The Simpsons cast and crew members have explained how cult segment ‘Steamed Hams’ nearly launched a spinoff series.
Reflecting on 25 years since the episode during which the segment aired, ’22 Short Films About Springfield’ first premiered, actor Hank Azaria and co-showrunners Al Jean, Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein recalled initial plans in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
“I don’t know why this captured people’s imaginations or what it is supposed to represent or what it means beyond face value. But, I get a kick out of it,” said Azaria, who voiced Superintendent Chalmers in the segment.
The short clip saw Principal Skinner (voiced by Harry Shearer) try to impress his boss, Chalmers, during lunch at his home. ‘Steamed Hams’ later spawned countless memes during the mid 2010s.
“I believe [creator, executive producer] Matt [Groening] wanted to use the episode as the basis of a spinoff for the secondary characters in the show, but we weren’t able to get that off the ground,” Jean recalled.
Oakley then chimed in confirming the spinoff would be called ‘Springfield’. “And it wasn’t going to be just about the minor characters, there would be other things that were outside the normal Springfield universe,” he added. “And the episodes would be free-form.”
“Each episode would have been a side character not involving the Simpsons,” Weinstein explained. “We never knew exactly why, but I think at the time [executive producer] James [L. Brooks] didn’t go for it.”
In other Simpsons news, a word first used in the show was recently recognised in the dictionary.
Dictionary.com has acknowledged the use of the word “embiggens”, which was first used in a 1996 episode which saw Lisa distraught after discovering Springfield’s town founder, Jebediah Springfield, was actually a murderous pirate.