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Recap / The Simpsons S7 E21 "22 Short Films About Springfield"

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Original air date: 4/14/1996

Production code: 3F18

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.



  • Bookends: The episode starts and ends with Bart and Milhouse sitting at the overpass and spraying condiments down onto passerby.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lisa has a bad time in this episode. She gets a wad of gum stuck in her hair, Marge's solutions to get it out only result in more things getting stuck in it, she gets attacked by bees and horseflies, and she's humiliated when half of Springfield barge into her house to offer their own solutions to cleaning her head. When she finally gets the mess cut off and gets a trendy new hairstyle, it seems that things are finally looking up for Lisa...only for Nelson to laugh at her and make her depressed.
  • Couch Gag: The whole room is underwater with the couch being made of clam shells, and a treasure chest in place of the TV. Sea monkey versions of the family swim in and sit on the clam couch.
  • 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).
  • Expository Theme Tune: The sequences involving Cletus ("Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel") and Skinner and Chalmers ("Skinner and the Superintendent") have them. Cletus' even has the lyrics appearing on-screen in a Follow the Bouncing Ball fashion. Frink made one for his segment, and sings a few lines to try to convince people to let it air, but he calls it quits when it's clear the episode is over.
  • Gum In Hair: Lisa's dilemma in her story. She and Marge resort to more and more drastic measures to remove it.
  • Never Trust a Title: "22 Short Films About Springfield" only has 19 segments (17 if you count Lisa's three segments as one short).
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The episode was a backdoor pilot for a spinoff called Tales from Springfield, which would showcase the lives of every character on the show who wasn't a member of The Simpson family. The crew decided it would be too much work, and the idea was abandoned.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The name of the episode is a Snowclone Title to 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould.
    • 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.
  • Vignette Episode: Invoked when Bart and Milhouse discuss whether or not the people in town have their own adventures.

Apu in "The Jolly Bengali"

  • 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.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Apu notices that he only used three out of the five minutes he said he was going to be out of the Kwik-E-Mart for the party and says aloud that nobody was hurt. Cue hi opening the door and Hans Moleman turned out to be left inside and he says "you took three minutes of my life and I want them back!". Downplayed when Moleman then admits he probably would have wasted them anyway and wanders off sad.
  • Speed Sex: Apu and the woman he hooks up with at Sanjay's party, which takes about 3 seconds, since he's trying to get as much partying done as possible in 5 minutes.
  • Stealth Pun: When Apu leaves the changing house after presumably having sex with the woman, he says: "Don't worry, I'll tell everybody you were untouchable!".

Lisa, Part 1

  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Bart kickstarts Lisa's whole series of misfortunes when he casually chucks a wad of gum into a recycling bin and gets it into her hair instead.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: 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.

Mr. Burns & Smithers

  • Bad Boss: Mr. Burns is completely unsympathetic to Smithers' plight when the bee gets into his glasses and then stings him (as a result of Burns batting it away without concern for his assistant's safety). Then while Smithers is dying from his allergy, Burns just insultingly orders him to keep peddling until the reach the hospital.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Smithers: I-I'm allergic to bee stings. They cause me to, uh, die.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Dr. Nick finds Smithers lying in a heap outside the hospital, begging for help due to his bee sting allergy, he thinks Smithers is a homeless guy begging for booze money and throws some change at him.
  • Series Continuity Error: 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.
  • Shown Their Work: In this story, every single word Mr. Burns yells at Smithers is real and used correctly. To maintain accuracy, the writers used a 19th-century slang thesaurus to look up words.
  • Skewed Priorities: Burns would rather Smithers keep the bicycle moving rather than make any serious effort himself to get it off him safely (or get Smithers to the hospital once it stings him).
  • 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.

