In 1996, a 2.5-minute short sandwiched between a bunch of other shorts premiered in an episode of The simpsons. No one thought much about it then, but over the past two decades, “Chalmers vs. Skinner” – renamed “Steamed Hams” – has grown into one of the most iconic Simpsons moments.
A new oral history of the short film published on Magazine Mel by Brian VanHooker takes a look at how this happened, with interviews from then-host Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. Oral History does a wonderful job of tracking how this short got to where it is now, an incredibly popular meme that debuted in a Facebook group before making its way to YouTube and other media platforms. social. This is an increase that surprised Oakley given that upon initial reading of the table, the sketch didn’t get a lot of laughs.
“After it aired, we never really heard about it for years,” Oakley said. Mel. “Steamed hams didn’t even become a thing until 2016, when an Australian grocery store continued to get calls from people asking for steamed hams.”
The second half of the story is a great example of how quickly something can spread online if there is enough ignition. From a popular Facebook group to a BuzzFeed story in 2016 to the countless new versions of “Steamed Hams” popping up, once it became a phenomenon it never really stopped.
“I’m glad people thought the sketch was funny because it took me about 20 years to find out people liked it,” Oakley said. “I’m even more thrilled that people find it so user-friendly because I love all of these remixes. It’s hard to get into the specific weirdness of his success, but I think part of the reason he’s successful is because he’s pushing that longing buzzer for Simpsons Fans. “
The complete part is available at Mel, and it comes with a beautifully curated selection of “Steamed Hams” memes to enjoy.