Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song

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"Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 100
Production code 1F18
Original air date April 28, 1994
Showrunner(s) David Mirkin
Written by Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Directed by Bob Anderson
Chalkboard gag "I will not celebrate meaningless milestones"
Couch gag The Simpsons sit on the couch as a translucent Fox station watermark logo appears in the lower right hand corner of the screen. Homer sees it, gets up from the couch, peels it off, and everyone stomps on it.
DVD
commentary
Matt Groening
David Mirkin
Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Bob Anderson
David Silverman

"Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" is the 19th episode of The Simpsons' fifth season, and the 100th episode overall. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 28, 1994. In the episode, Superintendent Chalmers fires Principal Seymour Skinner after a disaster at the school. Bart Simpson, feeling partially responsible for Skinner's firing, tries to help his old principal get his job back.

The episode was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, and directed by Bob Anderson. It was selected for release in a 1999 video collection of selected episodes called The Simpsons: Greatest Hits. The episode features cultural references to films such as Alien and Full Metal Jacket. The title is a parody of the film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 12.7, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

Plot[edit]

After dismissing the idea of taking Simpson family home videos and a geode, Bart brings Santa's Little Helper to school for show and tell. Even though his show-and-tell presentation is well received by the class, the dog escapes into the school air ducts to follow the food scent coming from the kitchen and is spotted by Ralph Wiggum. Groundskeeper Willie is sent after the dog and catches it, but he chooses the wrong vent to exit and the fire department is called in to rescue him. As the firemen are attempting to rescue Willie, an outraged Superintendent Chalmers appears and fires Principal Skinner, much to Bart's shock.

Chalmers hires Ned Flanders as the new principal of Springfield Elementary School, but when Flanders is hesitant to discipline the children, they run amok, and the school becomes a mad house. Martin Prince can be seen in a cage hanging from a ceiling, stating that his 'water dish is empty'. Meanwhile, Bart befriends the now jobless Skinner, as they laugh about anecdotes of Flanders's failure that Bart relates. Feeling lonely, Skinner eventually decides to re-enlist in the United States Army.

Instead of rejoicing in the discipline-less school, Bart feels guilty about causing Skinner's dismissal. In an effort to get Skinner his job back, Bart attempts to expose Flanders's poor leadership to Chalmers. Despite the state of chaos at the school, Chalmers is not concerned. However, upon hearing Flanders utter a brief mention of God over the intercom, Chalmers immediately fires Flanders for reciting a school prayer. Skinner is soon re-hired as principal. Bart and Skinner share an amicable chat about their typically antagonistic relationship, then affectionately pat each other on the back. However, as they turn from each other, it is revealed Bart has taped a "Kick Me" sign on Skinner's back, and Skinner has taped a "Teach Me" sign on Bart. The two chuckle to themselves as they walk away.

Production[edit]

A portrait of a man with black hair looking at the viewer
Bill Oakley wrote the episode together with his partner Josh Weinstein.

"Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, and directed by Bob Anderson.[1] Oakley and Weinstein decided to do a Skinner and Bart episode because the staff wanted to take a diversion from the relatively wacky, fast-paced episodes that had comprised Season 5 so far and, according to show runner David Mirkin, "slow down parts of the show to take time for more emotional episodes like this one". Much of Principal Skinner's behavior in the episode is based on teachers Oakley and Weinstein had in high school who, according to Oakley, were "sad, lonely guys who lived with their mothers."[2] It was selected to air as the 100th episode of the show because the staff wanted that particular episode to focus on Bart.[3]

Baby Gerald, Luigi Risotto, Assistant Superintendent Leopold, and Flanders's parents make their first appearances on the show in this episode. Leopold and Luigi were designed by David Silverman, one of the show's directors. Anderson thought Luigi was one of the funniest characters on the show when he first read Luigi's lines in the script during a table read of the episode, on the day of the recording sessions. When Anderson skimmed through the script and saw Luigi's lines, he said he "frightened Julie Kavner because I was laughing to myself, but trying to keep the laughter in because it was so damn funny."[4]

"Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 28, 1994.[5] The episode was selected for release in a 1999 video collection of selected episodes called, The Simpsons: Greatest Hits,[6] which also included the episodes "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", "Lisa's First Word", "Trash of the Titans", and "Bart Gets an F".[6] The episode was again included in the 2003 DVD release of the Greatest Hits set, which also included all the other episodes except "Trash of the Titans".[7] "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" was also included in The Simpsons season five DVD set, which was released on December 21, 2004.[8]