Dr. Nick

  • Back-Alley Doctor: Dr. Nick is a hard-core quack even when he's working for a fully-qualified hospital, with the review staff bringing up both him doing serious mishandling of cadavers (Nick answers back that he did it because he was bored and needed to use the carpool lane) and doing open-chest surgery with utensils of a seafood restaurant that he had used to eat with (Nick defends himself saying that he cleaned them with the napkin). Becomes a Bunny-Ears Lawyer situation because the fact he is the only true-blue "quack" in the house means that a combative Grandpa takes his false advice seriously.
  • Code Silver: Dr. Nick's performance review is interrupted by Grandpa Simpson, in the middle of a nervous breakdown, grabbing a scalpel and threatening to stab anybody that gets near him unless a quack doctor listens to his complaining STAT. Dr. Nick (the only quack in the hospital staff) ends up being Saved by the Awesome as a result.
  • Lethal Diagnosis: Played for Laughs. Thanks to Grandpa's (combative) insistence that he needs to hear a quack doctor, what may have been regular hypochondria and old-man pains ends up with him being electrocuted with live wires for hours.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Dr. Nick is accused of mishandling cadavers. "I get here faster in the carpool lane," he says in his defense.
  • Running Gagged: The "Hi, Dr. Nick!" part of the usual "Hi, everybody! Hi, Dr. Nick!" exchange is less enthusiastic than usual. Justified because it's a medical review board that is sick of his lack of professional behavior and is going to fire him.
  • Saved by the Awesome: The medical review board is so astonished by the ease Dr. Nick was able to calm down Grandpa with his quackery that they allow him to keep his license.
  • Shout-Out: This short briefly changes into a homage to ER with Grandpa's attack, even using a similar jingle as background music.


  • Awesome, but Impractical: Turns out that Moe's Bar has a panic room with a small bulletproof window, that Moe uses when it's held up by Snake. The "impractical" part lies in both the fact that there is nothing in the panic room that can help prevent a thief that is inside the bar from simply opening the cashier and taking off with all the money and (to make things worse) the panic room has no ventilation.
  • Did Not Think This Through: When Snake robs Moe's, Moe quickly dashes into his safe room behind the bar, locking it behind him and taunting Snake from behind a bulletproof window to "do his worst". Snake promptly clears out the cash register, since there's nothing Moe can do to stop him from back there. The best he can do is feebly flick the light switch.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Moe cleaning out Barney of every cent he has and then leaving him behind in the bar when Snake shows up with a gun, ends up with nothing because Snake loots the register.
  • 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!: Barney, when Moe points out he owes him 70 billion dollars in bar tab debts. He calms down after Moe realises that was the cost of the Voyager spacecraft and promptly gives him his actual total: a mere 14 billion dollars.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: Moe sent Barney's bar tab to NASA to calculate, and the total came back as $14 billion (for comparison, the Challenger space shuttle was a lot less expensive). He'd have to drink five beers a day at $2 each for roughly 3.8 million years.

