The steamed hams of Albany: “Greatest Comedy Scene Ever”


Jaquandor saw this article from the UK. He wrote to me on Facebook: “‘It’s an Albany expression!’ Hmmm…really? Hey, do you call hamburgers ‘steamed hams’? (I’m guessing, no.)”

The piece from March 2017 refers to a scene from the TV show The Simpsons. I was a fervent viewer of the program in the first decade, but I rarely see it now. So I was unfamiliar with the particular segment.

“This scene comes in at about 340 words, and 67 sentences. Every line serves a purpose – either as a joke, or as character building.”

Cookywook goes into great detail about:

1. The script about principal Skinner trying to impress school superintendent Chalmers. “Skinner’s charade is woefully transparent, but the deception doesn’t completely fall apart until the very last line.”

2. The structure of a faux opening

3. The animation

4. The psychology of space

5. The climax, with “Skinner’s most extravagant lie by far”

Of course, “steamed hams” really isn’t “an Albany expression.” It’s probably a Schenectady thing.

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