"22 Short Films About Springfield" is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 14, 1996. It was written by Richard Appel, David S. Cohen, Jonathan Collier, Jennifer Crittenden, Greg Daniels, Brent Forrester, Dan Greaney, Rachel Pulido, Steve Tompkins, Josh Weinstein, Bill Oakley, and Matt Groening, with the writing being supervised by Daniels. The episode was directed by Jim Reardon. Phil Hartman guest starred as Lionel Hutz and the hospital board chairman.
The episode depicts brief incidents experienced by a wide array of Springfield residents in a series of interconnected stories that take place over a single day. The episode's concept originated from the end segment of the season four episode "The Front", and serves as a loose parody of Pulp Fiction, which gave the staff the idea of a possible spin-off from The Simpsons. The title is a reference to the film Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. The episode received positive reviews from critics, and is noted for its popularity among fans.
|"22 Short Films About Springfield"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7|
Episode 21 (149th overall)
|Directed by||Jim Reardon|
|Written by||Richard Appel|
David S. Cohen
|Original air date||April 14, 1996|
|Couch gag||The family are sea monkeys, and swim to a couch made of clam shells to stare at an open treasure chest.|
David S. Cohen
The episode's principal idea came from the season four episode "The Front", which contained a short sequence entitled "The Adventures of Ned Flanders", featuring its own title card and theme song, at its conclusion. The scene has no relevance to the main plot of the episode and was designed solely as filler to accommodate the episode's short runtime. The staff loved the concept and attempted to fit similar scenes into other episodes, but none were short enough to require one. Show runners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein decided to make an entire episode of linked short scenes involving many of the show's characters, in a similar style to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. The title "22 Short Films About Springfield" was decided upon from the start of the episode's production, even though there are not actually twenty-two stories in it. Originally there were more scenes, but several of them had to be cut out for time. To decide who would write each of the segments, all of the writers chose their top three favorite characters and put them into a hat, the names were drawn out and the writers were assigned their parts. Oakley wrote the Superintendent Chalmers story, Weinstein did the Comic Book Guy and Milhouse scene, David Cohen penned the Reverend Lovejoy sketch, as well as the deleted Krusty the Clown scene. Brent Forrester wrote the Krusty Burger scene, while Rachel Pulido wrote the Bumblebee Man one. Richard Appel wrote a deleted "elaborate fantasy segment" revolving around Marge, the only remnant of which is her cleaning the sink during the first Lisa scene, and also did a scene with Lionel Hutz that was dropped as well.
The episode's first draft was 65 pages long and needed to be cut down to just 42, so numerous scenes were cut for time or because they did not fit into the overall dynamic of the episode. To solve this problem, a scene before the second act break, where the townspeople go to the Simpson house to provide advice of how Lisa can get the gum out of her hair, was created to include every character that did not appear anywhere else during the course of the episode. Weinstein and writing supervisor Greg Daniels was responsible for ordering and linking together the episodes, and director Jim Reardon had the challenge of segueing between each section in a way that did not make the change seem abrupt. Those that were hard to link were put before or after an act break or were given a theme song, one of which was cut from the Apu story, but was included as a deleted scene on the DVD.
Bill Oakley wrote the Chalmers scene because he is his all-time favorite character from the show. The main reason he loved him was that, until Frank Grimes was created for the season eight episode "Homer's Enemy", Chalmers was the only character that "seemed to operate in the normal human universe". In previous episodes, Skinner and Chalmers' scenes together revolved around one joke: Skinner tells Chalmers an unbelievable lie, but Chalmers believes him anyway. So, their scene in this episode is made up of a string of thirteen interconnected lies. The dialogue between him and Skinner was something that had never been done before, in that it is just a long relaxed conversation with nothing important being said at all.
In the Mr. Burns story, every single word he yells at Smithers is real and used correctly. To maintain accuracy, the writers used a 19th-century slang thesaurus to look up words. 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. The very tall man was a caricature of writer Ian Maxtone-Graham, and 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.