Skinner & the Superintendent

  • All There in the Script:
    • A small bit that was in the original script but dropped from the final product was Skinner, after burning the roast but before looking out the window, looking into the refrigerator and exclaiming, "And I've got no other roasts! Damn!"
    • The script also suggests that the skit takes place over a slightly longer period of time than what we see on screen, with the irrelevant parts cut out, meaning Skinner didn't simply ditch the luncheon after two minutes like the final scene would otherwise imply.
  • Ambiguous Situation: When Chalmers yells, "SEYMOUR!" at the end of the "Skinner and the Superintendent" theme song, is it part of the theme song, or does it happen within the segment itself? It's rather incongruous with the song and there is no kind of cut (or even just a black screen) to signify the former, but Chalmers loudly yelling Seymour's name for having his leg positioned on his windowsill contradicts his general demeanor for the rest of the skit, and the background color is different compared to Seymour's kitchen walls, so it could be either.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: "And you call them 'steamed hams' despite the fact they are obviously grilled." At which point Seymour is reduced to stuttering because he can't think of a new lie on the spot.
  • Ass Pull: In-Universe, this is what Skinner resorts to when Chalmers starts to get skeptical, from claiming that "steamed hams" is Albany slang for "hamburger" to immediately concluding the meal after two minutes by claiming to be tirednote .
    Chalmers: (seeing smoke and flames coming from the kitchen) Good lord, what is happening in there?
    Skinner: Aurora Borealis.
  • 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 the Aurora Borealis.
  • Blatant Lies: Skinner tells some exceptionally bald-faced lies during the "Skinner and the Superintendent" short.
    • That smoke coming from the oven? Seymour claims it's steam and that he's making steamed clams.
    • The most blatant is his attempt to have his kitchen fire dismissed as the 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?
      Skinner: No.
    • Skinner casually throws his mother under the bus just to save his luncheon.
      Agnes: Seymour! The house is on fire!
      Skinner: No, Mother, it's just the Northern Lights.
  • Blunt "No": Skinner pretends the fire in his kitchen is the aurora borealis. Chalmers curiously asks to see it and Skinner replies with a laconic "No".
  • Blunt "Yes": When Chalmers questions the possibility of an aurora borealis in Skinner's kitchen, Skinner's response is a matter-of-factly "yes".
  • Cringe Comedy: The entirety of Skinner's lunch with Chalmers, especially Skinner bluffing his way through by claiming that the hamburgers from Krusty Burger he's serving are homemade "steamed hams". And then saying that the fire in his kitchen is the aurora borealis.
  • Dinner with the Boss: The segment's premise is that Skinner invites Chalmers for lunch at his house, and when it starts going wrong at the very beginning, he comes up with one Blatant Lie after another to avoid disappointing Chalmers.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Stutter: "Yes, and you call them 'steamed hams' despite the fact they are obviously grilled." At which point Seymour is reduced to stuttering because he can't think of a new lie on the spot.
  • Epic Fail: Skinner is so concerned about salvaging his lunch 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 entire 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.
  • Exercise Excuse: Skinner is about to go out his window to buy Krusty Burgers and pretend he cooked them (because he burnt his roast), when Chalmers enters. Skinner claims he was stretching his calves on the windowsill.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: Principal Skinner accidentally burns the lunch he hoped to impress Superintendent Chalmers with and tries to pass off fast food hamburgers as his own cooking. ("I thought we were having steamed clams." "Oh, no, I said steamed hams. That's what I call hamburgers.") It ends with him trying to pass off a kitchen fire as the Aurora Borealis. Subverted in the sense that it actually works. Chalmers walks away believing everything Skinner said... but Skinner now has to call the fire department to deal with the house fire.
  • 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!?!
    Skinner: Yes.
  • 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."
    Skinner: Oh, not in Utica, no. It's an Albany expression.
  • Idiot Ball: Both Skinner and Chalmers hold it during their segment (Skinner for his stupid mistakes and absurd, inconsistent lies. Chalmers for taking them at face value). The two of them are usually smarter than this, but the whole anecdote wouldn't be as amusing otherwise.
