Canada is a small country with lots of land and lots of personality within each of its great provinces. From the hippies out west to the cowboys of Alberta, the yokel pride of the prairies, the hosers of Ontario, or the bohemians of La Belle Province, our nation has more character than you could fit in the Bay of Fundy!
Speaking of which, one of our great provinces, the often ragged-on yet noble Newfoundland and Labrador, feels as though they have come under attack by none other than Ralph Wiggum. More specifically, the writers of TV’s greatest cartoon, The Simpsons.
In an episode titled “D’oh Canada,” The Simpsons decided to playfully jab at some of the plot lines currently taking in the great white north. While current PM Justin Trudeau was the obvious target, whose name is currently synonymous with scandal and day to day shortcomings, another, more familiar target re-entered The Simpsons‘ crosshairs.
Newfoundland. More specifically, “Newfies.”
A quick bit about “stupid Newfies” has some up in arms over what they perceive as harmful stereotypes. Lisa Simpson, the intelligent and righteous character that she is, asks if all Canadians are treated equally. The screen then zooms out to three young ‘uns holding curling equipment, one of which says “except the Quebecois!” and finally, “and the Newfies.” to which all three say “stupid Newfies!”
Then, Ralph Wiggum, arguably the dumbest character in The Simpsons, shouts “Wee! I’m a Newfie!” and proceeds to club down a plush seal doll.
Once Ralph stops hitting the doll, he begins to sing lyrics to “The Islander,” a song long associated with Newfoundland and its culture.
“I’ll be an Islander, forever!” sings Wiggum while kicking around the decapitated head of a seal doll.
The Simpsons v. Newfies, Round II
To provide some context, one of The Simpsons co-creators Sam Simon had been a vocal anti-seal hunt advocate, once offering the hunters $1 million to give up their livelihoods and renounce the hunt.
Though he passed away in 2015, The Simpsons appear to still hold some feelings of ill-will to the Island’s practice of seal hunting.
Some are crying foul. The joke, some say, is a low blow to the island, who is probably getting tired of frequently being associated with the brutish yet arguably necessary practice.
As a nation, Canada has become somewhat known as a country that can take a joke. Chalk-full of playful stereotypes about hockey and Tim Hortons, our nation’s entire Vancouver 2010 Olympic closing ceremony was essentially centered around Mounties, Michael Buble, and moose. From the outside, our bright, multi-coloured money makes our nation look like a bit of a theme park.
We can take a jab, that’s for sure. As a proud southern Ontario boy. I’d be remiss to mention Windsor, Ontario (which was briefly featured in last night’s Simpsons episode) in this article.
In 2012, Stephen Colbert ripped into the southern Ontario city, calling it “Canada’s rectum.” How did Windsor respond to such a jab? Well, the city invited Colbert to be Santa Claus in the Santa Claus parade, of course!
With that in mind, plenty of Canadians see no problem with what the Simpsons were saying, calling a spade a spade, and calling a joke a joke. Our ability to take a joke is part of our charm. Perhaps we’re seen as living in the shadow of our neighbours to the south, but to that, I say: Show me another country with more charm, personality, and colour than Canada. The true north, strong and free.
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