The Simpsons Squeaking Pork Chop Thing.

The Simpsons Christmas Special debuted on 12/17/1989, and I was there. On the couch, I mean. Watched it, laughed and loved it — and especially loved the teaser that ran during one of the commercial breaks, announcing that the gang wasn’t stopping with a mere one-off, but was soon to bloom into a weekly series. (Little did I know that it should have been a series by the time the Christmas special aired, but that’s a long story.)

I was a huge Simpsons fan even before the special. I gutted through every episode of The Tracy Ullman Show waiting for my prehistoric Bart shorts, thinking they were cooler, edgier and more hilarious than anything I’d ever seen. Now that I think about it, staying glued to Fox for those Simpsons shorts is the reason why I am only person alive who can sing the complete theme song to Open House.

This entry isn’t about Simpsons history or my early obsession with the series, or even about the Christmas special as a whole. It’s about that one scene within it. The one with the squeaking pork chop.

Think about all of the Christmas movies, Christmas specials and random Christmas-themed television episodes you’ve seen. Within those stories, you’ve seen many fictitious characters receive lots of great presents. Perhaps you’ve had a few favorites. I know I did. Rand Peltzer’s gift of Gizmo, from Gremlins, tops the list. Then there’s the zeppelin replica from A Christmas Story. And the robot Santa Claus genie machine from the the beginning of A Garfield Christmas.

Further down the list: The squeaking pork chop from The Simpsons Christmas Special. Not as impressive as mogwais or zeppelins, but oh so much easier to obtain. This is its story. The story of a pork chop dog toy.

In the episode, Homer volunteers to shop for the family’s Christmas gifts, so Marge won’t learn that his standard Christmas bonus check was discontinued. On the hunt for cheap presents, he visits the “Circus of Values,” a store blending elements from every Dollar Tree and Jembro that you’ve ever visited.

Pushing a creaking cart and rationalizing his shitty gift choices (pantyhose and legal pads), Homer turns his attention to Maggie’s present, ending up at a large display of crummy dog toys. There, he grabs it. The one. The only. The squeaking pork chop.

It’s going to be tough to explain why, but for me, something clicked. I fell in love. I wanted that dog toy. I completely and totally accepted it as a valid Christmas gift. Maybe it was the neat little polybag it came in, which Homer gently ripped open. Maybe it was the pork chop itself. A perfect replica. One that squeaked.

This wasn’t a major plot point. The pork chop was in and out. Somehow, I’ve never forgotten it. Not once in over twenty damned years. Every time my eyes drift in a pet store, they’re looking for a squeaking pork chop. Every time I’m about to skip the pet aisle in a supermarket because I don’t need bird seed or Alpo, I make the left turn anyway.

What was it about that thing that seemed so magical? Despite the scene’s meaning, I actually found myself envying the Simpson children for their upcoming gifts of pads and, god yes, squeaking meat.

I could psychoanalyze myself, but what’s more important: Finding out why I like squeaking pork chops, or owning squeaking pork chops?

It is every bit as incredible as I’ve imagined. It’s bright, it’s tasteful, and when I squish it, it sounds like a retarded bird. I love it. I don’t even care that it might be a normal steak and not a pork chop.

And sure, I would’ve preferred my squeaking pork chop to arrive polybagged like Homer’s did, but for what it’s worth, that’s a great tag. It has Lassie on it. Its company logo looks like a sign for a Chinese food restaurant, right down to “Pet King” being so ridiculously similar to “Peking.” Everything about this pork chop is perfect.

Is it the best Christmas present ever fabricated by the entertainment industry? No, but it’s the best one that I can find at a dollar store. Gizmo will never be mine, and if I want that vintage zeppelin, I’ll need to bid something like eighty thousand dollars on eBay. Sometimes, we have to adjust our dreams so they’re capable of achieving. Or maybe I just really do like this squeaking pork chop more than anything else, ever.

There’s no moral to this story. I had no end goal in mind. I just really like the squeaking pork chop, and I wanted to say so.

Long live it. It being the chop.

Harley u so cute.

He’s right.

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79 Responses to The Simpsons Squeaking Pork Chop Thing.

  1. Teddy Ray says:

    The Simpsons is my second favorite show ever…just behind Lost…so I must comment.

    First of all, great post, Matt.

    I love me some Simpsons. I’ve got a ton of the action figures, I had the first album on cassette tape, bought the hell out of the trading cards…my wife even made a cover for my wheelchair cushion out of some Simpsons fabric she got at Wal Mart. I have the first eleven seasons on DVD and hope to get twelve and thirteen for my birthday or Christmas. It broke my heart when the movie came out because I was in the hospital…it was during my thirteen month stretch, so I missed it completely. If there was ONE movie that I was meant to see in the theater, it was The Simpsons Movie, dammit! AND there are no 7-11’s in Georgia, so I couldn’t even send anyone to get me the cool Simpsons promo stuff they had! I remember having a dream about going to one of the 7-11 Kwik-E-Marts, though.

    If I was going to pop someone’s Simpson’s cherry, I’d probably start with There’s No Disgrace Like Home…just for the electroshock scene.

  2. Mike says:

    I was stuck at church playing one of the wise men when this aired; but my dad was home and he taped it. So technically I did see it on December 17th (the day after my sixth birthday!). But I agree, Matt. Something always seemed so pleasant about Homer’s gift choices. Especially with his rationalizing (Oooh, pads of paper! Bart could think of a million things to do with these!)about such silly items. As a standalone episode, it’s funny. But in today’s Christmas special viewing, it’s especially stirring.

  3. Shantel says:

    Matt! Where’d you get that Crite plush?! I’d like to have one of those! 😀

  4. Molly says:

    Yeah, I may have also bought myself a squeaky porkchop when I saw one at the pet store. I don’t have a dog. I just wanted the damn thing because it reminded me of the Simpsons premiere.

    I don’t know what I did with it. Probably gave it to someone I know who actually has a dog. But for the time I owned it, I was the happiest girl on the planet.

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