  • 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.
  • Last Resort Takeout: Principal Skinner has Superintendent Chalmers over for lunch and manages to burn the roast, so he climbs out the window and gets burgers from the local Krusty Burger, calling them "steamed hams". (It's an Albany expression.)
    Skinner: Oh egads, my roast is ruined! But what if... I were to purchase fast food and disguise it as my own cooking?
  • Lethal Chef: Exaggerated. Skinner is apparently so terrible at oven-cooking a roast that it catches fire, and worse yet, he focuses on what to do to please Chalmers because of this mishap so much that he doesn't do anything about the fire until it has spread to the whole house.
  • Little "No": After Skinner claims that the aurora borealis is going on in his kitchen, Chalmers asks if he can see it. Skinner's response is a deadpan and straight-faced "no."
  • Mondegreen Gag: Invoked. After Skinner initially say he's making steamed clams, he immediately changes it to steamed hams after Chalmers questioned him about the sudden change of meal.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Skinner's "Steamed Hams" are obviously grilled. When Chalmers points it out, Skinner tries to book it through the kitchen because he can't think of any more Blatant Lies to try to cover his ass, only to return to the room after noticing the fire consuming everything.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever the directions Skinner gave to get Chalmers to his house were, they were apparently confusing enough that when Chalmers greets Skinner, he notes that he made it "despite your directions."
  • Oh, Crap!:
  • Only Sane Woman: Agnes, of all characters, comes off as this due to being the only one noticing that the house caught fire and treating the threat seriously, and in comparison to Skinner being more preoccupied with satisfying Chalmers, and the latter either taking Skinner's Blatant Lies at face value, or just playing along with it and dismissing everything else going on.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Seymour Skinner would rather allow his house to be set on fire (endangering his mother as well) or look like a complete idiot in front of his boss with an endless barrage of Blatant Lies than run any risk of pissing off Chalmers by letting him know stuff he would probably let slide, such as Skinner accidentally overcooking the meal or... you know... the house being on fire, or that yeah, they are eating Krusty Burgers but there's an explanation for that.
  • 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. Particularly the Aurora Borealis bit, where Chalmers is taken completely off-guard by Skinner's Blunt "Yes" and his initial incredulity turns into genuine curiosity..
  • Say My Name: Chalmers at the end of the theme tune.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When Chalmers points out that Skinner's "steamed" hams are grilled, Skinner attempts to escape out the window of his kitchen. Upon noticing the kitchen being on fire, he instead gets Chalmers to leave.
  • Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Skinner pulls this several times during his unforgettable luncheon with Chalmers. For example, when Skinner claims that "steamed hams" is a regional dialect from upstate New York, Chalmers points out he's from Utica and has never heard that phrase before. Skinner immediately recovers by saying it's an expression from Albany, not Utica.
  • Skewed Priorities: Skinner apparently considers it more important to salvage his lunch with Chalmers and to please him, than to deal with his burnt roast and the resulting fire spreading to his house.
  • Staggered Zoom: Happens to Chalmers when he forcefully questions Skinner about the possibility of the Aurora Borealis being in his kitchen.
  • Suddenly Shouting:
    Chalmers: Yes, I should be—(sees Seymour's kitchen on fire through the swinging door) GOOD LORD! WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THERE?!
  • Super Gullible: Chalmers believes every single one of Skinner's Blatant Lies, right down to Aurora Borealis being located within his kitchen.
  • Wintry Auroral Sky: When Skinner's kitchen catches fire, he tries to pass off the light from the flames as the aurora borealis. Chalmers believes him, despite the fact that it's the middle of the day, presumably not during winter, they're in a geographic region nowhere near the arctic, and the supposed northern lights are only appearing indoors in Skinner's kitchen, facts all brought up by himself.
  • You Can't Miss It: Implied by Chalmers when he arrives at Skinner's doorstep:
    Chalmers: Well, Seymour, I made it... Despite your directions.


