After three years, EA has given us back a bit of the maddness that was Whacking Day, an event based on the episode with the same name. This Episode Fact File will recap the episode with pictures, video clips and more. Get the scoop right after the jump!
Everyone in Springfield is excited for Whacking Day, but as the holiday approaches, Lisa condemns it as violent. Whacking Day is a decade-long tradition which calls for the townspeople to beat snakes to death with sticks. Lisa decides to save the snakes with the help of Whacking Day‘s honorary MC, Barry White, who uses his sonorous bass vocal style to lure the snakes to safety, where no one can whack them.
Episode Details: ‘Whacking Day’ is the 20th episode of Season 4 as well as the 79th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired on FOX on April 29, 1993 and was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Jeff Lynch with Al Jean and Mike Reiss as show runners.
Principal Skinner lures Bart, Jimbo, Kearney, Dolph and Nelson to a utility basement with the promise of free mountain bikes. When they get there, however, they’re informed that they’re being “swept under the rug” during an inspection by Superintendent Chalmers. Bart escapes through a ventilation shaft, and then takes Groundskeeper Willie’s tractor for a joyride. He quickly loses control, and it ends up hitting the Superintendent in the rear. When Chalmers informs Skinner the accident has cost him a promotion, Skinner responds by issuing his harshest punishment yet: expelling Bart.
Meanwhile, Kent Brockman announces that a celebration that was found to be “disgusting and puerile” by a group of hillbillies is coming up. The upcoming celebration is Whacking Day – every May 10, the people of Springfield drive snakes to the center of town and beat them to death. Lisa is appalled at the upcoming Whacking Day celebration, but her protests fall on deaf ears. She tries to appeal to Homer to not lower himself to the level of others, but Homer is set on participating in Whacking Day.
Bart remains expelled from Springfield Elementary, and his parents try enrolling him in a private Christian school. He gets in trouble almost immediately for singing “Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit” when asked for a psalm, and is chased from the building by the teacher and other students. Marge then decides to homeschool Bart. For one of her assignments Marge gives Bart Johnny Tremain to read, which was a favorite of hers when she was a little girl. Bart gains interest in the book when he learns that the protagonist was deformed by being wounded in war, and afterwards starts becoming a serious student. On a “field trip” to Olde Springfield Towne, Bart notices a discrepancy in the Jebediah Springfield story: on May 10, 1775, the day he led an attack on Fort Ticonderoga, he also supposedly founded Whacking Day. At a loss for words, the Squeaky-voiced teen in charge of the tour decides to force Bart to leave.
Barry White, the honorary Grand Marshal of Whacking Day, arrives to begin the festivities. Mayor Quimby introduces him as “Larry White”, to White’s annoyance, but his annoyance turns to disgust when he asks Quimby what the occasion is for and Quimby tells him it’s about killing snakes. White yells at the crowd, “You people make me sick!” Inattentive and uncaring, they cheer anyway. Meanwhile, Bart discovers the true origin of Whacking Day. He suggests to Lisa that they can lure the snakes to safety by playing music with a lot of bass and putting the stereo speakers to the ground. Homer‘s record collection, which boasts such gems as Tiny Tim, The Chipmunks, and A Castrato Christmas, leaves much to be desired, but they get assistance from Barry White (who was conveniently walking by). With White‘s vocals and Lisa‘s bass guitar playing, they attract hundreds of snakes into the house to the tune of White‘s 1974 hit song “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe“.
The crowd arrives in pursuit of the snakes, but they are soon turned around on the subject of Whacking Day by Bart‘s newfound knowledge. It turns out that the day was actually invented in the early 1900s as an excuse to beat up the Irish. Mayor Quimby, not knowing that the city has changed its mind about Whacking Day, shows up with pre-whacked snakes, but is booed by the crowd and makes a hasty retreat. Skinner is impressed with Bart‘s efforts, and welcomes him back to the school, but then realizes in horror that the bullies are still in the utility basement. He races back to the school with mountain bikes for the four bullies still in the basement, hoping that they’re all still alive—and that no one sues.
TIE-IN!: An entire event for The Simpsons: Tapped Out was released on April 10th, 2013. It contained many items from the episode. A mini-event was released on April 9th, 2016 as a sale on Whacking Day items.
BLACKBOARD TEXT!: I will return the seeing-eye dog
COUCH GAG!: Finding only a single chair where the couch usually is, the entire family sits on it.
- Kent Brockman teases that a segment on Eye on Springfield will be about the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz and where they are now.
- Apu announces that there is a snake hidden in the store. The first person to find it wins a free Squishee.
- The Springfield Christian School sign reads “We Put the Fun in Fundamentalist Dogma”.
- At the episode’s end, Nelson and Jimbo get emotional in the civic defense shelter, where they and their two bully buddies have been the whole show. LOOK CLOSELY at Kearney’s face; you can see stubble around his mouth. This is one of many gags throughout the series that he is much older than a typical (or any) elementary school student should be.
- Bob Woodward is the author of The Truth About Whacking Day. One piece of information he reveals is that Richard Nixon once participated in Whacking Day. Ironically, Woodward and his partner Carl Bernstein were the investigative reporters responsible for breaking the story on the Watergate scandal, which eventually led to Nixon‘s resignation from the Presidency.
- Matt Groening once said that he feels they crossed the line by having Lovejoy make up quotes out of the Bible.
- Whacking Day is on May 10.
- Twice in this episode Homer is seen coming home in his car, forgetting about Marge homeschooling Bart in the garage. Both times, he manages to stop the car just inches away from Bart, though the second time this happens he yells “D’oh!”, implying that he meant to run over Bart that time or because he forgot a second time.
- The Itchy and Scratchy cartoon in this episode is a parody of Jack Ruby shooting JFK‘s alleged killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, with Scratchy being arrested before being shot by Itchy. The episode’s guest director is Oliver Stone.
That is all from this special Episode Fact File and I would like to thank WikiSimpsons for the information for this post and Nathan for the base design of it.
Till next time, Happy Tapping everyone!