Whacking Day: Wikis


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"Whacking Day"
The Simpsons episode
Mayor Quimby with his pre-whacked snakes
Episode no. 79
Prod. code 9F18
Orig. airdate April 29, 1993
Show runner(s) Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Jeffrey Lynch
Chalkboard "I will return the seeing-eye dog".[1]
Couch gag The Simpsons walk in to find exact versions of themselves sitting down.[2]
Guest star(s) Barry White as himself
Matt Groening
Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Jeffrey Lynch
David Silverman

"Whacking Day" is the twentieth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season, and originally aired April 29, 1993.[1] It concerns the fictional holiday "Whacking Day", celebrated annually May 10, in which the citizens of Springfield drive snakes into the town square, then club them to death. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Jeffrey Lynch; Barry White, who had expressed a wish to appear in the show, guest stars as himself. It was pitched by the "animal conscious" George Meyer who wanted to create an episode against the mistreatment of snakes. The episode marks the first appearance of Superintendent Chalmers. It features an Itchy & Scratchy parody of Oliver Stone's JFK, and won a Genesis Award.



Principal Skinner locks Bart, Jimbo, Kearney, Dolph and Nelson in a utility basement, with the promise of free mountain bikes, during an inspection by Superintendent Chalmers. Bart escapes through a ventilation shaft, and takes Groundskeeper Willie's tractor for a joyride, crashing into Chalmers. Having cost him any chance of a promotion, Skinner expels Bart. After being quickly expelled from a new private Christian school, Marge decides to homeschool Bart.

Meanwhile, Kent Brockman announces that Springfield's annual "Whacking Day" is approaching. Each year on May 10, the people of Springfield drive snakes to the center of town and beat them to death. The tradition appalls Lisa. Barry White arrives to begin festivities, but is disgusted when he discovers what the holiday is about. Bart finds out about the true origin of Whacking Day and suggests to Lisa that they lure the snakes to safety by playing music with a lot of bass and putting the stereo speakers to the ground. They get assistance from White who sings "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" attracting hundreds of snakes into the house.

The crowd arrives in pursuit, 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 1924 as an excuse to beat up the Irish. Mayor Quimby, not knowing the city has changed its heart, shows up with pre-whacked snakes, but is booed. 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. Racing to the school with the mountain bikes, Skinner tells Willie if the bullies are dead, they make for Mexico. Willie agrees, but in private mutters he'll turn Skinner in at the first tollbooth.


Writer George Meyer, who was very "animal conscious" was interested in writing an episode related to an annual ritual held in a Texan town, where the townspeople would beat rattlesnakes with sticks. Meyer did not have time to pen the episode himself, so the idea was given to John Swartzwelder.[3] The subject matter of "beating snakes" worried the staff who thought that many would deem it cruel, even though the episode's message is against the mistreatment of snakes.[3] The episode's first act was one of the shortest the staff had ever written at that time, roughly ten pages in length, but with no ideas to expand, they left it as it was.[3] Due to this, the main plot does not start until the beginning of the second act, as the writers could not come up with much material for it.[3] In order to speed up animation, director Jeffrey Lynch "begged" storyboard artists Kevin O'Brien and Steve Markowski to help him with the episode. The three spent months on the episode.[4] Barry White had wanted to guest star on the show, and so he was written into the plot. He sang "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" specially for the episode, rather than using a recorded version.[3]

The song Grampa was supposed to sing in his flashback, showing how he posed as a German cabaret singer in World War II, was "Falling in Love Again (Can't Help It)" by Marlene Dietrich. The staff could not get the rights to it because, according to the people who own the song, "everybody makes fun of it". Much of the flashback was pitched by Conan O'Brien.[5] The episode marks the first appearance of Superintendent Chalmers. The staff wanted to introduce a boss for Skinner, and Wallace Wolodarsky pitched his name. Much of the dialogue and interactions between Skinner and Chalmers were ad-libbed by Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria.[3]

Cultural references

The untitled Itchy & Scratchy short, with "guest director" Oliver Stone, is a parody of the scene where Jack Ruby shoots Lee Harvey Oswald in Stone's film JFK.[2] The song "O Whacking Day" uses the same tune as the Christmas carol "O Tannenbaum", known in English as "O Christmas Tree".[1] Additionally, Bob Woodward is shown to be the author of the book The Truth About Whacking Day.[1]


For "consciousness-raising on behalf of animal issues,"[6] the episode was awarded the Genesis Award for "Best Television Prime Time Animated Series" in 1994.[7] In its original American broadcast, "Whacking Day" finished tied for 25th in the weekly ratings for the week of April 26–May 2, 1993 with a Nielsen rating of 12.2. It was the highest rated show from the Fox Network that week.[8] Jeffrey Lee Puckett of The Courier-Journal cited "Whacking Day" as "the series' richest episode." He wrote: "In 22 remarkable minutes, 'Whacking Day' skewers the quality of America's educational system, self-aggrandizing politicians, greed, the mob mentality, sexuality in the age of political correctness and the whole notion of political correctness, and makes a hero of Barry White."[9] Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News noted the episode was one of the fourth season's best episodes in his review of the DVD.[10] The show's creator Matt Groening considers Homer's "I am evil Homer" fantasy to be one of the greatest moments in the show's history.[11]

A 2003 article in the The Journal News reported that records show genuine "Whacking Days" having taken place in Eastchester, New York from 1665 onwards: "That one day every spring be chosen for the destroying of rattle snakes." The article quoted show runner Al Jean as saying: "I agree with the premise of the episode: leave the snakes alone. They didn't hurt anybody."[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Richmond, Ray; Antonia Coffman (1997). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family. Harper Collins Publishers. p. 114. ISBN 0-00-638898-1. 
  2. ^ a b Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "'Whacking Day'". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/simpsons/episodeguide/season4/page21.shtml. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Jean, Al. (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Whacking Day". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ Lynch, Jeffrey. (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Whacking Day". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ Reiss, Mike. (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Whacking Day". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ Gary Lycan (1994-06-20). "Using Awards to Fight Cruelty to Animals – Preview: Show Cites Media and Entertainment Contributions to Cause of Humane Treatment". The Orange County Register. p. F-10. 
  7. ^ "Free Willy, Simpsons Win Genesis Awards". Rocky Mountain News. 1994-01-30. p. 56A. 
  8. ^ "Nielsen Ratings/April 26–May 2". Press-Telegram. 1993-05-05. p. C-6. 
  9. ^ Puckett, Jeffrey Lee (1999-03-27). "Toons for Our Times". The Courier-Journal. p. 12S. 
  10. ^ Vognar, Chris (2004-06-18). "A Fine Song and Dance: Simpsons' Musical Spoofs are Worthy of an Encore". The Dallas Morning News. p. 16-H. 
  11. ^ Groening, Matt. (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Whacking Day". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  12. ^ Chris Serico (2003-07-31). "Move Over, Homer! Eastchester Had Its Own 'Whacking Day'". The Journal News. p. 9-A. 

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