  • 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.
  • Cutting the Knot: After reaching his wits end trying to find a way to get Maggie out of the newspaper dispenser, Homer finally ends up just ripping the whole thing out of the sidewalk and taking it home.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Homer tries to get a newspaper while walking the dog and carrying Maggie and groceries simultaneously. While he does manage to get the paper, he ends up accidentally locking Maggie in the vendor, and since he has no money left, he attempts to free her through various methods before ultimately taking the vending machine itself home with him.

Chief Wiggum

  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Discussed by Lou. In a conversation he has with his partner and chief, the cop talks about McDonald's and how it serves most of the same food as Krusty Burger, but all under different names the others find strange.
    Wiggum: Do they have Krusty Partially Gelatinated Non-Dairy Gum-Based Beverages?
    Lou: Mm-hmm. They call them "shakes."
    Eddie: Hmph. Shakes — you don't know what you're getting.
  • Expospeak Gag: Krusty Burger shakes get the over-complicated name of "Krusty Partially Gelatinated Non-Dairy Gum-Based Beverages". Inverted that Wiggum does not likes the less complicated name because "you don't know what you're getting".
  • Expy Coexistence: This segment makes it clear that Krusty Burger and its inspiration, McDonald's, exist in this universe, though the latter apparently is so rare in Springfield that few of its residents even know about it.
    Lou: Y'know, I went to the McDonald's in Shelbyville on Friday night.
    Wiggum: The Mc-what?
    Lou: Uh, McDonald's restaurant, I, uh, I've never heard of it either, but uh, they have over 2000 locations in this state alone.
    Eddie: Must've sprung up overnight.
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?:
    Lou: You know, I went to the McDonald's in Shelbyville on Friday night—
    Wiggum: The McWhat?
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Lou talks in great detail on his recent experience eating at a McDonalds, and how it differs from Krusty Burger.

Bumblebee Man

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
    • Many of the Spanish words used in Bumblebee Man's segment are easily understood cognates of English and not accurate Spanish; this was done deliberately so that non-Spanish speakers could understand the dialogue without subtitles.
    • In the Italian dub, the use of phony cognates wouldn't have worked because Italian and Spanish are so linguistically similar. To maintain the joke, the translators had Bumblebee Man speak Italian, but occasionally lapse into goofy El Spanish "-o".
  • Butt-Monkey: Bumblebee Man just as much at home as on his show. He suffers assorted accidents, his wife leaves him, and his house collapses on him.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: The entire Bumblebee Man segment is shown in unsubtitled Spanish.

Wiggum & Snake

  • Awkward Stoplight Moment: During a section parodying Pulp Fiction, Snake Jailbird sees Chief Wiggum walking down the street while he's waiting for a red light, and mows the Chief down with his car.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Right before hitting Chief Wiggum with his car, Snake is listening to a Pulp Fiction-esque surf rock remix of the show's theme.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Though not the first time he had been arrested, Snake this time around is manhandled by a criminal worse than him, and unlike Wiggum, he never leaves the premises (probably thanks to Milhouse and his dad), implying Moe gets his money back and he is incarcerated, again.
  • Made of Iron: Wiggum just shrugs off Snake running him down with a car and rushes after him, saying they need to exchange insurance info.

Lisa, Part 2

  • Noodle Incident: Sideshow Mel says that whatever the Simpsons end up doing, what they should not do is try to remove the gum by using a bone, while he fidgets with the bone in his own hair.
  • Nosy Neighbor: What seems to be the whole town enters the Simpson home and offers ideas on how to deal with the gum stuck on Lisa's hair.
  • Series Continuity Error: When Ned Flanders is taking a hammer to Lisa's hair, he wields the hammer with his right hand, despite Ned being well-known as a southpaw.

Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel

  • 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!


  • Bathroom Control: Milhouse goes into Comic Book Guy's store to use his bathroom, but Comic Book Guy says it's for paying customers only. Mulhouse buys a comic, but his father walks in and mistakenly thinks his son lied about needing to go so he could purchase something. Comic Book Guy refuses to say anything in his defense, and Milhouse is dragged out.
  • Fat Bastard: The Comic Book Guy, as usual. He not only refuses to lend Milhouse his bathroom (saying that it's for customers only) while seeing that Milhouse is about to wet himself, but when Milhouse buys a used comic (worth about ten cents, all he can afford, and CBG insults Milhouse when he points at a Sean Connery picture (signed by Roger Moore) desperately looking for something to purchase) so he'll do and Kirk barges into the shop at that moment and thinks that Milhouse was just buying comics, CBG never explains what is going on, just saying that "the transaction is over" and letting Kirk drag his son out.
  • Kick the Dog: Milhouse goes into the comic shop desperate to use the bathroom, which the Comic Book Guy refuses to allow unless he'll buy something. As he's paying for a comic book, Kirk comes in and thinks he's just wasting time when he was only allowed inside to use the bathroom, to which the Comic Book Guy tells him their transaction is over and lets Kirk drag him back outside.
  • Pet the Dog: Herman does let Milhouse use his bathroom.
  • Potty Emergency: Milhouse needs to use the toilet and enters Comic Book Guy's store. However Comic Book Guy won't let the kid use the restroom unless he buys something. Milhouse eventually buys a cheap Hamburglar comic, but then Milhouse's father enters the store and says: "Hey, Milhouse. I thought you needed to go to the toilet and now I find you here, buying comics." Comic Book Guy cruelly tells Milhouse's father that their business is finished, whereupon Kirk drags Milhouse away.


