In our silly lil game, we sometimes see things pop in that we have no clue as to their Origin. They seem familiar, but we just can’t pinpoint from where. So that is why we decided to make a fun lil reminder out of it. To let you know just Where Did THAT Come From?
So the holidays and the ensuing mini-event have come and gone. During all the hullabaloo, EA also added a new way to get items for the game. While I’ll admit I initially was hot pissed about having to spend 184.95 dollars American if I wanted all these things, I then realized these are truly just bonuses if you decide to spend money on the game which we all enjoy. Thankfully, the best prizes fall into the cheaper categories and two of these were Jebediah Springfield and Shelbyville Manhattan. Full-fledged characters to grace your town. Of course, with any new items come the opportunity for me to tell ya just where the items come from. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the statue of Jebediah but there’s a bunch more for anyone interested. Let’s head off into the TV series to see just what I’m talking about.
“The Telltale Head” (S1:E8)
Right in the first season of the show, we not only got an entire 23 minute and 5 seconds episode about Bart cutting the head off of Springfield’s founder’s visage but learned a ton about said town creator. It’s established right off that not only is Jebediah Springfield important to the town named after him, but that disrespecting said founder is enough to incite a bloodthirsty murderous torch-waving mob (the first of many lol).
The whole problem leading to Homer and Bart being chased by the citizenry of Springfield all stems from Bart trying to impress Kearney, Dolph, and Jimbo by cutting the head off of the town statue. Surprisingly, Bart actually knows a lot about Jebediah. How he built the town’s first hospital out of logs and mud to keep the settlers from dying of diphtheria in the Great Blizzard of 1848 and once killed a bear with his bare hands. When a delinquent like Bart knows history stuff, it’s probably important.
Of course Bart may have remembered his history but that won’t keep him from dressing like a ninja to sneak out and chop off Springfield’s bronze noggin after some bad advice from Homer about being popular. While the town mourns the vandalism of the statue, we learn even more about the beloved founder. The statue of the trailblazing founder that is Jebediah was a symbol of what people can do if they put their mind’s to it according to Lisa. The town is pissed off and sad and more. Even the bullies Bart thought he’d get in good with would like to beat the vandal. I really feel bad for Bart in the episode but it is fun when Jebediah speaks to him.
We also get a documentary teaching us that the founder’s full name is Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jedediah Springfield and that although the town believes the story that he offed a bear with his bear hands, I mean bare hands, the bear probably offed him. Wowza… pretty swell.
As a Simpsons fan, I think the Season 1 episode cemented in me an appreciation for Jebediah from a young age. When I think of Springfield, Jebediah’s statue is one of the first things that comes to mind. It’s right there in the opening sequence of the show as Bart skateboards and we see Marge and Maggie in the car. I also think it’s funny that the bullies are pulling Bart’s prank in the newer HD version.
There’s a bunch more info about Jebediah in the show though. In my personal favorite Simpsons episode, “Marge vs. the Monorail” (S4:E12), there’s a view of the town charter signed by Jebediah and others in 1797 giving the town constable a pig and “three comely lasses of virtue true”. We also learn that the log cabin where Jebediah was born used to be a place you could visit before the oldest tree in town was cut down by an anchor fashioned from an M.
I guess I could also note that the town charter featured in the Rex Banner Prohibition episode (“Homer vs the 18th Amendment”, S8:E18) but that’s more about catapults and “spirituous beverages” so I’ll exclude it. Heck, there’s also a law about kicking cans too many times in the charter (“Seven Beer Snitch”, S16:E14). Wow… sometimes I fall into the world of the Best. Show. Ever. and just get to rambling. There’s so many ways I could digress but this post is about town founders so I’ll try to stick to it. In “Whacking Day” (S4:E20), the origin of whacking snakes every year on May 10th is attributed to Jebediah Springfield. We know this to be untrue since Bart reveals at the end of the episode that it was created in 1924 as an excuse to beat up Irishmen. Jebediah Springfield couldn’t have created it since he was fighting in The Battle of Ticonderoga during the American Revolutionary War on May 10th, 1775. Bart learns this during his visit to Old Springfield Towne.
