'The Simpsons' Canada episode irks viewers with 'stupid Newfies' joke
Published Monday, April 29, 2019 10:41AM EDT
The Canada-themed episode of ‘The Simpsons’ is angering people for a joke involving the word “Newfies” and the controversial seal hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador.
During the "D'Oh Canada” episode broadcast on Sunday, the animated Simpsons family visits Niagara Falls and, through a series of comic mishaps, Lisa ends up falling over the famous waterfall that separates Ontario and upstate New York.
In one scene, Lisa Simpson stands next to some young Canadians holding curling brooms and tells one of them, "I'm sure you treat all peoples equally.”
But one of the children retorts, ”except the Québécois,” before others add, "and the Newfies. Stupid Newfies."
Ralph Wiggum then joyfully says "I'm a Newfie!" and proceeds to mercilessly club the head off a stuffed baby seal, then kick the head around.
Many consider the decades-old term “Newfie” to be an offensive, derogatory term for people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is commonly used to imply they’re stupid or foolish.
Some of those outraged took to social media to complain about the use of the term and the criticism of the seal hunt. One Twitter user wrote: I can take a joke. When, however, it is complete disrespect disguised as a joke, I take exception.”
SEAL HUNT WAS TARGETED BY SIMPSONS STAFF BEFORE
The seal hunt has been in the show’s crosshairs before.
In 2013, “The Simpsons” co-creator Sam Simon and Canadian actress and animal rights activist Pamela Anderson went to the province and offered sealers $1 million to find another way to make a living and renounce the seal hunt.
The harp seal hunt, which used to involve the killing of baby seals, has long been defended by sealers and Indigenous people who practice the hunt.
If you think the writers were outsiders out of touch with Canada, think again. Throughout the sitcom’s history, dozens of Canadian writers have produced the show and there are currently three staff writers from Canada.
Consulting producer Tim Long from Exeter, Ont. joined "The Simpsons" in 1998 and works alongside fellow Canadian writers Joel H. Cohen and Jeff Westbrook.
With files from The Associated Press