Splitsider

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Lost Jokes and Story Arcs of "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song"

And in these early drafts, every conversation that you saw on the air had two more lines at the beginning and two more lines at the end that were nonessential but that were just funny. As was always the case with us, every time one joke was needed we would write three, or five. Like this thing with the Super 8 movie. There are seven or eight jokes there, where only two were needed to fill the time on the air.

COLOR SUPER 8 FOOTAGE – CIRCA 1978

We see 70's era Super-8 footage and hear soulful Joe Cocker-style music a la the opening of "The Wonder Years."

1) Open on a scene of a young Homer and Marge clowning for the camera as they wash Homer's car. After a few seconds, the car slowly begins to roll out of the driveway and down the street. Homer desperately chases after it. SPLICE TO:

2) Homer cheerfully pushing Marge on a tire swing in the front yard of a suburban house. SPLICE TO:

3) Marge struggling futilely to push Homer on the tire swing. The branch sags under Homer's weight as leaves and twigs rain down. SPLICE TO:

4) Homer and Marge stand in the yard waving at the camera. Grampa, on a riding mower, drives behind them and out of frame. A beat later, Homer and Marge look off-camera, alarmed, and run after him. SPLICE TO:

5) They help a wet, angry Grampa climb out of a neighbor's swimming pool. The riding mower sits at the bottom of the deep end.

BART (O.S.): (CHUCKLE) Oh, man. They are gonna eat this up at Show & Tell.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL that we are…

INT. SIMPSON HOUSE – KITCHEN – MORNING

Bart is projecting the movies onto the refrigerator door. Lisa looks on, and Marge prepares breakfast.

MARGE: I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea of your classmates laughing at our family's private moments. How would you like it if, 20 years from now, people were laughing at things you did?
BART: Not likely.

On the refrigerator, the movie continues: Homer's birthday party, 1979. Homer now has a bushy beard and moustache. He opens and proudly displays his presents: a moustache cup, a 16-piece beard-grooming kit, and "Sebastian Cabot's Beard Book."

LISA (O.S.): Dad looks great with a beard. How come he shaved it off?
MARGE (O.S.): You know, I can't remember exactly, but…

Homer leans over to blow out the candles on his cake, and catches the bottom of his beard on fire. It spreads rapidly.

MARGE (O.S.): Oh, yes. They had to shave the rest off at the hospital.

The movie abruptly jumps to some footage of Patty and Selma clowning with a cardboard cut-out of Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C.

WIDE SHOT – CONTINUOUS

A groggy Homer enters the kitchen and opens the refrigerator. Inside, he sees Patty and Selma's talking heads projected onto a jug of milk and a melon.

HOMER: (SCREAM)

He slams the refrigerator shut. A beat later, he re-opens it and sees Marge projected on the milk.

HOMER: Eh, that's a little better.

He takes the milk out and closes the door. We see footage of an obviously drunk Marge wearing a sombrero and being put into van marked "Policia de Tijuana."

MARGE: (ANNOYED MURMUR) Please, Bart. There must be something else you can take for Show & Tell.
BART: No way! This is the stuff of which B-minuses are made! Just because you may look a little foolish –

The film suddenly cuts to footage of a naked baby Bart sitting on his training potty and smiling earnestly at the camera.

BART: (EMBARASSED GROAN) Er, maybe people would just be interested in looking at the projector.

All of our favorite stuff is the stuff that we kept from the outline and put into the script that didn't make it on the air. Because a lot of it was just desperate attempts to try to keep this stuff in.

Most of things here that would make me laugh is not stuff that necessarily would make other people laugh; it's character stuff with Principal Skinner. And that's why I wrote that Skinner and Chalmers segment for "22 Short Films," because I wanted to have a showcase for nothing but Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers, my favorite character, just doing what they do. It's all character comedy and there are no actual jokes in it, no gags whatsoever.

And so what made me laugh revisiting this episode is Principal Skinner stuff that just sounds like Principal Skinner. So a lot of the stuff in the late first act where he's kind of flipping out. I love this thing in the outline on page 11, that was also in the script, where they're in the faculty lounge and there was a faculty art contest to draw pictures of Bart, I like that a lot.

INT. FACULTY LOUNGE – CONTINUOUS

The dog's drool drips out of the grate and into a cup of coffee.

HIP SIXTIES TEACHER: …but it was a great concert – pure Fogleberg (PICKS UP COFFEE, SIPS IT)

The door flies open and Principal Skinner and Willie burst in, followed by a bunch of overexcited kids and teachers.

PRINCIPAL SKINNER: Ssshhh! (SOTTO, POINTING UP) He's up there.

Principal Skinner gingerly climbs up on the table and unlatches the grate. He sticks his head into the vent. From the dog's POV, we see Skinner's head popping into the vent. He gives Skinner a big, wet lick across the face then calmly saunters off down the vent and around a corner.

PRINCIIPAL SKINNER: Uccch. (LOOKING DOWN) Excuse me, pupils are not allowed in the Teacher's Lounge.

Kids are now wandering around the lounge, picking up papers, looking in cabinets, etc.

MILHOUSE: Hey Bart, look, there's a bunch of drawings of you!

He points to a bulletin board which says "Faculty Art Contest" and has several rude drawings of Bart drawn by various teachers.

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  • Carleton Atwater

    Is anyone else having trouble with the View as a single page link?

    • http://splitsider.com Adam Frucci

      It appears to be broken! I am sorry, I'm working on getting it fixed but it may not happen til tomorrow.

      • Johnny Austin

        Hey there. Are the documents available for viewing anywhere? They don't seem to be there on the links.

  • http://www.twitter.com/becca_oneal Rebecca O'Neal

    This is how the sausage is made! Anyone else suddenly have the urge to become a sausage maker?

    Great, great, great piece.

  • http://www.thepurdman.com Kevin Purdy

    What I love–besides all the inside Simpsons baseball–is that the writers did some amazing work in writing around the problems they face in stuffing a big story into 22 minutes.

    So even though Oakley didn't love how Flanders eventually got fired, it brought out a pretty classic line by Chalmers: "That sounded like a prayer. A PRAYER in a public school. God has NO PLACE within these walls, just like facts don't have a place within organized religion."

    I love this episode.

  • mmmfreegoo

    what amazes me about this, is the quality of the ideas that didn't make it into the episode… …well it doesn't amaze me that much considering the quality of episode at that time.

    But ultimately, the unused ideas I have read about in this article have made me lol more than anything produced by zombie simpsons (seasons 10+).