The Simpsons to make history by featuring first deaf voice actor and sign language

Virgin Radio

8 Apr 2022, 09:29

Credit: 20th Television

Iconic cartoon The Simpsons is making show history by introducing its first deaf voice actor and American sign language.

The beloved series, which has been on air for 33 years, is set to feature deaf voice actor John Autry II as Monk, in an episode which will hit screens in the US this weekend. 

The storyline will feature Lisa tracking down the deaf son of famous saxophone player Bleeding Gums Murphy, to help him get a cochlear implant. 

For the first time ever, The Simpsons will show American Sign Language throughout the episode, and Monk actor John revealed why the representation is so important, especially within such a fan-favourite show. 

He recently told Variety: “It’s so incredible. It’s life-changing equality and participation. This can impact change for all of us. It’s about hard of hearing and hearing characters coming together. It’s a part of history.”

The episode, called The Sound of Bleeding Gums, was inspired by Simpsons writer Loni Steele Sosthand, who joined the show back in 2020, and growing up with her deaf brother.

She added:”When I think about music, I also think about my brother, who was born deaf. 

“When we were talking about this Bleeding Gums character in our initial brainstorms, we thought, wouldn’t it be cool if Lisa discovers this whole other side of his life. 

“That led to him having a son, and then we based that character at least somewhat on my brother. And the story grew from there.”