Recap / The Simpsons S 4 E 20 Whacking Day
Episode - 9F18
First Aired - 4/29/1993

Bart is expelled from school after running down the Superintendent with Groundskeeper Willie's tractor, and Marge takes to home-schooling Bart after transferring him to another school proves useless. Meanwhile, Lisa is sickened and disgusted by an upcoming town holiday where snakes are driven to the center of town and beaten.

The episode was awarded the Genesis Award for "Best Television Prime Time Animated Series" in 1994 for "consciousness-raising on behalf of animal issues."

This episode contains examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Homer's Whacking Day-style karate moves. Worth noting, given that most episodes before and after this one establish that Homer is so fat and out of shape that the slightest movement leaves him winded.
  • Artistic License History: Grampa's story about how he had to pose as a German cabaret singer after he got separated from his platoon during a raid in Dusseldorf is impossible, not just because of how cartoonish the flashback was, but because the German cabaret was outlawed in 1935, with many involved either fleeing the country or getting put in concentration camps due to their anti-Nazi views (and some of the performers possibly being Jewish). The Dusseldorf air raid that Grampa was said to be a part of happened in 1942.
  • As Himself: Barry White
  • Big "WHAT?!": After Homer asks how school went:
    Bart: I got expelled.
    Homer: That's my boy. [takes a drink] Mmm, beer. WHAT?!
  • Blatant Lies: When Marge decides to homeschool Bart, she turns the garage into a classroom with Bart as her only student and nobody but the two of them there. When Marge is hit with a paper airplane, he says he didn't do it.
  • Brick Joke: The story starts with Principal Skinner locking Bart, Nelson, Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney in the school's bomb shelter before the superintendent's inspection. Bart is able to get out, but the other bullies are forgotten about — until the end when Skinner invites Bart back to school for saving the town, then realizes that he didn't let the bullies out of the bomb shelter (and the bullies have started a support group about their behavior).
  • Censor Box: Parodied in the news report about a nudist colony for animals.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The crowd cheering Barry White when, after having just learned that Whacking Day involves slaughtering snakes, he expresses his disgust of them for supporting such an observance.
    Barry White: Were they even listening to me?
    Mayor Quimby: I, uh, don't think so.
    • Earlier:
    Jimbo: How are we gonna get out of here?
    Nelson: And when do we get our mountain bikes?
  • Contrived Coincidence: Barry White passing by the Simpsons' house after telling the crowd how disgusted he was at Whacking Day, just as Bart and Lisa are looking for music with bass to lure the snakes to safety.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Apu tells his customers he's hidden a snake in the store and the one who finds and kills it wins a free squishie. Cue everyone ransacking the place and breaking merchandize and everything else in the store.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Bart is kicked out of a Christian school in just a few seconds for singing a song about beans.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Superintendent Chalmers coming to the school is shown to be a very big deal, implying that such a thing rarely happens. Chalmers slowly started to appear more and more often until eventually he started appearing essentially whenever Skinner appeared, and was often treated as another employee of the school, appearing at student events, teacher meetings, or just whenever Skinner catches Bart committing another prank.
    • Also, he is shown to be a very neutral and steadfast inspector of the school, with no ill will towards anybody, at least until Willie's tractor hit him. In later episodes, he shows an extreme distaste for Skinner (while still usually supporting his authoritarian or corrupt plans), allowing for his Catch-Phrase "SKIN-NER!" to come into being. In fact, a lot of modern episodes have him appear just to make a joke about the catchphrase.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Principal Skinner gives one after tricking bad students out of the way.
    • The pipe on Willie's tractor after getting Bart expelled.
  • Folk Hero: Jebediah Springfield's tale of whacking snakes turns out to be an excuse to beat up the Irish.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Lisa is horrified by what's being done to the snakes. Barry White, too.
