As far as adaptations go, this festive special takes an approach that is not unlike rebuilding a listed house - as long as one of the original walls remains standing, then it still counts.
This is perhaps the loosest interpretation of "A Christmas Carol" I have thus far seen, and there is probably a fair argument to be made that this is more of an ode to TV Christmas specials than a take on the classic tale - but I love "The Simpsons" and it's just close enough to the story to count as far as I'm concerned!
This episode finds Homer in a particularly selfish mood. After buying key rings for all of his family, he spends his new found fortune on an expensive, unnecessary astrolabe for himself.
It takes a late night in front of the TV, watching an animated version of "A Christmas Carol" on TV (at which point, Homer realises that the story is "like me if I were a cartoon") for him to see the error of his ways. As the adaptation draws to a close, he understands that he has become a Scrooge and elects to become "the nicest man in town."
This is a very enjoyable episode that has plenty of fun with TV adaptations of "A Christmas Carol" - particularly the splendid "Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol." Unlike those versions, Homer's redemption story goes beyond mere generosity and actually becomes a rival to his neighbour, Ned Flanders.
It may not be anything close to a faithful adaptation, but it is knowing enough and aware of its own ties to the original tale, that make this a very enjoyable tale - that is only tangentially related to "A Christmas Carol."
As loosely hung as tinsel.
"The Simpsons: 'Tis the Fifteenth Season." (2003) 4/5