"Whacking Day" is the twentieth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 29, 1993. The episode revolves around the fictional holiday "Whacking Day", celebrated annually, 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 George Meyer, who wanted to create an episode against the mistreatment of snakes (the episode ended up winning a Genesis Award). The episode includes the first appearance of Superintendent Chalmers, and it features an Itchy & Scratchy parody of Oliver Stone's film JFK.
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, who finds no support from any of the adults of the town. Barry White arrives to begin the festivities, but is disgusted and quickly leaves when he discovers what the holiday is about.
After Marge takes Bart on a fieldtrip to Fort Springfield, Bart discovers that the origins of Whacking Day, which supposedly involved Jebediah Springfield, is a lie because it conflicts with a major Revolutionary War battle he took part in, 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. White, who just happens to have been walking by, agrees to help by singing "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe", attracting hundreds of snakes into the house.
It turns out that the day was actually invented in 1924 as an excuse to beat up the Irish. Principal 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. While the bullies are spending the time talking about their feelings, Principal Skinner and Willie race to the school with the mountain bikes to avoid a potential lawsuit.
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.
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. Barry White wanted to guest star on the show, 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.
The song Grampa was supposed to sing in his flashback, showing how he posed as a German cabaret singer in World War II, was "Lili Marlene" 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. The episode marks the first appearance of Superintendent Chalmers.
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: someone is heard to shout, "Oh God! Get his gun!" as the screenplay draws to a close. The song "O Whacking Day" uses the same tune as the Christmas carol "O Tannenbaum", known in English as "O Christmas Tree". Additionally, Bob Woodward is shown to be the author of the book The Truth About Whacking Day.
the episode was awarded the Genesis Award for "Best Television Prime Time Animated Series" in 1994. 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." 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. 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. Andrew Martin of Prefix Mag named Barry White his fifth favorite musical guest on The Simpsons out of a list of ten.
A 2003 article in 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. 1pp2p30eccmcv3443