The episode contains numerous references to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Like the film, the episode's plot is episodic, though the stories are interconnected. The policemen's conversation about McDonald's parallels the famous "Royale With Cheese" discussion, and the music played during the segment's beginning was also taken from the film. The story involving Chief Wiggum and Snake is a direct parody of the "Gold Watch" segment of the film. Snake runs over Wiggum at a red light, alluding to the segment of the film where the character of Butch Coolidge did the same to Marsellus Wallace, before crashing into a fire hydrant and beginning an on-foot chase. The two run into Herman's Military Antique shop, where Herman beats, ties up and gags the two, then waits for "Zed" to arrive, exactly as Maynard does in Pulp Fiction. The writers were pleased that Herman already existed as otherwise they would have had to create another character just for this scene. The episode's title is a reference to the film Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould.
In its original broadcast, "22 Short Films About Springfield" finished tied for 73rd in the weekly ratings for the week of April 8–14, 1996, with a Nielsen rating of 6.9. It was the seventh highest rated show from the Fox network that week. On March 12, 2002, the episode was released in the United States on a DVD collection titled The Simpsons Film Festival, along with the season eleven episode "Beyond Blunderdome", the season four episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie", and the season six episode "A Star is Burns".
The episode is Bill Oakley's personal favorite episode, but it is hated by two prominent figures within the running of the show. That said, the episode is frequently cited as a popular one amongst the show's fans on the Internet. In 1998, TV Guide listed it in its list of top twelve Simpsons episodes. Entertainment Weekly placed the episode 14th on their top 25 The Simpsons episode list, praising the episode's structure and finding the Pulp Fiction references "priceless". Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, called it "an untypical episode, and a very good one", naming the Skinner and Chalmers story as the best. IGN named "A Fish Called Selma" the best episode of the seventh season, but found that "22 Short Films About Springfield" was "good competition" for the crown. Empire named the episode's Pulp Fiction parody the seventh best film gag in the show, calling Wiggum and Snake bound and gagged with red balls in their mouths "the sickest visual gag in Simpsons history". The episode is the favorite of British comedian Jimmy Carr who called it "a brilliant pastiche of art cinema". Entertainment.ie named it among the 10 greatest Simpsons episodes of all time.
The episode sparked the idea amongst the staff for a spin-off series entitled Springfield Stories or simply Springfield. The proposed show would focus on the town in general, rather than the Simpson family. Every week would be a different scenario, such as three short stories, an adventure with young Homer, or a story about a background character that was not tied into the Simpson family at all. The idea never resulted in anything, as Groening realized that the staff did not have the manpower to produce another show as well as The Simpsons. The staff maintains that it is something that they would still be interested in doing, and that it "could happen someday." "22 Short Films About Springfield" also helped inspire the Futurama episode "Three Hundred Big Boys".
The "Skinner & The Superintendent" segment of the episode became the popular subject of internet memes in 2017 and 2018. In the segment Seymour Skinner invents the term "steamed hams" to refer to hamburgers, claiming that it is an expression in the regional dialect of Albany, New York. Over two decades after the episode's airing, the scene gained renewed popularity in Facebook groups and pages relating to The Simpsons.
In 2016, Australian supermarket chain Woolworths noted that "about 1000 people" commented on its Facebook page inquiring about "steamed hams". The company responded to these requests by posting an image of hams with the caption, "We've received a lot of feedback from you all in the last 24 hours about whether we stock 'Steamed Hams'. Please note that in Australia, we call them Hamburgers. 'Steamed Hams' is an Albany, New York expression. Fans of The Simpsons, this is for you". The continuing popularity of the segment with Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers also caused an upsurge in fan-made YouTube remixes and variants in November 2017 and afterward, with even original writer of the segment Bill Oakley chiming in as well by releasing the original draft for the segment on Twitter. In 2019, Watchmojo.com ranked the meme #1 on their "Top 10 Hilarious Simpsons Memes" list.
Events in 1996 in animation.Bill Oakley
William Lloyd Oakley (born February 27, 1966) is an American television writer and producer, known for his work on the animated comedy series The Simpsons. Oakley and Josh Weinstein became best friends and writing partners at high school; Oakley then attended Harvard University and was Vice President of the Harvard Lampoon. He worked on several short-term media projects, including writing for the variety show Sunday Best, but was then unemployed for a long period.
