Friday, February 18, 2011

"Controversy" Thy Name is The Simpsons: Blame it on Lisa

And here's reason number 2 for why I didn't want to have these as full length text reviews. This is easily one of the worst episodes of the series and quite possibly a candidate for most insensitive. This episode is so universally hated by the fans that I thought like with Principal and the Pauper I could just basically write the title and get a response just from that. But yet again, does this episode deserve all the hate it gets? Let's take a closer look

Controversial moment(s): The way the episode portrays Brazil

Why it's controversial: This episode got such backlash from Brazil about the way the show portrayed Rio de Janeiro. They portrayed had colorful rats, unmarked taxis that were run by criminals, monkeys in the middle of Rio de Janeiro, a kids show that's way too mature for kids and other assorted nit-picks.
Yeah I can see where all those monkeys came from...
Staff's response:
James L Brooks offered a half-assed apology that just sounds like "We're sorry, oh wait no we aren't". He basically said "We're sorry if you were offended. If that apology isn't good enough the President of Brazil can challenge Homer on Fox's Celebrity Boxing"
There's some basic "Serious defending" of the episode in the commentary along with some "Jokingly defending" in there as well. So really not much to take from that.

Was it justified?: Yes, yes it was. But at the same time it was blown way out of proportion. The way the staff portrays Rio de Janeiro as nothing more than a bunch of slums with easy access to monkeys is stupid and insensitive. But at the same time, it's supposed to make fun of a city, much like making fun of Detroit, Los Angeles, Paris, London, etc. But I can see why it got so much hate from Brazil, to make fun of a city is one thing, but to make fun of a city and just make up your own facts while making fun of it makes you look stupid and uncaring. I could care less if someone mocks my hometown (Baltimore) by saying something like "The harbor is dirty and full of trash" or "I wouldn't feel safe walking in this city at night" because in some ways that's true. But say something like "There's a murder happening down every street" or "It's the biggest hellhole on earth" is an insult and based on nothing but bad stereotypes.

Well I'm glad that blast from the past is over, I never want to see something related to season 13 ever again. So what's in store for this week's episode? Oh dear God.

1 comment:

  1. Well... Speaking as a Brazilian and someone who was born, raised and LIVES in Rio de Janeiro, I must say, most of the people around here is not "offended" by the episode as much as we are annoyed by it.

    If anyone, it actually offends the USA's citizens, since most of people from here who actually watched the episode (mostly middle class, since it only aired on cable, open TV stations have no interess in airing it) react to it with an annoyed eye roll and a remark about the "typical North American ignorance."... Unless they have good sense of humor in with case they react with a laughter and a remark about the "typical North American ignorance." instead of an eye roll. I disagree with that, I think it's a stupid stereotype that I learned it was not true with the internet (where I learned there is probably a equal quantity of ignorant idiots for both countries and probably the world at large), but regardless of my opinion this IS how most of people see you guys and this episode didn't helped.

    The president's reaction was more due to Rio being a touristic spot and since The Simpsons airs in several countries, that episode wasn't good publicity. All thou, most smart people know the Simpsons are not to be taken seriously, so maybe he did overblown things, but that's kinda part of his job...