  • Funny Bruce Lee Noises: Homer makes them while training for Whacking Day.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Some of the lines of dialogue and scenes centered on Whacking Day can be construed as sexual: Marge getting aroused when Homer tests out his new whacking stick, Homer asking Marge if he should start out slow or go fast when whacking snacks, and Miss Springfield opening the festivities with "Gentlemen, start your whacking!"
  • Homeschooled Kids: Marge turns the garage into a classroom so Bart will be schooled.
  • Imagine Spot: When Homer talks to Lisa. When she remarks about how Whacking Day is bad, Homer describes human nature as a constant conflict between good and evil that cannot be resolved.
    Evil Homer: (while dancing on Good Homer's grave with maracas) I am Evil Homer! I am Evil Homer! I am Evil Homer! I am Evil Homer!
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: While target practice in training for Whacking Day, Wiggum tells Eddy and Lou to aim for the body of a paper target of a snake. A light next to the target is promptly shot out.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: After tricking bad students out of the way for an inspection, Principal Skinner gives an Evil Laugh that everyone at school hears because he forgot to turn the microphone off.
    Bart: What does he mean by that "fool" thing?
    Nelson: Who cares!
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Possibly the trope namer. During the march through town, The Mafia's banners read "Legitimate Businessmen's Club". Instead of beating the snakes to death, they just shoot them.
  • Locked Up and Left Behind: Nelson, Jimbo, Dolph, Kearney, and Bart get locked in the school's bomb shelter by Skinner while Chalmers is paying a visit. Only Bart is getting out. At the episode's end, possibly weeks later, Skinner realizes the rest are still in there.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Homer hit a referee with a whiskey bottle one time. The only other information given is that Lisa remembers it and it happened because Homer squeezed his rage into a bitter, little ball, then released it at an appropriate time. We don't know what sport it was or whether or not Homer got away with it.
    • The time Grampa wore a dress in the 1940s (not the flashback of him as a German cabaret singer). The only information we get out of it is that the designers were really good back then (though the season 17 finale "Homer and Marge Turn a Couple Play" reveals that Abe and Jasper dressed up as women and joined a baseball team to avoid getting drafted. Maybe it's a Call-Back to this, maybe not. The writers don't say and fans are left to speculate).
  • Oh, Crap!: Skinner when he finally remembers he forgot about the bullies.
  • The Parody: Of Oliver Stone's JFK. In an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon with "special guest director Oliver Stone", Scratchy is escorted out of a jail, like Lee Harvey Oswald, and is shot by Itchy, like Jack Ruby.
  • Run for the Border: When Principal Skinner remembers he still didn't let the bullies out of the bomb shelter, he goes into a rush to release them and give them the promised mountain bikes in hopes it'll convince them not to sue him. When Groundskeeper Willie asks what he'll do if the bullies are dead, he says he'll flee to Mexico.
  • Sadist Teacher: The teacher in the Christian school is very strict; so strict, that Bart is kicked out of the school in under one minute and chased out just for singing a song about beans.
    • It may be because the song contains "farting", which to a orthodox fanatic is a sin.
  • Snakes Are Sexy: Barry White loves "the sexy slither of a lady snake." It's probably best not to think too deeply about that.
  • Something We Forgot: Jimbo and the other detained bullies, to Skinner's terror when the principal does his Oh, Crap! realization. From the time he locks them in the basement and Bart escapes, to the final scene, they aren't seen ... possibly for days, until well after the Whacking Day festival has kicked into full swing, or even so much as referred to, and are presumably left for dead. note 
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened between Groundskeeper Willie and the mysterious Scottish woman he met?
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The show opens with "Eye on Springfield," where Kent Brockman teases a feature on the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz, before a cut shot to a row of gravestones in the cemetery. note 
  • Written Sound Effect: Bart's runaway tractor ride culminates with him hitting Superintendant Chalmers, which comes complete with a Hit Flash straight out of Looney Tunes and the word "POW!" flying around — perhaps the most un-Simpsons-like moment in the history of the show.