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Willie in Kilt

World of Springfield
by yo go re

Simpsons fans often try to figure out where Springfield is located. I wonder, too, but not just as idle chatter - I really want to know, so I can move there and take advantage of the dozens of days off work I'd receive in conjunction with Springfield's local holidays.

Kilt Willie blows From the "centuries-old" May 10th tradition of Whacking Day to the "Do As We Say" festival started by German settlers in 1946, Springfield is a town that loves its civic celebrations.

One of these little-known, highly specific holidays is that celebration of Scots heritage, Scotchtoberfest, a chance for the citizens of Springfield to broaden their horizons and learn things such as the fact that the kilt was only for day-to-day wear; in battle, Scotsmen donned a full-length ballgown covered in sequins. The idea was to blind your opponent with luxury.

Keynote speaker Groundskeeper Willie was understandably upset, then, when he learned that there was no Scotchtoberfest - the whole thing was a sting set up by Principal Skinner.

Willie is seen here wearing his (entirely fictional) orange and blue tartan. He's wearing his kilt, of course, as well as the traditional sporran, buckle brogues, kilt hose and shoulder plaid. He's even got a little balmoral cap that can rest precariously on his head. There are no garter flashes, though, but that's not any great oversight.

Amazingly, Willie does have the sgian dubh, or black dagger. The "black" in the name doesn't refer to the color of the weapon, but rather comes from the same 'covert' meaning as "blackmail." The sgian dubh was a concealed weapon, only to be exhibited in the presence of a host out of courtesy, which is why it's worn tucked into such an obvious position in the hose. It's not painted, and it's easy to miss if you're not looking for it, but a lot of credit should go to the sculptors for catching this detail.

Willie comes with his bagpipes, close, but still wrong though he is entirely unable to use them. Dating back to ancient Egypt, the pipes are played from under the arm by filling the bag with air, then squeezing it gently to send the air out through the drones. Though this is an anatomically correct bagpipe, there's no way to get the bag under Willie's arm, and no way to get the chanter into his right hand and the blowpipe into his left (as is would be correct) without bending both. The best you can manage is to put the mouthpiece near Willie's left cheek, put one hand on the chanter and hang the bag over his left arm. Really, it just doesn't look right and is a disappointing presentation.

something Besides the balmoral and the bagpipes, Willie's got two accessories from the time he went with Homer, Mr. Burns and Prof. Frink to capture the Loch Ness Monster: first, the plush "Macarena Monster" toy, complete with its sombrero (though there's no lettering on the shirt); secondly, one of Frink's scientific instruments - either the monsterometer, flipper finder or hoaxiscope. Or maybe it's just the frog exaggerator. It's a yellow tripod with a blue screen.

When Bart tied balloons to Willie's kilt, he revealed that the Scotsman was indeed fully traditional, wearing "no more than what God gave me, you puritan pukes!" True to the show, the yellow of Willie's legs goes all the way up - no painted undies for Willie!

For a character that was onscreen for less than 30 seconds, Kilt Willie makes a good toy. The lines of his plaid are all sculpted in and painted precisely. Scotchtoberfest may have been a fake holiday, but Kilt Willie is real good.

What other costumes worn only for a few frames do you want to see? When will we get 'Hiding in a Tree' Skinner? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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