When controversy happens, every type of personality is attracted to the zeitgeist. Including, but not limited to, Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings.
Over the past couple of days, iconic cartoon show The Simpsons has gotten a ton of praise and criticism for its use of 1980s alternative legend Morrissey in a recent episode. Well, the use of a satirical version of Morrissey.
Instead of Morrissey and his iconic band The Smiths, it’s Quilloughby and “The Snuffs.” Seems innocuous enough right? Well, the 61-year-old singer was very disapproving of his parody character, but we’ll address his comments a bit further down.
Enter former contestant and guest host of Jeopardy! Ken Jennings. Considering his age of 46, Jennings was in the perfect spot for the beginning of The Simpsons and Morrissey and The Smiths’ relevancy in popular music. See where we’re going with this?
“High school me would be so upset that I’d someday have to choose between Morrissey and The Simpsons.” Jennings wrote.
Two iconic pieces of culture from the early 1990s are tearing Ken Jennings apart. On the one hand, The Simpsons, especially the first 5-10 seasons, is some of the best comedy TV in history.
On the other hand, Morrissey and The Smiths were absolute game-changers in pop music. Even as someone who wasn’t paying attention until well after their popularity peak, it didn’t take long for me to recognize their impact in alternative music.
That being said, Morrissey has had his issues in the years since, and he may have had the parody coming.
What is Jeopardy! Star Ken Jennings Referencing?
The episode in question aired this past weekend, and it didn’t take long for Morrissey and his manager, Peter Katsis, to respond.
According to the Guardian, Morrissey and his manager are displeased to see the show depict the singer as a racist, and called it “hurtful.”
“Surprising what a ‘turn for the worst’ the writing for The Simpsons TV show has taken in recent years,” the statement said. “Poking fun at subjects is one thing … but when a show stoops so low to use harshly hateful tactics like showing the Morrissey character with his belly hanging out of his shirt (when he has never looked like that at any point in his career) makes you wonder who the real hurtful, racist group is here.”
The Guardian points out that Morrissey has come under fire for various comments over the years. Besides saying that the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan can’t speak properly, he reportedly also called Chinese people as a “subspecies.” Yikes.
The statement added one more jab back at The Simpsons.
“Even worse,” it read. “Calling the Morrissey character out for being a racist, without pointing out any specific instances, offers nothing. It only serves to insult the artist.”