Following the scandal caused by the Apu affair, the producers of The Simpsons decided to change things, promising to bring more inclusivity to the series. First element of response with this good news.
The Apu scandal
Remember, in April 2021, Hank Azaria, the actor who dubbed Apu for years, officially apologized when many voices were raised against the stereotypical representation of Indian communities conveyed by his character. Indeed, for years, many viewers have felt that it conveys caricatural stereotypes of Indian communities.
Subsequently, the series announced that characters of color would no longer be voiced by white actors. Lately, program creator Matt Groening said he understands the need to be “more inclusive “, and assured that the series always intended to keep Apu, a popular character. For now, a new voice actor must be found.
towards more inclusiveness
This promise relating to more inclusiveness in his show, Matt Groening seems to honor it since thewe have just learned that the animated series will integrate its first deaf actor in its next episode.
The author of the episode in question, (which will be titled ” The Sound of Bleeding Gums“), Loni Steele Sosthand, spoke to the media Variety and shared his feeling of accomplishment: ” It was a bit tricky, especially because we are translating Shakespeare into Sign Language… But I think we managed “.
So it will be the very first time that the series will address the theme of deafness, but also the use of Sign Language. As our colleagues from premierewe can imagine the difficulty for Loni Steele Sosthand, when we know that the characters of The Simpsons have only four fingers.
“it’s part of history”
The character in question will be interpreted by John Autry II passed by Gleewhich will star Monk, son of Lisa’s favorite musician and mentor, the late saxophonist “Bloody Gums” Murphy. In this episode, Lisa will therefore learn of Monk’s birth and will meet him.
The actor also shared his impression of his future role at Variety:
It’s so amazing. It is a participation that can bring a certain equality capable of changing lives. It can bring changes for all of us. Being able to make hearing-impaired characters coexist with characters with classic hearing is part of the story.
The recent success and victory of the film CODA at the Oscars, the US version of The Aries Family demonstrated that things seem to be changing little by little in favor of inclusiveness. For Al Jean, screenwriter of the series, there are certain similarities with the film, such as the sibling relationship or the music : ” There are themes that resonate a bit here, stemming from a sibling relationship. And also CODA is about music and deaf experience. I think that’s great, because the deaf experience isn’t just a story, there are so many stories to tell… “.
Episode 17 of season 33 of The Simpsons is released this Sunday in the USA.