Cultural references[edit]

The episode's title is a reference to the 1971 Melvin Van Peebles film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.[5] Skinner's quote "We'll always have the laundromat" is a reference to a famous quote by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. The beginning scene of the episode, in which Marge, Lisa, and Bart watch a home video, is a parody of the television series The Wonder Years; the Joe Cocker version of the song "With a Little Help from My Friends" from that series is also used in the background of the opening scene.[2] The scene in which Santa's Little Helper runs through the school vent is a reference to a scene in the film Alien, as is Skinner's use of a heat-seeking tracer to pin down the positions of Groundskeeper Willie and Santa's Little Helper within the ventilation system.[1] Skinner says he was shot in the back at a United Service Organizations (USO) show while trying to get "Joey Heatherton to put some pants on", a reference to American actress Joey Heatherton.[5] Skinner's attire and shots of him running with his troops are references to the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket.[3] Skinner tells Apu Nahasapeemapetilon of his plan to write a novel about an amusement park with dinosaurs called Billy and the Cloneasaurus, which Apu rightfully condemns as a concept of plagiarism; the book is a reference to the Michael Crichton novel Jurassic Park.[9] When Martin is in a cage, he is singing the Toreador Song from the opera Carmen. In describing the relationship of Bart and Skinner, Lisa Simpson compares them to Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, the famous characters from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle detective stories; she also compares them to Mountain Dew and Mello Yello, which she describes as mortal enemies.[10]

Reception[edit]

In its original American broadcast, "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" finished 16th in the ratings for the week of April 25–May 1, 1994, with a Nielsen Rating of 12.7, translating to 12 million households. The episode was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week.[11]

Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, wrote, "The 100th episode [...] is a fine one, with Principal Skinner's idea for a novel and the conduct of the staff at the Italian restaurant as highpoints."[5] DVD Movie Guide's Colin Jacobson said the opening scene of episode reminded him of when he was in second grade and got a puppy for Christmas. Jacobson said, "I still recall the excitement when my mom brought [the dog] into school for the others to see, and the first segment of [the episode] reflects the atmosphere caused by a doggie visit. The rest of the episode gets into Skinner’s life nicely. Toss in a great Alien reference and the episode offers yet another solid show." Jacobson also said he liked the appearance of Flanders's "beatnik father".[12] Gary Mullinax of The News Journal called the episode "very funny" and named it one of his top-ten favorite episodes.[13] Patrick Bromley of DVD Verdict gave the episode a B+ grade,[14] and Bill Gibron of DVD Talk gave the episode a 4 out of 5 score.[15] Dave Manley of DVDActive said in a review of The Simpsons: Greatest Hits that it was "certainly one of the weaker [episodes on the DVD] – I can only assume the fact that it was episode 100 is what gets it onto this disc."[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.  ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. p. 141.
  2. ^ a b Oakley, Bill (2004). The Simpsons season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  3. ^ a b Mirkin, David (2004). The Simpsons season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ Anderson, Bob (2004). The Simpsons season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ a b c d Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song". BBC. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  6. ^ a b "The Simpsons: Greatest Hits (VHS)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  7. ^ "The Simpsons: Greatest Hits (DVD)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  8. ^ "The Simpsons - The Complete 5th Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  9. ^ Rayner, Ben. "Fine tooning: Trying to explain The Simpsons." Toronto Star, October 24, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-02-16.
  10. ^ "'The Simpsons' AZ; Springfield's finest." Chicago Tribune, July 22, 2007. Retrieved on 2009-02-16.
  11. ^ "Nielsen Ratings". The Denver Post. May 5, 1994. p. E10. 
  12. ^ Jacobson, Colin (2004-12-21). "The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season (1993)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  13. ^ Mullinax, Gary (March 16, 2003). "Homer's Odyssey". The News Journal. pp. 14–16. 
  14. ^ Bromley, Patrick (2005-02-23). "The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  15. ^ Gibron, Bill (December 23, 2004). "The Simpsons - The Complete Fifth Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  16. ^ Manley, Dave. "Simpsons, The: Greatest Hits (UK - DVD R2) in Reviews". DVDActive. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 

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