Oakley and Weinstein eventually penned a spec script for Seinfeld, after which they wrote "Marge Gets a Job", an episode of The Simpsons. Subsequently, the two were hired to write for the show on a permanent basis in 1992. After they wrote episodes such as "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)", "Bart vs. Australia" and "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", the two were appointed executive producers and showrunners for the seventh and eighth seasons of the show. They attempted to include several emotional episodes focusing on the Simpson family, as well as several high-concept episodes such as "Homer's Enemy", "Two Bad Neighbors" and "The Principal and the Pauper", winning three Primetime Emmy Awards for their work.
After they left The Simpsons, Oakley and Weinstein created Mission Hill. The show was plagued by promotional issues and was swiftly canceled. They worked as consulting producers on Futurama, then created The Mullets in 2003. The two wrote several unsuccessful TV pilots, and were due to serve as showrunners on Sit Down, Shut Up in 2009. Oakley left the project over a contract dispute. He has since written for The Cleveland Show and Portlandia, without Weinstein. He also served as co-executive producer and writer on Portlandia, sharing a Writers Guild of America Award with his fellow writers in 2013. In 2018, Oakley reunited with Weinstein as co-executive producer on Disenchantment, Matt Groening's series for Netflix. Oakley is married to fellow writer Rachel Pulido.Brent Forrester
Brent Forrester (born May 12, 1967) is an American writer and producer, who wrote several episodes of the animated television sitcom The Simpsons between 1993 and 1997. He has also worked as an executive producer on King of the Hill, and a writer on The Ben Stiller Show, Mr. Show with Bob and David, Undeclared, and The Office. Forrester has also written feature films.Greg Daniels
Gregory Martin Daniels (born June 13, 1963) is an American television comedy writer, producer, and director. He is known for his work on several television series, including Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Parks and Recreation, King of the Hill and The Office. All five shows were named among Time's James Poniewozik's All Time 100 TV Shows. Daniels attended Harvard University and he became friends with Conan O'Brien. Their first writing credit was for Not Necessarily the News, before they were laid off due to budget cuts. He eventually became a writer for two long-running series: Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons.
He joined the writing staff of The Simpsons during the fifth season, and he wrote several classic episodes including "Lisa's Wedding," "Bart Sells His Soul" and "22 Short Films About Springfield." He left the series in order to co-create another long-running animated series, King of the Hill, with Mike Judge. The series ran for thirteen years before it was cancelled in 2009, then in 2010. During the series run, he worked on several other series, including the American version of The Office and Parks and Recreation. As of 2016, he is an executive producer on the TBS series People of Earth.Ian Maxtone-Graham
Ian Howes Maxtone-Graham (born July 3, 1959) is an American television writer and producer. He has formerly written for Saturday Night Live (1992–1995) and The Simpsons (1995–2012), as well as serving as a co-executive producer and consulting producer for the latter.Jennifer Crittenden
Jennifer Crittenden (born August 29, 1969) is an American screenwriter and producer. She started her writing career on the animated television series The Simpsons, and has since written for several other television sitcoms including Everybody Loves Raymond and Seinfeld. Her work has earned her several Emmy Award nominations.Jim Reardon
Jim Reardon (born 1965) is an American animation director and storyboard consultant best known for his work on the animated TV series The Simpsons. He has directed over 30 episodes of the series and was credited as a supervising director for seasons 9 through 15. Reardon attended the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts in 1982, where one of his student projects, the satirical cartoon Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown (1986), has become a cult classic through the likes of YouTube. He was hired by John Kricfalusi as a writer on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures and later worked on Tiny Toon Adventures. He has been described by Ralph Bakshi as "one of the best cartoon writers in the business".Reardon supervised the storyboard department and co-wrote the Pixar film WALL-E with Andrew Stanton, which was released on June 27, 2008. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for WALL-E at the 81st Academy Awards.Jonathan Collier
Jonathan Collier is an American television writer, best known for his work on The Simpsons, Monk, and King of the Hill. He worked as an executive producer on Mike Reiss' DVD movie, Queer Duck: The Movie. He attended and graduated from Harvard University. He is arguably best known for his work on Bones, especially in the later seasons.Josh Weinstein
Josh Weinstein (born May 5, 1966) is an American television writer and producer, known for his work on the animated comedy series The Simpsons. Weinstein and Bill Oakley became best friends and writing partners at St. Albans High School; Weinstein then attended Stanford University and was editor-in-chief of the Stanford Chaparral. He worked on several short-term media projects, including writing for the variety show Sunday Best, but was then unemployed for a long period.
