really can't go wrong with this show. And if you're starting from the beginning it's only getting better from here.... at least for the next dozen or so seasons.
  • Jul 28, 2019
    Wow! My journey on completing The Simpsonsnhas started! The first season was surprisingly mellow for the Homer Simpson we are well accustomed to today. The first season brought more down to earth laughs but laughs indeed! It was certainly a worthwhile watch ScreenScore = 100% A+
  • Mar 08, 2019
    The first season was rough compared to the seasons that will come after it, but it is still a must watch season.
  • Feb 26, 2019
    The First season of The Simpsons is the best.
  • Jan 21, 2019
    The first season has a lot of heart and the characters are lovable and care about each other. The show also manages to be very funny on top of it all.
  • Jan 09, 2019
    Back in 1987 when The Simpsons was first broadcasted on The Tracey Ullman show, everybody loved it and most probably wanted a television series to be made so Matt Groening then made a TV show which is the longest prime time television series of all times with 30 seasons on air. The Simpsons series 1 is one of the best series I have seen so far (season 1-6 I have seen) due to the brilliant pilot which is one of the funniest and all time greatest Simpsons episodes ever broadcasted on Fox, great story plots, funny episodes and they way that they dealt with serious issues (e.g. Homer wanted to commit suicide, and Homer saying that women are not objects). So overall, I love Simpsons series 1 and I think that it is a great start to the show which would draw fans in for a second. Even though some episodes weren't that good (e.g. The Telltale Head, Life On The Fast Lane and The Crepes of Warth) still watch this series if you haven't already.
  • Nov 27, 2018
    Good but the animations and jokes are not quite improved yet which makes it kind of inferior to some later seasons

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