The Simpsons will feature, for the first time in its 33-year history, a deaf character who will require the use of sign language. Although the show’s characters only have four fingers, they will use American Sign Language in this groundbreaking episode premiering next week.
The episode is titled The Sound of Bleeding Gums and centers on Lisa Simpson, who discovers that her role model and favorite musician, the late saxophonist Bleeding Gums Murphy, has a deaf son who needs a cochlear implant. Lisa gets carried away trying to help her son, Monk Murphy. The plot of the episode is inspired by the life of Loni Steele Sosthand, the main writer of the series.
Sosthand explains that the show’s producers consulted two sign language specialists to review the animations and make sure that, despite the characters missing a finger, the meaning of the words was conveyed correctly.