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Commonly referred to as the "Pulp Fiction" episode of The Simpsons, season 7's episode titled "22 Short Films About Springfield" is a series of short stories about a minute long. However, by my count there are only 18 individual segments and I feel I've been liberal in my separation (e.g., the Reverend Lovejoy scene could be argued to have been the opening of Lisa's Hair part 2).

So am I missing 4 segments? Or did they miscount? Maybe the title is meant as a reference that I don't get?

  1. Bart and Milhouse on the bridge
  2. Apu goes to a party
  3. Lisa gets gum in her hair part 1
  4. Burns and Smithers on a tandem bike
  5. Dr Nick saves the day
  6. Snake robs Moe's
  7. Super Intendent Chalmers and Skinner have lunch (steamed hams)
  8. Maggie gets trapped in a newspaper box
  9. Springfield PD talk about McDonald's in Shelbyville
  10. The Spanish Bee goes home from work
  11. Military surplus store part 1
  12. Reverend Lovejoy's dog poops in Flanders' lawn
  13. Lisa's hair part 2 (half the town in the kitchen)
  14. Cletus the Slackjawed Yokel
  15. Comic Book Guy won't let Milhouse use restroom
  16. Military surplus store part 2
  17. Lisa's hair part 3 (the haircut)
  18. Nelson vs tall man in small car
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    I always wonder this too every single time I watch this and it never adds up. Why didn't I ever ask that question? ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 7 '20 at 12:14
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The name of the episode is a reference to the film Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, which like the episode is an anthology of vignettes.

On the DVD commentary they explain that they chose it because they liked the name.

You'll notice that there are not 22 short films. We insisted on the name from the beginning, though we never bothered to count how many are actually done.

I know that George Meyer was extremely irritated by that but we did it anyway. We kept cutting them out.

There's one cut out at the last minute, which you'll see in the outtakes.

In addition, showrunner Josh Weinstein recently tweeted an additional cut scene featuring Hans Moleman.

They don’t state it explicitly, but the reason the writers liked “22” specifically is most likely referencing the fact that an episode of The Simpsons (or most half hour American network TV shows) has 22 minutes of “show”.

That said, there are a few that you have not counted: at the end Bart and Milhouse have an epilogue, and Professor Frink attempts to tell his story before being cut off by the credits.

Wikipedia lists 21 total, though it is not explained why the first Lisa segment counts for two. Given its position in the episode, I believe there may be a commercial break between when she is on the kerb and when she is inside with Marge.

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  • Interesting. I did consider that they might have been counting the final bridge scene and the Frink credit roll as two more, but I didn't consider they would split the first Lisa scene. There's also a short little transition sequence between the Snake/Quimby scene and Reverend Lovejoy where a donut falls into the sewer and travels in a radioactive river to a different street grate which I considered might possibly have counted as a short film although its only about 4 seconds long. So with the 21 from wikipedia plus the donut scene that would make 22...
    – sanpaco
    Sep 10 '20 at 0:05

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