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TV Review: ‘The Simpsons’ Premieres on Fox

The Simpsons Christmas Marathon

This animated spec, based on “The Tracey Ullman Show” spinoff that preems as a Fox series Jan. 14, rings in as colorful, wry and often funny.

Homer Simpson, readying for Christmas with his family, is told that the nuclear plant at which he works isn’t giving a bonus. Not wanting to tell his kind, bluehaired wife or meir three children, Homer says he’s going Christmas shopping. The deception has its own insightful payoff, and writer Mimi Pond develops Christmas ironies to good advantage — the overly decorated house next door, a Santa training sesh, Homer chasing down a Christmas tree, even a dog race on Christmas Eve with a surprising prize.

The satire centers on the family.Exec producers-developers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and Sam Simon, scrutinizing cracks and crevices in American family life, apply them to the Simpsons. Young son Bart is passing through a warped period; bright daughter Lisa, who wants a pony, is too goody-goody for words; young Maggie toddles through gurgling on her pacifier.

New series should fit well into the Fox lineup if the characters and situations sustain the level of this initial effort.

Animation work is poster bright, and the figures are engaging. Series looks like a good bet.