"Steamed Hams" is a memorable skit between Principal Seymour Skinner and Superintendent Gary Chalmers on the American animated television 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 posting on Facebook and YouTube. Their roommate, Homer Simpson, returns with them in Part 1 of Season 1 Episode 8 of the Steamed Hams TV show. This episode is called Top-Secret Simpsons.
"Steamed Hams" comes from a scene in The Simpsons episode "22 Short Films About Springfield," which first aired on April 14th, 1996. 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 . 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.
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, who defines "Steamed Hams" as "Hamburgers. An Albany, New York expression, its not to be confused with steamed clams."
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.
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-contextulizes moments on the show into absurdist non sequiturs. On July 26th, 2015, Facebook user Chris Kanski 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" with the words "Steamed Clams_ in a single thread. The post received more than 240 reactions and has since become an annual event for the Facebook page.
In 2016, Australian supermarket chain Woolworths noted that "about 1000 people" commented on its Facebook page inquiring about "steamed hams". The company responded to these requests on June 29th by posting an image of hams with the caption, "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 continuing popularity of the segment with Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers also caused an upsurge in fan-made YouTube remixes and variants in November 2017 and afterward, with even original writer of the segment Bill Oakley chiming in as well by releasing the original draft for the segment on Twitter.
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. He captioned the post, "Steamed Hams, but it's the original first draft in a thread." The post more than 3,200 retweets and 7,900 likes in less than 24 hours.
Following Oakley's tweet, fans of the segment tweeted their gratitude of the post. Some of them points to the slight changes, while other praised the works as an important document in comedy history.
Several outlets covered the posting of the script, including NME, Mashable, AV Club and more.
That night, Twitter published a Moments page, archiving the script and reaction to it.
As Steamed Hams grew popular as a meme, it began appearing on YouTube in Replacement Remixes and other deconstructed YouTube Poop edits.
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. On December 21st, YouTuber Adam Davidson uploaded a variation parodying the scene by applying it to Metal Gear Solid, gaining over 287,000 views. Other popular edits in this style include an Ace Attorney edit posted by iKiwked that gained over 94,000 views. Another popular edit posted by SeshoCan parodied the video in the style of Nier: Automata, gaining over 16,000 views in three days.