Tag Archives: the simpsons

Before rape joke, ‘Family Guy’ had critics

This weekend’s crossover episode of Fox’s “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” has received criticism for a scene where a character uses rape as a punchline for a joke.

The line appears in a scene in which Bart Simpson is instructing Stewie Griffin in the art of the prank phone call. Bart dials the owner of Moe’s Tavern and asks whether there is anyone there with the last name Keybum, first name Lee. When Moe calls out to his patrons, asking for a “leaky bum,” everyone gets a laugh.

Stewie thinks that’s cool, and asks to make his own prank call.

“Hello, Moe?” he says. “Your sister’s being raped.”

Tim Winter, president of the advocacy group Parents Television Council, said he’s a longtime fan of Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” and sought out the trailer when it was released.

“I was blown out of my shoes when I saw the scene with the rape joke in it,” Winter said. “It really troubled me.”

He said he found it particularly offensive in the context of stories about sexual assaults on college campuses and, most recently, talk about abusive treatment of women by some players in the National Football League. He said when rape is accepted as a punch line for a joke in entertainment, “it becomes less outrageous in real life.”

Winter said he wrote to Groening, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane and Fox in August, asking that the joke be removed when the episode is shown on television. He said he received no reply.

MacFarlane brought up the line during a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, predicting he will get attacked for it in the media. “But in context,” he said, “it’s pretty funny.”

Winter said he didn’t think the subject was worth joking about, and said he was particularly concerned about its exposure to younger viewers who may be fans of “The Simpsons,” but are not familiar with the “Family Guy” style of comedy.

It’s not the first time the animated “Family Guy” has gotten its creators in hot water. Here are some other examples:

• Fox declined to air an episode, “Partial Terms of Endearment,” during the 2009-10 season when family matriarch Lois Griffin contemplates an abortion. She was acting as a surrogate for a couple killed in an auto accident before the baby was born. Fox executives said it was fragile subject matter at a sensitive time. The episode was later released on DVD.

• The episode, “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein” was criticized as anti-Semitic by The Forward, a newspaper that spotlights Jewish issues. In it, the character Peter sings a song titled “I Need a Jew.” Fox initially declined to air it, and it was shown first on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network in 2003. Fox then aired it the next year.

• Advocates for people living with AIDS criticized a 2005 episode in which Peter was part of a barbershop quartet that dressed in red vests and danced around a man’s hospital bed singing a song titled, “You Have AIDS.”

• Sarah Palin called the show’s writers “heartless jerks” for a 2010 episode in which the character Chris dated a girl with Down syndrome. When Chris asked what her parents did, she replied: “My dad’s an accountant, and my mom is the former governor of Alaska.” Palin, who had resigned as Alaska governor months earlier, has a son with Down syndrome.

Fox’s entertainment division, through a spokeswoman, said it would not comment on the criticism or whether there are any second thoughts about the joke in the episode scheduled to air later this week.

Live at the Hollywood Bowl: The Simpsons celebrate 25 years

Doh! did you miss it? Bart and Lisa Simpson, Chief Wiggum and son Ralph, bartender Moe and Apu from Kwik-E-Mart came to the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate 25 years of “The Simpsons.”

Those characters are performed by three actors — Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria — who hosted the world premiere of “The Simpsons Take the Bowl”at the legendary concert venue on Sept. 12. The program featured music, stars and reminiscences from TV’s longest-running scripted show.

The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which featured several members wearing tall, blue Marge Simpson wigs, performed as classic clips from the show’s past 25 seasons played on big screens above them. The 26th season of “The Simpsons” begins Sept. 28.

“Oh yeah, `The Simpsons’ will go on, long after the human race is gone,” sang “Weird” Al Yankovic, who performed “a little ditty about Homer and Marge” to the tune of John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane.”

Other guests appearing during the two-hour program included show creator Matt Groening, former “Simpsons” writer Conan O’Brien, comedian Jon Lovitz, pro skateboarder Tony Hawk and Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer.

Zimmer, wearing a jacket covered with Bart faces, performed the music he composed for the Oscar-nominated short film “The Longest Daycare,” which shows how Maggie saves a butterfly from a classroom bully.

At least 60 members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles filled the stage for a soaring rendition of “Spider Pig,” the song Homer dedicated to his special pet pig in “The Simpsons Movie.” Then chorus members stripped off their robes to reveal sequined vests as they sang the Mr. Burns’ song about wearing puppy fur, “See My Vest,” which culminated with a Rockettes-style kick line.

Azaria embodied several of the “Simpsons” characters he brings to life with his voice, including Moe and Apu, Disco Stu, Professor Frink and Duff Man. While portraying the beer-boasting Duff Man, a group of women dressed as Duff cheerleaders came onstage and fired T-shirt cannons into the crowd.

Lovitz offered a tribute to the late Phil Hartman, a “Simpsons” regular who voiced various characters on the show until his death in 1998.

The entire Hollywood Bowl was Simpson-ified for the program, which continues on Saturday and Sunday night. Plastic doughnuts dangled above concertgoers’ heads and life-sized cardboard cutouts of show characters were scattered throughout the venue.

New “Simpsons” animations were created just for the concert, including a peek at the Simpson family arriving at the Hollywood Bowl and Homer trying to resist pushing the “fireworks” button. Another bit showed Maggie launching the fireworks, and with that, pyrotechnics exploded above the famous Bowl shell.

Friday Funny: Montgomery Burns fights for Mitt Romney

Springfield’s richest man, Montgomery Burns, endorses Mitt Romney for the election.

In the clip for “The Simpsons,” Burns says, “There’s only one thing that might deny us the presidency that is the God-given property of the Republican party.”

Waylon Smithers answers, “The 47 percent tape? The empty chair? Cayman Islands? Swiss bank accounts?”

Burns says no, something else. “It’s a shaggy-dog story about an actual shaggy dog.”

And then… 

A new episode of “The Simpsons” airs on Fox on Sunday at 7 p.m. CST.

On the Web

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ltCIEbLMaQg

burns

Montgomery Burns endorses Mitt Romney

Springfield’s richest man, Montgomery Burns, endorses Mitt Romney for the election.

In the clip for “The Simpsons,” Burns says, “There’s only one thing that might deny us the presidency that is the God-given property of the Republican party.”

Waylon Smithers answers, “The 47 percent tape? The empty chair? Cayman Islands? Swiss bank accounts?”

Burns says no, something else. “It’s a shaggy-dog story about an actual shaggy dog.”

And then… 

A new episode of “The Simpsons” airs on Fox on Sunday at 7 p.m. CST.

On the Web

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ltCIEbLMaQg

burns