Weinstein and Oakley eventually penned a spec script for Seinfeld, after which they wrote "Marge Gets a Job", an episode of The Simpsons. Subsequently, the two were hired to write for the show on a permanent basis in 1992. After they wrote episodes such as "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)", "Bart vs. Australia" and "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", the two were appointed executive producers and showrunners for the seventh and eighth seasons of the show. They attempted to include several emotional episodes focusing on the Simpson family, as well as several high-concept episodes such as "Homer's Enemy", "Two Bad Neighbors" and "The Principal and the Pauper", winning three Primetime Emmy Awards for their work.
After they left The Simpsons, Oakley and Weinstein created Mission Hill. The show was plagued by promotional issues and was swiftly canceled, but in subsequent years has gone on to develop a cult following. They worked as consulting producers on Futurama, then created The Mullets in 2003. The two wrote several unsuccessful TV pilots, and were due to serve as showrunners on Sit Down, Shut Up in 2009. Oakley left the project over a contract dispute, but Weinstein remained until it was canceled. He co-produced and wrote for Futurama again during its Comedy Central revival, winning an Emmy in 2011. Since 2013, Weinstein has served as showrunner for the CBBC series Strange Hill High, and in 2015, Danger Mouse. He has also served as a writer for Season Two of Gravity Falls, co-writing nine of the season's episodes. In 2018, Weinstein co-developed the Netflix animated series Disenchantment with creator Matt Groening, of which he and Oakley are currently serving as co-showrunners. Weinstein is married to journalist Lisa Simmons.Matt Groening
Matthew Abraham Groening ( (listen) GRAY-ning; born February 15, 1954) is an American cartoonist, writer, producer, animator, and voice actor. He is the creator of the comic strip Life in Hell (1977–2012) and the television series The Simpsons (1989–present), Futurama (1999–2003, 2008–2013), and Disenchantment (2018–present). The Simpsons is the longest-running U.S. primetime-television series in history and the longest-running U.S. animated series and sitcom.
Groening made his first professional cartoon sale of Life in Hell to the avant-garde Wet magazine in 1978. At its peak, the cartoon was carried in 250 weekly newspapers. Life in Hell caught the attention of James L. Brooks. In 1985, Brooks contacted Groening with the proposition of working in animation for the Fox variety show The Tracey Ullman Show. Originally, Brooks wanted Groening to adapt his Life in Hell characters for the show. Fearing the loss of ownership rights, Groening decided to create something new and came up with a cartoon family, the Simpson family, and named the members after his own parents and sisters—while Bart was an anagram of the word "brat". The shorts would be spun off into their own series The Simpsons, which has since aired 662 episodes. In 1997, Groening and former Simpsons writer David X. Cohen developed Futurama, an animated series about life in the year 3000, which premiered in 1999, running for four years on Fox, then picked up by Comedy Central for additional seasons. In 2016, Groening developed a new series for Netflix titled Disenchantment, which premiered in August 2018.
Groening has won thirteen Primetime Emmy Awards, eleven for The Simpsons and two for Futurama as well as a British Comedy Award for "outstanding contribution to comedy" in 2004. In 2002, he won the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award for his work on Life in Hell. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 14, 2012.Ned Flanders
Nedward Flanders Jr. is a recurring fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the series premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". He is the extremely religious, good-natured, cheery next-door neighbor to the Simpson family and is generally envied and loathed by Homer Simpson. A scrupulous and devout Evangelical Christian, he is among the friendliest and most compassionate of Springfield's residents and is generally considered a pillar of the Springfield community.
He was one of the first characters outside the immediate Simpson family to appear on the show, and has since been central to several episodes, the first being season two's "Dead Putting Society". His last name comes from Flanders St. in Portland, Oregon, the hometown of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. When he was created, he was intended to just be a neighbor who was very nice, but whom Homer abhorred.Reverend Lovejoy
Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, Jr. is a recurring character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the episode "The Telltale Head".
Rev. Lovejoy is the minister at The First Church of Springfield—the Protestant church in Springfield. Initially kind-hearted and ambitious, Lovejoy has become somewhat apathetic towards others because of Ned Flanders's constant asinine scrupulosity.Richard Appel
Richard James Appel (born May 21, 1963) is an American writer, producer and former attorney. Since 2012, he has served as an Executive Producer and co-showrunner of Family Guy on Fox. He attended Harvard University and wrote for the Harvard Lampoon.
