The Simpsons Best Christmas Episode Was Inspired By A True Story

One of the most-loved Christmas episodes of The Simpsons was inspired by a real-life incident from the writer’s childhood. While most episodes of The Simpsons are too surreal and silly to have a basis in reality, on occasion, the show’s writers will pull details from their real lives and incorporate them into the anarchic animated comedy. For example, the classic Simpsons Christmas episode season 7, episode 11’s “Marge Be Not Proud" was inspired by a real story involving episode writer Mike Scully.

The Simpsons does not root much of its comedy in reality. As proven by the many celebrities killed off on The Simpsons, the show operates into its own heightened world wherein absurd occurrences are commonplace. However, “Marge Be Not Proud" proves that the real-life experiences of the writing staff can make for critically-acclaimed outings of the series.

Related: The Simpsons Finally Revealed How Homer Lost His Mom

When Simpsons writer Mike Scully pitched a Christmas episode wherein Bart was caught stealing a video game and grew distant from his mother Marge as a result, he was pulling inspiration from a traumatic real-life experience in his own childhood. Scully was the Bart stand-in in his real-life story, wherein a group of older kids pressured the 12-year-old Scully into robbing something from a discount store. Scully was caught outside and said the experience was “one of the most traumatic moments of my life,” later joking that it was great to be paid to relive such an unpleasant time via The Simpsons Christmas episode.

Fortunately for Scully, mining his personal past for story material proved a successful endeavor. “Marge Be Not Proud” remains one of the Simpsons’ best-loved festive outings even decades later, despite having competition as impressive as the show’s pilot episode. Thanks to its combination of surreal silliness, like Lawrence Tierney’s inspired casting unhinged security guard, and more grounded, moving family drama,  “Marge Be Not Proud” was one of the show’s most successful attempts to tell a moving story without sacrificing mile-a-minute humor. In the decades since the episode first aired, The Simpsons have made many more holiday episodes.

When “Marge Be Not Proud" was released, The SimpsonsHalloween Treehouse of Horror horror parodies were already an annual institution and since then, the show has released more than a dozen Christmas episodes. However, few of these recaptured the balance of moving character work and goofy humor found in “Marge Be Not Proud." Following Marge and Bart’s tearful reunion with an extended playthrough of "Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge" showed the sublime and the ridiculous that epitomized the comic inspiration The Simpsons reached in its Golden Age - something few shows have been able to replicate since. Hopefully, this made it worth The Simpsons writer Mike Scully revisiting one of his darkest memories to come up with the outing’s plot.

More: The Simpsons Season 33 Just Retconned One of Its Most Loved Episodes

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