But what about Shelbyville Manhattan Wook? Well, we’re getting there. “Lemon of Troy” (S6:E24) gives us info about both new characters in TSTO. You see… the lemon tree dates back to frontier times and is connected to the day Springfield was founded. Before Shelbyville and Springfield existed, Jebediah and Mr. Manhattan were peers looking for a place where they could “worship freely, govern justly, and grow cast fields of hemp for making rope and blankets.” The split between the two men all revolved around Shelbyville Manhattan also wanting to marry his cousins. The two men formed their own towns. Springfield for those who wanted chastity, abstinence, and a flavorless mush Jebediah called rootmarm and Shelbyville for cousin humpers. As lemons were the sweetest fruit available at the time, a tree was planted to mark the occasion.
You know, I always remember Marge saying that Springfield was founded by circus freaks in “The Homer They Fall” (S8:E3) so I wonder how that connects to all of this. But once more… digressing. Is there anything else we could learn about Springfield’s founder? Well, remember me mentioning Lisa being a supporter of Jebediah towards the beginning of this post? The loss of his head sent her in to tears but we can always count on this intelligent eight-year-old to dive deep into the world of academia and in “Lisa the Iconoclast” (S7:E16), she does just that in reference to the history of Jebediah Springfield. The episode begins with an educational film starring Troy McClure that shows Young Jebediah in 1796 leading settlers to New Sodom after misinterpreting a passage in the Bible. They encounter “some sort of land cow” (a buffalo) which frightens all of them but Jebediah Springfield saves the day by riding it into submission. “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”
Springfield is all set to celebrate the 200th birthday of Jebediah Springfield. Lisa is tasked to write an essay about the founder and being the super student she is, she’s off to the Springfield Historical Society to learn all she can. If you were wondering who the heck Hollis Hurlbut was from the 2017 EA Wish List post, this is your episode.
Lots of learning about the founder could be done here. Springfield’s founding fathers crossed rivers to save on bridge tolls. Jebediah Springfield is no minor patriot. “He’s easily the equal of William Dawes or even Samuel Otis.” The historical society has all sorts of JS stuff including a case holding objects owned by him. A fife where “he sounded the sweet sound of freedom”, a hatchet he used on “the chains of oppression”, and his chamber pot (where he pooped on inequality?). Lisa is wowed by the artifacts but discovers a parchment in Jebediah’s fife that reveals there is much more to Mr. Springfield.
He didn’t tame the buffalo, he just shot a tame one and his real name before 1796 was that of murderous pirate Hans Sprungfeld. He wrote a confession so he could live in infamy before dying of infectious diphtheria. Lisa is off to uncover the real truth but feels the need to hide her discovery from Hurlbut who just thinks she’s now come up with “a case of Jebiditis.” Lisa discovers all sorts of stuff. Vicious Sprungfeld the pirate had his tongue “bitten off by a Turk in a grog house fight” and had a prosthetic one made out of silver. “He was one of the evilest men of the 1780s. He even tried to kill George Washington.”
Lisa’s discoveries are at odds with all the love Springfieldianites feel for their founder. She even receives an F on her report about the fraud. She’s no PC thug though. Homer offers to help her uncover the truth by unveiling the confession she discovered. Hurlbut claims it’s an obvious hoax just like Howard Hughes’ Will, Hitler’s Diary, and the Emancipation Retraction. The first two of those are actual forgeries. The latter probably references a famous letter from Lincoln to James Conkling. Anyhoo… Lisa and her children and her children’s children are all banned from the historical society for three months.
There’s a lot more to this great episode. Lisa’s attempts to yellow poster the town with the truth, exhuming a grave to see if Jebediah’s “silver tongue” was a reference to great public speaking or the product of piracy, the ghosts of history, antiquarians covering up truths, and more. Is the truth revealed? Is the legacy of Jebediah tarnished? I guess you’ll have to watch the episode to find out. I’ll just say I agree with Lisa that Jebediah Springfield was great and I’m happy he’s now in TSTO.
SUMMARY: Jebediah is a part of a lot of the episodes in the town named after him which makes sense and Shelbyville Manhattan is a one-shot just like the stinky town he founded. Now they can roam your towns provided you’re willing to part with $24.98. As a bonus… it’s pretty safe to say your neighbors spent actual money if you see them when visiting. I like both of them although it rankles me that the cousin lover has better visual tasks. I’d have loved a pirate fight with George. Anyhoo… sound off with your comments and thoughts. We’ll just end this all with the song which ends the last episode I mentioned.
Hitch that team up, Jebediah Springfield,
Whip them horses, let them wagons roll,
That a people might embiggen America,
That a man might embiggen his soul.
A perfectly cromulent way to ends a post. TTFN… Wookiee out!