Following in his mother's footsteps, Appel instead became a lawyer. After attending law school, he started out as a law clerk for Judge John M. Walker Jr. before becoming a federal attorney, serving as assistant U.S. attorney for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for three years. In 1994, he moved into comedy writing when he was hired for The Simpsons, writing seven episodes of the show including "Mother Simpson". He moved on to become showrunner and executive producer of King of the Hill before creating the sitcom A.U.S.A.. He then worked on The Bernie Mac Show, Family Guy and American Dad! before co-creating The Cleveland Show. He was married to the writer Mona Simpson.Steve Tompkins
Steve Tompkins is an American television writer. He attended Harvard University and wrote for the Harvard Lampoon; he graduated in 1988. He has worked on such television shows such as The Critic, In Living Color, Entourage, The Bernie Mac Show and The Knights of Prosperity. He was also with The Simpsons, for its seventh and eighth seasons; after leaving he co-created The PJs, with Larry Wilmore and Eddie Murphy. He was also the executive producer on the Nickelodeon animated series Fanboy & Chum Chum (with Fred Seibert) and also voiced the character Janitor Poopatine.The Front (The Simpsons)
"The Front" is the nineteenth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It originally aired in the United States on the Fox network on April 15, 1993. In the episode, Bart and Lisa decide to write an episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show; after their script is rejected, they resubmit it under the name of their grandfather Abraham Simpson, resulting in Grampa being hired as a staff writer. Meanwhile, Homer returns to high school to retake a failed science course.
The episode was written by Adam I. Lapidus and directed by Rich Moore. It is the only Simpsons episode written by Lapidus.The Simpsons (season 7)
The Simpsons' seventh season originally aired on the Fox network between September 17, 1995 and May 19, 1996. The show runners for the seventh production season were Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein who would executive produce 21 episodes this season. David Mirkin executive produced the remaining four, including two hold overs that were produced for the previous season. The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Animated Program and won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Program. The DVD box set was released in Region 1 December 13, 2005, Region 2 January 30, 2006 and Region 4 on March 22, 2006. The set was released in two different forms: a Marge-shaped box and also a standard rectangular-shaped box in which the theme is a movie premiere.The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase
"The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" is the twenty-fourth episode of the eighth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 11, 1997. The episode centers on fictional pilot episodes of non-existent television series derived from The Simpsons, and is a parody of the tendency of networks to spin off characters from a hit series. As such it includes references to many different TV series. The first fictional spin-off is Chief Wiggum P.I., a cop-dramedy featuring Chief Wiggum and Seymour Skinner. The second is The Love-matic Grampa, a sitcom featuring Moe Szyslak who receives dating advice from Abraham Simpson, whose ghost is possessing a love testing machine. The final segment is The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour, a variety show featuring the Simpson family except for Lisa, who has been replaced.
The episode was written by David S. Cohen, Dan Greaney and Steve Tompkins, with Ken Keeler coming up with the story and the general idea of intentionally bad writing. It was directed by Neil Affleck, and Tim Conway, Gailard Sartain and Phil Hartman guest-starred. The producers were initially uneasy about the episode, as they feared that the purposely bad writing would be mistaken for actual bad writing. The episode, however, now appears on several lists of the most popular Simpsons episodes.Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould
Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould is a 1993 Canadian biographical-anthology film about the pianist Glenn Gould, played by Colm Feore. It was directed by François Girard, with a screenplay by Girard and Don McKellar.
The film is presented as a series of 31 short films rather than as one narrative. Segments include documentaries, consisting of interviews with individuals who knew the real Gould, and reenactments of episodes in Gould's life. "Gould Meets McLaren" employs animated spheres from Norman McLaren's filmography. The film received positive reviews and won four Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture.Three Hundred Big Boys
"Three Hundred Big Boys" is the sixteenth episode in the fourth season of the American animated television series Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on June 15, 2003. Set in a retro-futuristic 31st century, the series follows the adventures of the employees of Planet Express, an interplanetary delivery company. In this episode, Earth president Richard Nixon issues every citizen with a $300 tax rebate; the Planet Express crew each ponder how they shall spend their money. The episode was inspired by "22 Short Films About Springfield", an episode of The Simpsons.