Splitsider

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

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

I like this thing, again both in the outline of the script that got cut, where Milhouse says, "Principal Skinner you look terrible, can I get you a glass of water?" And Skinner says, "Food and drink not permitted in gymnasium." He's having a nervous breakdown and he sort of just mutters that. That made me laugh out loud when I read it half an hour ago, because it's all just so perfect for this moment, it's so natural. It's such a natural thing that Milhouse would say in that situation, it's so natural for Principal Skinner to respond in that way. It really shows his personality. Even when he's having a nervous breakdown, that's what remains of his personality — these dumb school rules. Even when there's nothing left but the very core of that man's soul, that's what remains, trivial elementary school bureaucracy.

INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – GYMNASIUM – LATER

The gym is filled with paramedics, police, firemen, teachers and students. The firemen are raising a tall ladder under Willie and the dog. Chief Wiggum walks by Eddie and Lou, who are shooting baskets.

CHIEF WIGGUM: That's nice work, boys.

Principal Skinner stands around blankly, looking like he's had a nervous breakdown.

PRINCIPAL SKINNER: (QUAVERING) I-I… can't… take… this.
MILHOUSE: Uh, Principal Skinner, can I get you a glass of water or something?
PRINCIPAL SKINNER: Food and drink… not permitted… in gymnasium.

The thing about Homer taking the cat to work made me laugh. I also loved cat jokes, as a multiple time cat owner. We wanted to put the cat in because cats have so much less personality than dogs — at least Snowball II did — and it was funny to see him get a moment of behaving realistically at the plant. You know, if you took a cat to work, that's what it would do. It would crawl under the desk.

ESTABLISHING SHOT – NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

INT. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT – HOMER'S WORKSTATION – LATER

Standing at the door to his workstation, Homer eagerly gestures to Lenny and Carl.

HOMER: Psst, guys, I got a plan that'll get us out of work real early today. Allow me to introduce you to Plan "X."

Homer spins his chair around to reveal a frightened Snowball II sitting there. He tries to lift it up, but it digs its claws into the chair. He finally rips it free and sets it on the floor.

HOMER: Now, we sit back and wait for the fireworks.

He sits down and swivels around, revealing the panic stricken cat is frantically hanging on to the back of the chair with all fours.

LENNY: Can we go home, yet?
CARL: Eh, I'll just go phone in a bomb threat.

I love this joke about Grandpa serving half of his term in congress. Josh and I were huge Watergate buffs, and I was reading this and remembering how much I loved that and wish that we had gotten it on the air, with how Grandpa was briefly a congressman, in the early 1970s, and had been indicted in Watergate. Now why he was a congressman when Watergate was confined entirely to the White House and Executive Branch, I have no idea. You know, the more I think about it the more it doesn't make any sense as a Watergate buff, but who cares?

INT. SIMPSON HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – LATER

HOMER: (FURIOUS ANNOYED GRUNT)

Reveal that homer is holding an official looking letter.

HOMER: I do not recall volunteering to be Sergeant-at-Arms!

FLASHBACK – PTA MEETING

NED: Who wants to be Sergeant-at- Arms?
HOMER: Me, me, me, me, me! Me, me, me, me, me, me!

BACK TO REALITY

MARGE: Homer, all you have to do is lead a meeting once a month.
HOMER: But Marge, you know this family's not fit to hold high office. Grampa only served half his term in Congress before he was kicked out.

Homer points to a framed newspaper with the headline "Watergate Ax Falls: Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Simpson Indicted." Below is a photo of Grampa, in a 70's style suit, being escorted down the Capitol steps by police.

So, this thing made me laugh like a madman. This is only in the outline, page 22 — when Bart says, "Oh, Principle Skinner, I didn't know you went shopping." And Principle Skinner says, "Of course. I do a lot of normal things: I snap my fingers 100 times each morning; I teach myself carousel repair; and I collect amateur films of buildings being demolished." I think Josh must have known someone, or maybe we both knew someone or some teacher who said that you needed to snap your fingers 100 times each morning to keep your knuckles healthy or whatever? And it just feels so believable.

MILHOUSE: Bart, look. It's Principal Skinner, and I think he's gone crazy. He's not wearing a suit or tie or anything!

We see Principal Skinner come out of a nearby aisle. He is wearing jeans, Keds, and a cardigan sweater.

BART: Principal Skinner… I didn't know you went shopping.
PRINCIPAL SKINNER: Of course. I do a lot of normal things: I snap my fingers 100 times each morning; I teach myself carousel repair; and I collect amateur films of buildings being demolished.
BART: I feel sort of guilty about my dog getting you fired, and biting you, and then making that mess in your office.

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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+).