Simpsons Did It!: “Whacking Day”


One of my favorite, but least seen, characters on The Simpsons is an elderly Irishman, who appears for the first of three times here.  When it is pointed out that Whacking Day was created as an excuse to beat up the Irish, there’s a cut to an old man dressed like some sort of leprechaun saying that this is true, he took many a good lump, but it was all in good fun.

That guy cracks me up.

Say, Springfield’s whole Celtic population increases this episode, as not only does the Old Irishman appear, Groundskeeper Willy finds a lovely Scottish lass who just moved into town and seems to be a woman after Willy’s own heart.

But this episode also features the first appearance of Superintendent Chalmers, Principal Skinner’s superior, a man Skinner is forever trying to impress while Chalmers just finds Skinner irritating.  The banter between those two seems almost friendly until Chalmers is hit by a runaway tractor driven by Bart.  Though we do learn Lunchlady Doris earns two paychecks by doubling as the school nurse.

Why was Bart doing that in the first place?  Skinner and Willy locked up all the troublemakers with a scam where they were told there would be no math but plenty of mountain bikes.  Bart managed to get out and go joyriding on Willy’s tractor, with about as much control over the vehicle as he has over his own impulses to steal said vehicle.

That whole thing got Bart expelled, and we still haven’t gotten to Whacking Day yet.

Man, this whole review today is terrible.  Everything is all out of order.  You wouldn’t expect that from an episode like this one penned by the great John Swartzwelder, but I guess you can expect it from me.  I make this stuff up as I go along.

But, see, Whacking Day is an annual Springfield holiday where the residents drive snakes into the town square and whack ’em to death.  Lisa, of course, hates it.  So does this year’s grand marshal Barry White.  But nobody really listens to those guys.  Homer certainly doesn’t.  For while in most people the fight between good and evil is a battle that cannot be resolved, Evil Homer is clearly in charge of the Simpson family patriarch.

Catchy song there.  “I am Evil Homer!  I am Evil Homer!”

It works better if you can hear it rather than just read the words.

As it is, Bart’s school time goes away very quickly after he is chased away from a religious school, and who didn’t see that coming?  Marge then takes it upon herself to homeschool her son, and Bart actually starts learning stuff.  He learns enough about colonial history to expose the true origin of Whacking Day when he, Lisa, and Barry White manage to rescue most of the town’s snakes (a handful who ran into the Springfield Legitimate Business Club were not so fortunate).  Bart’s learning actually gets him back into Springfield Elementary, since Jeremiah Springfield could not have been at both the Battle of Ticandaroga and the first Whacking Day.

That brings us up to the opening paragraph where we learned Whacking Day started as an excuse to beat up the Irish.

Tis true, but it was all in good fun.

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