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European Networks Pull 'Simpsons' Nuclear Jokes in Response to Japanese Crisis

by Jean Bentley, posted Mar 28th 2011 11:15AM
The SimpsonsIn normal times, Homer's hilariously inept antics at the Springfield nuclear plant are just another slightly off-color storyline on 'The Simpsons.' But in light of the current nuclear crisis in Japan, the jokes may not seem as funny, and several countries overseas are pulling episodes that make light of nuclear meltdowns.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, networks in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are screening episodes of the series and either pulling them altogether or replacing jokes that are "unsuitable" to air considering the situation in Japan.

'Simpsons' creator Al Jean told Entertainment Weekly that he understands if certain episodes are pulled. "We have 480 episodes, and if there are a few that they don't want to air for a while in light of the terrible thing going on, I completely understand that," he said. "We would never make light of what's happening in Japan."

Installments of the sometimes-controversial show have been pulled before. Jean noted that the 1997 episode 'Homer Versus the City of New York,' which took place at the World Trade Center, was pulled in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.

So far, THR reports that ORF, the network that airs 'The Simpsons' in Austria, has pulled the 1992 episode 'Marge Gets a Job' because it includes a scene where scientists Marie and Pierre Curie die of radiation poisoning, and the 2005 episode 'On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister,' which includes nuclear meltdown jokes.

The German and Swiss networks have not pulled any episodes yet, according to THR, but are reviewing upcoming episodes for "unsuitable" material.

Tell us: Should U.S. networks follow suit? Or should the episodes remain as-is?

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589 Comments

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catherinebloom92

Don't worry guys, Homer is mostly harmless....

March 31 2011 at 2:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cortegon

since when is 'the simpsons' either funny or (( hilarious))? what a joke

March 29 2011 at 10:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
wktlnk

These episodes can be collected on a Special Edition DVD,and called "The Simpsons --THE FORBIDDEN EPISODES, or something to that effect.
Longtime fans are very much aware that the show was never intended to be a reflection of reality( case in point:
In reality,do you think someone like Homer Simpson would be allowed WITHIN SHOUTING DISTANCE OF ANY NUCLEAR POWER PLANT?)

March 29 2011 at 6:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greeneyes

You know I am just amazed by how some people react . My first reaction to this story is WOW you mean it took them 20 some years to get offended by the Simpsons! Seriously. WOW! Is it possible we are being a little to sensitive over this nuclear issues and Japan. I mean, The Simpsons have been doing nuclear jokes since its beginning so its not like they are purposely cracking jokes aimed at Japan. I would not be surprised if the Simpson's people now do jokes on it just because it would upset people and that is what they do.

March 28 2011 at 7:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Greeneyes's comment
harleydavid105

Nah, even Homer has more class than that.

March 28 2011 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
switzarch

Leave Homer alone! There is no correlation between that poor man and what happened in Japan.

March 28 2011 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Schaaf

People need to get a life. No episode is making fun at the tradgedy in Japan, but they are making fun at the stupidity of Homer Simpson. To all the Homer Simpson reading this, I definitely mean the cartoon charecter not you, unless the shoe fits.

March 28 2011 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

I can't believe this article has already racked up almost 600 comments. Personally, I wouldn't care if foreign networks opted to not pull the episodes, because I don't see it as being that insensitive. A nuclear meltdown on a fictional TV show, a cartoon, no less, does not equate to a real life tragedy like what transpired in Japan. At the same time, if the networks feel like it's a sensitive move to not air those episodes, that's their business and I'm not sure why people are getting so bent out of shape and insisting it's akin to government censorship. I'm far more bewildered by the people who are using this as an opportunity to bash The Simpsons and discount the quality of the show. The Simpsons packs so many jokes, gags, and thinly veiled allusions to current events and modern culture per episode that I find it hard to believe anyone could make it through an episode without laughing at anything. At times the humor can be slightly crass, but I'd chalk that up to the need for ratings more than wanting to appeal to the lowest class. If you make a show that focuses 100% on "intelligent humor" a good part of it will go over the heads of the average viewer. The Simpsons is interesting in that you have some people who watch it strictly because Homer is such a dolt and there's enough obvious jokes to laugh at, but you also have people who understand it on another level and get the subtle touches of humor that really give the show it's character.
If you don't like it, go watch Grey's Anatomy or something.

March 28 2011 at 5:00 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Ryan's comment
harleydavid105

Good points. Let me buy you a beer. Mmmmmmmmmmm Duff's.

March 28 2011 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Schaaf

Well put. Some people just don't understand sarcasm when they see it or hear it. If th Simpsons were so bad, it would not have lasted as long as it has. I am a Bible believing Christian. I find it quite humorous when Homer asks Jebus for help. I'm sure God has a great sense of humor and doesn't mind this at all.

March 28 2011 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim Schaaf's comment
harleydavid105

Flanders is also a good Christian and role model.

March 28 2011 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
harleydavid105

What happens overseas shouldn't concern us too much. No episodes are being pulled in the US and none should be.

March 28 2011 at 4:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Lisa

The people who don't "get" the Simpsons are the ones who have either never actually watched it, or have totally lost their sense of humor. I find it very clever and intelligently written.

March 28 2011 at 4:29 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lisa's comment
harleydavid105

True. You need intelligence to understand sophomoric humor.

March 28 2011 at 4:32 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Lisa

Wow...People really are ultra sensitive. The world needs to lighten up.......really. Without humor, we are lost. You go, Homer! D'OH!!!

March 28 2011 at 4:27 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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