There were plenty of Canadian jokes to go around on Sunday night’s episode of The Simpsons, but not everyone is laughing.
Here’s what happened in the show:
The family takes a trip to Niagara Falls — which straddles the Canada/U.S. border — and Lisa ends up in the falls and lands in Canada.
She is taken to the hospital, where she’s happy to receive free health care and wants to stay.
There are the jokes you would expect, like the overuse of the word “eh” and the fact that Canadians are so nice.
But the jokes get more personal in a scene where Lisa’s teacher explains that Canada isn’t perfect.
Some kids pipe up saying not everyone is treated the same, like the “Quebecois and the Newfies.”
“Stupid Newfies,” the kids say.
Newfie is sometimes used to describe people from Newfoundland and Labrador, and many people find it offensive.
Then a kid says, “I’m a Newfie” and clubs a white seal stuffie.
Mike Hammond, a comedian from St. John’s and a former high school teacher, described the joke as a “stereotype from 30 years ago.”
Hammond said the scene perpetuates misinformation about the seal hunt.
The facts about the seal hunt
While seal hunting happens in Canada, baby seals are not hunted.
The toy seal in the show looks like a baby because it’s all white.
Sealers primarily use rifles and not clubs, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, although some adult seals are still clubbed.
The other issue some viewers didn’t like was the use of the term Newfie.
Hammond explained that the term started as a way to make fun of people from Newfoundland when soldiers were staying there during the Second World War.
“Back then they didn’t have a great education system,” he said.
Hammond said the term is more offensive to people of an older generation.
“It actually gives a warm feeling for younger generations,” said Hammond, who is 31.
He said episode was not meant as an attack on Newfoundland.
“The Simpsons has been making fun of Canada, of everyone, for decades.”
Here is how the entire scene unfolded on Sunday night: