Recap / The Simpsons S 7 E 2122 Short Films About Springfield

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Episode - 3F18
First Aired - 4/14/1996

While spitting on cars from a bridge, Milhouse and Bart begin to wonder if anything interesting ever happens to the people of Springfield — and soon the episode shifts into several vignettes about the lives of everyone in town, from Apu leaving work to go to a party to Lisa getting gum in her hair to several "wacky sitcom" style set pieces (Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers having lunch and Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel getting boots for Brandine) to Milhouse desperately searching for a bathroom to Nelson learning a lesson about laughing at others.

Tropes:

  • Accidental Hero: Milhouse was just playing around with a mace when he saved his dad, Snake and Chief Wiggum from Herman.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Almost everyone for the residents of Springfield such as Smithers, Dr. Nick, and others (except for Professor Frink, whose chance at his own story gets cut off by the closing credits).
  • Adult Fear: Homer getting Maggie stuck inside a newspaper vendor. His panic is not helped by a newspaper article headlined, "Deadbeat Dad Beat Dead".
  • Bee Afraid: The gum on Lisa's hair attracts a swarm of bees. One then flies off and ends up stinging Smithers, who has a bee sting allergy.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Somehow, Skinner manages to get away with passing off Krusty Burgers as "steamed hams" and prevents Chalmers from becoming aware that his house is on fire by claiming it's Aurora Borealis.
  • Blatant Lies: Skinner tells some during the "Skinner and the Superintendent" short but the most blatant is his attempt to have his kitchen fire dismissed as Aurora Borealis.
    Chalmers: Aurora Borealis? At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within your kitchen!?!
    Skinner: Yes.
    Chalmers: (genuinely curious) May I see it?
    (beat)
    Skinner: No.
    • "Seymour! The house is on fire!" "No, Mother, that's just the Northern Lights."
  • Book Ends: Bart and Milhouse sitting at the overpass.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Smithers: I-I'm allergic to bee stings. They cause me to, uh, die.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The episode ends with Frink rushing in to do his vignette, only for the credits to start rolling.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Played for Laughs. Skinner calls the Krusty burgers he buys for his lunch with Chalmers "steamed hams" and falsely claims it's part of a regional dialect from Albany, New York.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Tall Guy asks Nelson if he should be laughed at for owning a small car, Nelson, afraid of Tall Guy but either not understanding the question, or simply unable to not insult him, defeatedly says "I guess so".
  • Continuity Nod: The Kwik-E-Mart is closed for the second time ever (third, if you count the short scene in "Homer the Vigilante" where Apu is on the roof of the Kwik-E-Mart and shoots at a customer who stops by the store), and Apu eats a tofu dog at Sanjay's party.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: When Homer accidentally locks Maggie inside a newspaper dispenser, he writes a note on a scrap of paper with spray cheese and tucks it to Santa's Little Helper's collar. Unfortunately, SLH eats it.
  • Cringe Comedy: Principal Skinner's lunch with Superintendent Chalmers, bluffing his way through claiming that the Krustyburgers he serves are homemade "steamed hams". And then saying that the fire in his kitchen is the aurora borealis.
  • Dinner with the Boss: The segment of Principal Skinner having Superintendent Chalmers over for lunch.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Near the end of his lunch with Chalmers, Skinner excuses himself to enter the kitchen, only to immediately exit out and feign tiredness upon seeing the massive fire.
  • Epic Fail: Skinner is so concerned about salvaging his dinner with Chalmers that he neglects to so much as turn the oven off as his roast is literally on fire. Cue the oven setting the house on fire. In fact, the fact that Skinner is so inattentive that his roast catches on fire in the first place (not an easy feat unless a lot of grease is involved) would normally be enough for this trope.
  • Exact Words: Cletus is atop a telephone pole.
    Cletus: Hey, you know what? I could call my ma while I'm up here. (yells) Hey, maw! Get off the dang roof!
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: What Skinner's lunch is a parody of.
  • The Freelance Shame Squad: Nelson, laughing at everything, including Lisa's new hairdo and Mrs. Glick after she trips over a trash can. He then sees a Volkswagen Beetle, the driver of whom is cramped inside and seated awkwardly in such a way that his knees rise above his head, and laughs. Suddenly, the car stops and the driver comes out ... and after revealing himself to be quite tall, Nelson realizes the man is coming after him and, after doing an "Oh, Crap!," tries to run. But the man is too fast, and after catching him, explains that he cannot afford to drive a nicer car. He then makes him pull down his shorts and walk down Main Street, the car following close behind. Everyone laughs at Nelson, just as he did to them so many times in the past during their misfortune, while Bart and Milhouse splatter ketchup and mustard on him from atop an overpass, where they are watching the events unfold.
  • Fridge Logic: Invoked by Chalmers.
    Chalmers: Aurora Borealis? At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within your kitchen!?!
  • Hydrant Geyser: Parodied when Chief Wiggum, on foot, recognizes Snake at the wheel of his car at a light and in the ensuing attempt to flee Snake crashes into a mailbox which results in a geyser of letters spewing forth from the ground.
  • I Am One of Those, Too: Skinner tells Chalmers that he calls hamburgers "steamed hams" because it's a dialect from upstate New York.
    Chalmers: Really. Well, I'm from Utica and I never heard anyone use the phrase, "steamed hams."
  • Implausible Deniability: Skinner denies that the house is on fire, casually telling his mother that it's just the aurora borealis. Chalmers points out how unlikely that is and asks again. Skinner upholds the lie, and Chalmers believes it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Nelson points and laughs at the Tall Guy. The Tall Guy pantses him, and parades him through the town, getting everyone to laugh at him.
    • Right before laughing at the Tall Guy, Nelson laughed at Lisa's new hairstyle after she got the gum removed from her hair. Later on, when the Tall Guy is chasing him, Lisa tells the Tall Guy that Nelson is hiding down a manhole which leads to the Tall Guy pantsing him.
  • Mugging the Monster: Nelson is horrified by how tall the Tall Guy actually was.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • There are actually 19 segments in the episode.
    • Skinner's "Steamed Hams" are obviously grilled.
  • Not Hyperbole: Barney comments that the people at Moe's had a good laugh when Moe said he'd need to send Barney's tab to NASA to calculate. Moe reveals that he did and the results have just arrived.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • From Nelson, when he realizes that the Very Tall Man has stopped his car and is coming after him for laughing about his appearance. Then a second time, after Lisa tells the guy that Nelson is hiding down the manhole.
    • "Oh, Egads! My roast is ruined!"
    • "Yes, I should be—GOOD LORD! What is happening in there?!"
  • Parrot Expo What:
    Lou: You know, I went to the McDonald's in Shelbyville on Friday night—
    Wiggum: The McWhat?
  • Potty Emergency: Milhouse's story when he's at the Comic Book Guy's store and the antique shop where Snake and Chief Wiggum are held hostage.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Skinner manages to successfully entertain Chalmers with his "steamed hams" luncheon...at the cost of his house.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Even though Skinner's lies keep getting more and more blatant, Chalmers ends up buying them all.
  • Running Gagged: The "Hi, Dr. Nick!" part of the usual "Hi, everybody! Hi, Dr. Nick!" exchange is less enthusiastic than usual.
  • Say My Name: Chalmers upon seeing Skinner trying to escape out the kitchen window.
    Chalmers: SEYYYYYYYYYYYYMOUUUUUUUUUURRRRR!!
  • Series Continuity Error: In this episode, Smithers tells Mr. Burns he's deathly allergic to bee stings. In "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk", Burns starts a bee farm and invites Smithers to see it, and he's perfectly fine with bees.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: When Moe sent Barney's bar tab to NASA to calculate, the total came back as $14 billion.
  • Shout-Out: The salon where Lisa goes to remove the gum (and everything else added during the failed attempts to remove the gum) is named Snippy Longstockings.
    • Snake and Chief Wiggum's segments parody the Marsellus-Butch storyline from Pulp Fiction. Wiggum and Lou also do a version of the film's "Royale with cheese" scene.
    • The name of the episode is a Snowclone Title to 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: Seriously played for laughs with Barney's bar tab of $14 billion. (He'd have to drink five beers a day at $2 each for roughly 3.8 million years.)
  • Something Completely Different: A Vignette Episode-cum-Pulp Fiction parody.
  • Tandem Parasite: Mr. Burns won't pedal while in his and Smithers's tandem bicycle, even when Smithers is stung by a bee; Burns just orders Smithers to pedal himself to the hospital.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: The Tall Man leads the people of Springfield in laughing at Nelson, complete with "Ha-ha!".
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Homer tries to get a newspaper from a vending booth while carrying both Maggie and the groceries. He gets the newspaper, but gets Maggie trapped inside the booth.
  • Vignette Episode: Invoked when Bart and Milhouse discuss whether or not the people in town have their own adventures.

Chalmers: Well Seymour, you are an odd fellow, but I must say: You steam a good trope.

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