Principle Skinner presents the Steamed Hams to Superintendent Chalmers, explaining that "steamed hams" are an Albany expression for hamburgers.

Steamed Hams

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Updated Mar 30, 2021 at 12:43PM EDT by Don.

Added May 05, 2017 at 11:26AM EDT by Matt.

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About

"Steamed Hams" is a memorable skit between Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers on the animated sitcom The Simpsons. The scene has been a popular reference point for fans, who have re-contextualized quotes from the skit making it the frequent subject of shitposting on Facebook and YouTube.

Origin

"Steamed Hams" comes from a scene in the Simpsons episode "22 Short Films About Springfield," which first aired on April 14th, 1996.[1] In the episode, which is an anthology of 22 short scenes about several of the citizens of Springfield, the character Principal Skinner has Superintendent Chalmers over for dinner in a play on the "dinner with the boss" sitcom trope (shown below).[2] The dinner, as per the trope, does not go according to plan, as Skinner burns dinner, leading him to cover the truth about dinner through elaborate and increasingly unbelievable series of lies. After burning dinner and telling Chalmers that he's making "steamed clams" for dinner, Skinner attempts to convince Chalmers that what he had prepared "steamed hams" for dinner, an expression for hamburgers, he says, which is native to Albany, New York.[3]

Principal Skinner: Superintendent, I hope you're ready for mouth-watering hamburgers.
Superintendent Chalmers: I thought we were having steamed clams.
Principal Skinner: Oh, no, I said, "steamed hams." That's what I call hamburgers.
Superintendent Chalmers: You call hamburgers steamed hams.
Principal Skinner: Yes, it's a regional dialect.
Superintendent Chalmers: Uh-huh. What region?
Principal Skinner: Uh, upstate New York.
Superintendent Chalmers: Really. Well, I'm from Utica and I never heard anyone use the phrase, "steamed hams."
Principal Skinner: Oh, not in Utica, no; it's an Albany expression.
Superintendent Chalmers: I see.



While the line has been quoted by fans since the episode aired, one of the earliest examples of it being used online comes from a November 15th, 2007 Urban Dictionary post by user Delaware Mike,[4] who defines "Steamed Hams" as:

Hamburgers. An Albany, New York expression, its not to be confused with steamed clams.

Spread

On November 8th, 2009, the Facebook group Steamed Hams launched. As of May 2017, the group has amassed more than 7,700 likes and 7,600 followers, despite being mostly defunct.[5]

Steamed Hams-inspired videos have been especially popular on YouTube. One of the earliest, a 15-second "Text-to-movie" remake of the scene, posted on March 3rd, 2010, has more than 4,900 views.



The line has since become a popular subject of Simpsons Shitposting, which re-contextualises moments on the show into absurdist nonsequiturs. On July 26th, 2015, Facebook user Chris Kanski[6] posted a challenge to the group to break the world record of reposting a shitpost, a photoshopped image of Homer's can of "Nuts and Gum" (shown below, left) with the words "Steamed Hlams" in a single thread (shown below, right). The post received more than 240 reactions and has since become an annual event for the Facebook page.[7]


AITS AND TOGETHER AT LAST AT LAST

On June 29th, 2016, the Australian supermarket Woolworths posted a Steamed Hams reference (shown below) to their Facebook page, a picture of a sign in a ham grocery display that says "Our apologies, we don't stock 'Steamed Hams' but you can find hamburgers in the beef section." They also captioned the post "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 post shares, has been reported on by Buzzfeed.[8][9] On March 30th, 2021, Cracked[15] published an article titled "The Real Story Of 'Simpsons' Steamed Hams."


Our apologies, we don't stock 'Steamed Hams' but you can find hamburgers in the beef section. Worthe Woolworth ked Hick Smoked Hick 20 OUBLE SMOR LEG HA woowortihs Hickoru Smoked

First Draft

On January 4th, 2018, Bill Oakley, the writer of the "steamed hams" segment, posted the first draft script of "Skinner & The Superintendent" in a series of six tweets.[10] He captioned the post, "Steamed Hams, but it's the original first draft in a thread." The post (shown below) more than 3,200 retweets and 7,900 likes in less than 24 hours.


Bill Oakley @thatbilloakley Steamed Hams, but it's the original first draft in a thread CHALMERS VS. SKINNER" "22 Short Films" Segment by Bill Oakley FADE IN: INT. SKINNER' S HOUSEFOYER AFTERNOON The doorbell rings. Principal Skinner excitedly opens the door to reveal Superintendent Chalmers on the porch, with a bottle of wine. SKINNE Ah, Superintendent Chalmers, welcome I hope you're prepared for an unforgettable dinner. INT. SKINNER'S HOUSEKITCHEN-A FEW SECONDS LATER As Chalmers sits in the dining room, Skinner returns to the kitchen and emits a HORRIFIED GASP when he sees a column of smoke spewing from the oven. He opens it to reveal a flaming roast. SKINNER Ye Gods! My roast is ruined (LOOKS IN REFRIGERATOR) And I've got no other roasts! Damn He looks out the kitchen window to see the Krustyburger

Following Oakley's tweet, fans of the segment tweeted their gratitude of the post. Some of them point to the slight changes, while others praised the works as an important document in comedy history (examples below).


Memes aside, this is a great example of a TV script, and a first draft at that. Thank you so much for sharing! Replacing dinner with luncheon was a good call This is more historically significant than the Declaration of Independence

Several outlets covered the posting of the script, including NME,[11] Mashable,[12] AV Club[13] and more.

That night, Twitter[14] published a Moments page, archiving the script and reaction to it.

YouTube Remixes

As Steamed Hams grew popular as a meme, it began appearing on YouTube in Replacement Remixes and other deconstructed YouTube Poop edits (examples shown below).



One particularly popular remix variant involved editing the scene such that it appeared as though it were in a popular video game series. An early variation posted by Bmo Beemo placed the scene in Danganronpa, gaining over 6,500 views (shown below, left). On December 21st, YouTuber Adam Davidson uploaded a variation parodying the scene by applying it to Metal Gear Solid, gaining over 287,000 views (shown below, right).



Other popular edits in this style include an Ace Attorney edit posted by iKiwed that gained over 94,000 views (shown below, left). Another popular edit posted by SeshoCan parodied the video in the style of Nier: Automata, gaining over 16,000 views in three days (shown below, right).



Various Examples


YOU WOULON'T STEAM A AN SAY THE LINE WOOLWORTHS Our apologies, we don't stock 'Steamed Hams' but you can find hamburgers in the beef section.

SAIDTDON'T WANT ANV DAMN STEAMED HAMS ALL RIGHT, THAT'S IT YOUNG MAN! NO AURORA BOREALIS FOR YOU TONIGHT HAMBURGERS STEAMED HAMS

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