However, at the same time it has been the target of much vitriolic criticism ranging from accusations of immorality to charges of bad taste and racism. In April 2002, the official tourist board of Rio de Janeiro threatened legal action against the show's producers for lost tourist revenue as a result of an episode entitled Blame it on Lisa, which was accused of presenting a "distorted vision of Brazilian reality" by the country's president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Eventually, James L. Brooks, the show's executive producer, was forced to apologise.
This presentation focuses upon the way in which the show has depicted both Japan and the Japanese with the objective of establishing whether similar claims can be upheld in this case. Through the use of Mikhail Bakhtin's (1895-1975) idea of the carnivalesque, and Carl Matheson's (University of Manitoba) terms "the culture of knowingness" and "hyper-irony" it concludes that the accusation of racism is too simplistic and that The Simpsons develops a more sophisticated, nuanced, and even cathartic, style of comedy.
Hugo Dobson is lecturer at the University of Sheffield and currently at Hosei University as a Visiting Research Fellow.