  • Accidental Hero: Milhouse was just playing around with a mace when he saved his dad, Snake and Chief Wiggum from Herman.
  • Cringe Comedy: Seeing Wiggum and Snake tied up, Kirk tries to tell an anecdote about how, when he was growing up, the location for Herman's store was a pet shop.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: It's not clear what Herman was planning to do to Snake and Wiggum (and later Kirk) when his buddy Zed arrived. It's probably for the best, considering what the character from Pulp Fiction he was parodying was planning to do.
  • Lighter and Softer: The sequence inside of the gun shop to the similar one in Pulp Fiction, thanks to Milhouse's and Kirk's accidental Big Damn Heroes intervention. Making a long story short, Tarantino's version includes some bloody Rape and Revenge.
  • Stealth Pun: Milhouse subdues Herman with a flail and knight's helmet. So, as the saying went in Pulp Fiction, he literally "went medieval" on him.

Lisa, Part 3

  • Bait-and-Switch: When Lisa goes to the barber shop, she asks to get rid of the gum but to be careful, the barber says that he knows how important hair is for a real girl. One wipe later, we see he just cut the gum and left a bald spot which makes Lisa scream... to which he tells her she should just stay calm, and then we cut to her with a nice new haircut.
  • Kick the Dog: After a whole episode of feeling miserable because of the plight with the gum in her hair, Lisa finally gets it removed and gets a nice new hairstyle to boot, making her feel good about herself. Nelson mocks her the second she steps out of the barber shop, making her depressed again.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Jake the Barber cuts the gum out of Lisa's hair and hides the resultant bald patch with a new hairstyle that clearly distinguishes her hairline from the rest of her face, to which she says, "I finally look like a real person!"
  • 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.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Just when things start looking up for her after she gets a stylish haircut, Lisa becomes depressed and insecure once Nelson laughs at her.


