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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 and Fridge Brilliance: 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 isn't true, not just because of Grampa's penchant for telling wacky stories (and this one breaking the scale), 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).
- As Himself: Barry White
- 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 the true origin of Whacking Day, 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.
- 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.
- Folk Hero: Jebediah Springfield's tale of whacking snakes turns out to be an excuse to beat up the Irish.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Gentlemen, start your whacking", anyone?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 that messed-up flashback of him posing 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 Albe and Jasper dressed up as women to avoid getting drafted into war. Maybe it's a CallBack to this, maybe not. The writers don't say and fans are left to speculate).
- 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.
- Reality Subtext: The plot of "Whacking Day" was based on the famous Rattle Snake Roundups.
- Take That: Against Oprah:
Bart: If we put our speakers on the ground, play something with a lot of bass, those snakes will be here like Oprah on a glazed ham.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: When Marge tries to teach Bart at home (due to being expelled from or otherwise denied enrollment at several schools), she introduces herself to her son: "I'm your new teacher, my name is Mrs. Simpson." (chuckles)
- Villain Song: The Whacking Day song, sang to the tune of "O Christmas Tree".
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened between Groundskeeper Willie and the mysterious Scottish woman he met?
- Another example is actually subverted at the end of the episode when Skinner remembers that Nelson, Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney are still locked in the school's bomb shelter.