Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Steamed Hams collides with "All Star" in long-foretold convergence of memes

In news that would be impossible to explain to your grandparents, the Simpsons scene in which Principal Seymour Skinner calls hamburgers “steamed hams” has, over the last several years, taken on a second, dada-esque life as a go-to meme. The scene, which comes from season seven’s “22 Short Films About Springfield,” is absurd enough on its own, as it finds Skinner stumbling through a slew of increasingly ludicrous lies while having his boss, Superintendent Chalmers, over for dinner. It’s since been parodied, photoshopped, remixed, and essentially shredded to ribbons in Facebook groups like Simpsons Shitposting. So pervasive are its iterations that the bit’s original writer, Bill Oakley, referenced the meme on Twitter along with the scene’s first draft.


Here’s the original:

While it’s to invite madness to ever say a meme has reached its definitive end, the latest riff on steamed hams is a goddamned sensory nightmare that recklessly mashes it with another ubiquitous meme: Smash Mouth’s “All Star.” It is timely, however. Tomorrow, the bygone dweeb-poppers are debuting a new collaborative project with the of-the-moment indie rockers Car Seat Headrest. Before you’re treated to that, however, you must suffer through this: “Steamed Hams but it’s All Star.” And, yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

YouTuber TheChewanater created this abomination, which they describe as “mediocrely autotuned because I realized this meme was almost over.” Of course, the lo-fi amateurishness only contributes to its surreality; the clip glitches and tweaks unnaturally, as if it were chafing up against the edges of what our minds can realistically process. Sometimes the audio hits such unnatural notes that it sounds on the verge of lapsing into an endless, dog-whistling shriek.

Is the meme truly almost over, as TheChewanater predicts, or is this just the end of its first act?

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.