  • The Alleged Car: Implied with Ian's VW Bug — it works perfectly fine (that we can see), but Ian barely fits in and he points out to Nelson that it's the tallest car he could afford.
  • All There in the Manual: The Very Tall Guy's name isn't stated onscreen (even the episode guide just calls him "Very Tall Guy"), but the Very Tall Guy's name is Ian, as he's modeled after producer Ian Maxtone-Graham, who is very tall himself, standing at 6'8" (2.03 m).
  • Author Avatar: The very tall man was a caricature of writer Ian Maxtone-Graham and is even canonically named after him.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Naturally, when Ian gets the crowd on the street to laugh at Nelson, they all say "Haw-haw!" in unison.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Ian asks Nelson if he should be laughed at for owning a small car, Nelson, afraid of Ian but either not understanding the question, or simply unable to not insult him, defeatedly says "I guess so".
  • Creator Cameo: The crowd on the street who laugh at Nelson includes caricatures of Matt Groening, Bill Oakley, and Josh Weinstein. Oakley wrote in the script that the street was filled with Springfield's biggest idiots and so the animators drew him, Weinstein, and Groening into the scene. Ian in the same scene is a caricature of writer Ian Maxtone-Graham.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After Nelson mocks Lisa's new haircut, she tells Ian where Nelson's hiding.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Ian's reaction to Nelson mocking him because the VW Bug (that he barely fits in) is the tallest car that he could afford to buy is to Brake Angrily, get out and chase after him with apparent intent to beat the crap out of him, but settling only on pantsing him and forcing him to march down the street while everybody else mocks him.
  • 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 pulls down Nelson's shorts and makes him 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.
  • Humiliation Conga: With pants down and forced to march down the city streets with a car steadily tailing him, Nelson is paraded forward with all of the town in joy and jest as "the kid who laughs at everyone" is given a taste of his own medicine. Only beginning his march of shame, Bart and Milhouse soon target him with condiments, and it's implied that there's even more to be had on Nelson as he continues his march.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Nelson points and laughs at Lisa's new hairstyle after she finally got the gum removed. He then does so at Ian. Ian chases him down, and when it looks like he might be able to hide, Lisa gives him away. Ian then pantses him, and parades him through the town, getting everyone to laugh at him.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Nelson finally gets paid back in grand style for his role as Springfield's one-man Freelance Shame Squad.
  • Mugging the Monster: Nelson is horrified by how tall Ian actually was.
  • Oh, Crap!: From Nelson, when he realizes that Ian has stopped his car and is coming after him for laughing about his appearance. Then a second time, after Lisa tells Ian that Nelson is hiding down the manhole.
    (Nelson sees Lisa's new hairstyle after she got gum out of it)
    Nelson: Haw-haw!
    (Lisa sighs and walks away while covering up her hair. Then, Nelson sees Mrs. Glick trip over and fall in a garbage can)
    Nelson: Haw-haw!
    (Finally he sees a very tall man in a very small car)
    Nelson: Haw-haw!
    (The man... doesn't like this one bit and pulls over, then gets out. Nelson sees how tall he is and he is coming right for him)
    Nelson: Crud...
    (He runs off with the man following close behind, until Nelson vanishes around a corner where an open manhole is... and Lisa as well...)
    Lisa: (points at manhole) He's down there.
    Nelson: CRUD!!
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Ian leads the people of Springfield in laughing at Nelson, complete with "Haw-haw!".
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After many episodes of being tormented by Nelson, Milhouse finally manages to get one over him when he (alongside Bart) splashes him with condiments from a bridge while he's being forced to walk around with his pants around his ankles by a tall man that he laughed at. Martin, another frequent victim of his, is also seen laughing at him in the crowd.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Ian the tall man gets angered at Nelson laughing at how he looked driving in his small car and decides to publicly humiliate him in retaliation.
    Ian: Would you like it if I laughed at YOUR misfortune? Huh!? Maybe we should find out! (pulls Nelson's pants down around his ankles) Now march! (Nelson with his pants down is forced to march ahead of Ian's car who honks to get all the bystanders' attention) Hey everybody! Look at this! It's that boy who laughs at everyone! Let's laugh at him!
    Springfieldians: Ha ha!
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: After Ian (an extremely tall man) gives Nelson a speech about how the VW Beetle that he rides in is the tallest car he could afford and that it's something he needs and asks Nelson that if he thinks that makes it worthy of insulting Ian by laughing at him, Nelson (nervously but still bluntly) says "I guess so." Ian very visibly holds back the desire to cave Nelson's face in before settling on humiliating him by forcing him to parade down the street with his pants down.


  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The episode ends with Frink rushing in to do his vignette, only for the credits to start rolling.

Agnes: Seymour! The TV Tropes Wiki is on fire!
Skinner: No, Mother, it's just the Red Links.
Chalmers: Well Seymour, you are an odd fellow, but I must say: You steam a good trope.
(As Chalmers leaves down the Information Superhighway, flames can be seen within every wiki article.)
Agnes: Help! Help!
(Chalmers turns. Skinner smiles and gives him a big thumbs-up. Chalmers finally disappears, and Skinner races back into the website.)


Video Example(s):


Steamed Hams Inc.

In this remix by NPCarlsson, the entirety of the Steamed Hams segment from "22 Short Films About Springfield" is set to "Feel Good Inc." by Gorillaz.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / Fanvid

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