After an ozone hole moves over Springfield, Bart and Milhouse remain inside the house. Owing to boredom, they dress up as ladies and jump on the bed (singing "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves"). Bart falls off of the bed and lands on one of Homer's bowling balls and breaks his coccyx. Dr. Hibbert informs Homer and Marge that Bart will have to use a wheelchair until the bone has healed.
When Bart attends school the following day, he cannot enter the school, for it lacks ramps for the disabled. Principal Skinner initially believes it is another of Bart's pranks. As Skinner verbally considers ramps for the school, Fat Tony emerges and suggests that his construction company, Valdazzo Brothers Olive Oil, would be a good choice of company to build it. After the ramps are completed, Skinner holds a grand opening for the ramps. Unfortunately by this time, it is revealed that Bart's "butt-bone" has healed. However, Skinner remains optimistic for the ramps' future. As he reassuringly taps the ramps, they crumble and the structure collapses, as they are built using paint, breadsticks, and shellac. Fat Tony informs Skinner that he will have to pay $200,000 in damages. In response, Principal Skinner decides to close Springfield Elementary due to lack of funds (having used them to pay off Fat Tony and thus avoid brutal mob reprisals). All pleas for financial help are in vain, until Jim Hope, the president of a company named Kid First Industries, buys the school and privatizes it.
The whole of the school's staff is replaced; the teaching direction changes and classes focus on toys and marketing. This makes Lisa suspicious when her class is asked to name a new toy that they will sell for Christmas. Lisa is caught doing Venn Diagrams in class and is forced to write lines after class. Bart finds Lisa writing lines on the blackboard, and states "The ironing is delicious" (misstating "irony" as "ironing"). As Bart leaves and turns off the classroom lights, Lisa finds light shining through the blackboard. Lisa later discovers that company that bought the school is a toy company, using students for research to make a toy, through the use of hidden cameras, tape recording and clear, two-way blackboards.
Lisa gathers Marge, Homer and Chief Wiggum to investigate. Wiggum opens the door adjacent to the classroom and it is revealed the hidden room was reconverted back into a janitor's closet. This causes Wiggum to disbelieve Lisa (he also does an Ed Sullivan impression). When Bart and Lisa are back at home, watching television, they see an advertisement for a new toy named Funzo (a name that was suggested by Lisa). The toy has many features suggested during a brainstorming session, including one of Bart's suggestions. Lisa takes Bart to the Kid First Industries headquarters, sneaking past Gary Coleman (as a security guard with varying mental health). They visit Jim Hope's office to complain, and he apologetically gives them a free Funzo toy.
Bart and Lisa later discover Funzo is programmed to destroy other toys. On Christmas Eve, with Homer's help, they steal all the Funzo toys from underneath every Christmas tree in Springfield with the intention of burning them. However, Gary Coleman comes to stop them. The two parties begin an argument, which settles down into civilized discussion. Just after they agree that Christmas' commercialization is a mixed blessing, a Funzo suddenly emerges from the fire and attacks them, only to be defeated by Coleman. Afterwards, they invite Gary Coleman to a Christmas dinner at the Simpson house. As for Springfield Elementary, Mr. Burns has a change of heart after being visited by the 3 spirits of Christmas and decides to fund the school and it resumes normal operation.
The episode made its home video debut on the Christmas with the Simpsons DVD, released in 2003. It was later included on The Simpsons: The Complete 11th Season DVD set in 2008.
|Dan Castellaneta|| Homer Simpson|
Krusty the Clown
|Julie Kavner||Marge Simpson|
|Nancy Cartwright|| Bart Simpson|
|Yeardley Smith||Lisa Simpson|
|Pamela Hayden||Milhouse Van Houten|
|Tress MacNeille|| Plaintiff|
|Russi Taylor|| Sherri|
|Maggie Roswell||Miss Hoover|
|Hank Azaria|| Moe|
Court show announcer
|Harry Shearer|| Kent Brockman|
Principal Seymour Skinner
|Joe Mantegna||Fat Tony|
|Tim Robbins||Jim Hope|
- The Simpsons Wiki: Grift of the Magi
- "Grift of the Magi" at the Simpsons Archive
- "Grift of the Magi" at TV.com