Sorry if my question is a silly one. I wasn't even born when the first ever Simpsons episode was aired. I am watching them from the beginning but I'm wondering was there any shows before the S1E01 - "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" ?

In the 138th special episode (The Simpsons [7x10] The Simpson's 138th Show Spectacular), it shows some clips they didn't air, which I can recall most of them. But the characters look much different so I'm not sure it was a parody or whether there was some shows prior to the first official episode.

Sherlock had such episode. Can anyone remember if there was anything aired before the first episode? Also, that very first episode starts without any specific introduction to characters. Is it the norm?

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    Most likely this was footage from when the Simpson were still little 3 minute intermezzos in the Tracey Ullman Show (which I think the 138th Show Spectacular even mentioned). Other than that, this episode also had a significant mockumentary chracter, so it's also possible those particular clips were made up for that episode (yet, those older looks are indeed how they looked in the Tracey Ullman Show back then). (And why didn't I just make this an answer instead of a comment? Damnit, too late.) ;-(
    – Napoleon Wilson
    May 19, 2014 at 14:46
  • While it sometimes happens that TV shows have an unaired pilot, I think the Sherlock example you mention is a little bit different: It does not feature an independent story, but is (almost) identical to the aired pilot, just with a different atmosphere. I think they reshot the same episode because they were not happy with it.
    – magnattic
    May 19, 2014 at 14:50
  • @atticae What? There is a different and reshot pilot for Sherlock?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    May 19, 2014 at 14:52
  • @AnkitSharma Yeah, that's why I should have started it as an answer in the first place (I was even sure somebody would pick that up quite fast, since I think it's quite common knowledge).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    May 19, 2014 at 14:53
  • @NapoleonWilson The one you probably know is the "remake". There was an unaired pilot with the same actors and story, but it was considerably darker, so BBC decided to make another version and never aired the original one. (This is getting off-topic. ;)
    – magnattic
    May 19, 2014 at 14:56

2 Answers 2


Not exactly, there are The Simpsons shorts which aired before "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".

The Simpsons shorts are a series of 48 one-minute shorts that ran on the variety show The Tracey Ullman Show for three seasons, before the characters spun off into The Simpsons, their own half-hour prime time show. It features the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.

Five of these shorts were later used in the clip show episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" on the half-hour show, which was released on the Season 7 DVD.

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    Thank you very much! I didn't have a clue about those shorts. More stuff to watch - woohoo!
    – AKS
    May 19, 2014 at 14:57
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    Incidentally, the first full episode actually produced was "Some Enchanted Evening" but it had many problems which required moving it to the end of the season. May 19, 2014 at 19:05
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    @DisgruntledGoat: "Technical problems" is an understatement. The Simpsons Season One DVDs include about the first 15 minutes of the original animated version of that episode. The animators apparently thought the producers wanted a much "rougher" look than was intended, and the producers didn't realize that until much of the animation was done. Had the show aired as animated I don't know that it would have lasted five weeks.
    – supercat
    Jun 21, 2015 at 23:45
  • This doesn't answer the question "Is “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” really the first episode?".
    – user598527
    Feb 2, 2018 at 12:29

Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire was indeed the series premiere of The Simpsons (although it was the 8th episode produced). But before that, the family debuted as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, some of which looked cruder than later ones. The Simpson's 138th Show Spectacular features some footage from these shorts.

  • Thank you for your answer :) I'm really glad I could discover them. I marked the other reply as the answer because it was 2 minutes earlier to this, but both answers are equality helpful. Thanks again.
    – AKS
    May 19, 2014 at 14:58
  • No problem. :) Sorry for the lateness; will delete.
    – Walt
    May 19, 2014 at 16:48
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    PLEASE DON'T!...
    – AKS
    May 19, 2014 at 16:48
  • Figured it was superfluous, but will keep it if you want. Sorry again. :)
    – Walt
    May 19, 2014 at 16:53
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    Also, this answer has some information the other one hasn't, that it was the 8th episode produced.
    – SQB
    May 20, 2014 at 7:55

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