The Simpsons is facing criticism on social media over a Canada-set episode, "D'oh Canada," that sees one character exclaim "stupid Newfies" just before the dimwitted Ralph Wiggum proclaims himself a "Newfie" as he clubs the head of a stuffed baby seal.
The Simpsons is taking fire over this scene that references "stupid Newfies" and seal clubbing. The scene about Newfoundland and Labrador has some people saying the show went too far. pic.twitter.com/xFdo4Kpff9— CBC (@CBC) April 29, 2019
"I'm sure you treat all peoples equally," Lisa Simpson says before a group of teens holding curling brooms admit they do — everyone "except the Québécois" and "the Newfies," before the three say in unison: "Stupid Newfies!"
"I'm a Newfie!" Ralph exclaims proudly as he bashes the stuffed seal, kicking its head around while singing a jingle: "Where the wind blows cold and there's ice and snow, some days go on forever. But I'm warm in bed in a Newfoundlander's bed, I'll be an islander forever. I'll be an islander forever."
The episode is now fielding backlash for the joke that some argue went too far.
"I think regardless of the term Newfie the 'stupid' was offensive and mean spirited not even remotely funny," wrote David MacRury on Twitter. "Clubbing the baby seal? Seriously. The Simpson's humor is often very clever this was just crude."
"I don't begrudge Newfoundlanders using it as a badge of pride and can take a joke," tweeted Melissa Royle. "But uses of it like on The Simpsons prove it still connotes an outdated, inaccurate description of us."
Others are less stirred: a social media poll conducted by CBC showed of 767 voters, 43 percent voted "I don't care" when asked if The Simpsons took the joke "too far." 37 percent voted "no," and only 20 percent voted "yes."
Episode co-writer Tim Long, who grew up in Ontario, Canada, earlier told HuffPost Canada it made sense to view the episode through the lens of the Simpsons' middle child, who is sent over Niagara Falls and winds up separated from her family in Canada, where the Simpson clan is surprised to learn Canada's health-care system differs from America's.
"She's the one who's had the most barbed critiques of the United States," Long said.
"I thought Bart was sort of like America: brash, unreflective, much more sure of himself. And Lisa was sort of the intellectual, quiet, thoughtful, rational one. And I've always felt like that was sort of the relationship between America and Canada, too."
Long added the episode had "a shocking number of Canadian things" that "95 percent of the American audience won't get."
"With the Canadian references, my instinct when I first started was not to make too many of them, because I wanted to fit in," Long said. "But I find that the kind of American who writes for The Simpsons is fascinated by it."
"So you'll often find that the references on the show to Canada haven't been written by Canadians, but they've been written by Americans looking across the table at a Canadian and thinking, 'What the hell is with that guy?'"
In 2013, Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon visited Newfoundland and Labrador and fruitlessly offered sealers a $1 million prize to halt seal hunting.
I think regardless of the term Newfie the "stupid" was offensive and mean spirted not even remotely funny. Clubbing the baby seal? seriously. The Simpson's humour is often very clever this was just crude.— David MacRury (@macrurdn) April 29, 2019
I hate that slang term for Newfoundlander. It depicts an unintelligent, twee laughing-stock.— Melissa Royle (@melissaroyle) April 29, 2019
I don’t begrudge Newfoundlanders using it as a badge of pride and can take a joke. But uses of it like on The Simpsons prove it still connotes an outdated, inaccurate description of us.
oh boy i looked at why newfie was trending bc y'know... home. i'm not super bothered by ppl using the term bc its mostly out of ignorance but boy i really wish they hadn't made the fucking seal hunt joke!!— Empress of the Bisexuals🌟 (@thedemoncrows) April 29, 2019
Son in Edmonton is watching a Simpsons episode about 🇨🇦. They had to include a scene where a “Newfie” kid kicks the head off a baby seal. Sigh! Here we go again......— John F. Roil (@brigusanchorage) April 29, 2019
What the fuck did I just see on The Simpsons? Ralph calls himself a stupid Newfie and proceeds to club a stuffed seal to death? Uh what?— Josh (@Jayf17z) April 29, 2019
To be honest, I am not really offended by the whole "Stupid Newfie Simpsons" thing, but removing Apu for racist Indian Stereotypes but then totally being fine with calling the people that helped you during 9/11 stupid, is well, stupid.— Aiden Foley (@Aofoley) April 29, 2019
Any references bludgeoning whitecoats with a stick needs to fucking stop though, for the sake of the dignity of Canada's indigenous sealers in addition to sealers of Newfoundland.— David (@Mak0rz) April 29, 2019
Overall it's just kind of awkward, forced, and embarrassing but that's been standard fare for Simpsons content for the past 15 or more years.— David (@Mak0rz) April 29, 2019
As a joke, the Simpson's Newfie reference was "meh".... As a way to create publicity, though, it was totally brilliant because we will promote the heck of of it...for free!!— Chesleywest (@cheswest4161) April 29, 2019
Not sure how I would take #Newfie seal pup scene if I was a Newfoundlander - but I know even now if Homer, Marg, Bart and the writers of the #Simpsons were to Come from Away - and showed up in Gander with no place to stay, they'd be welcomed with open arms, a beer and a sandwich— Dick Bourgeois-Doyle (@BourgeoisDoyle) April 29, 2019
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