It’s hard for most comedy writers to admit mistakes, especially when those mistakes are incredibly pedantic in nature. But that’s what last night’s episode of The Simpsons did, copping to a faulty few lines of dialogue that mis-genred (that’s a thing, right?) Judas Priest and upset a whole bunch of metal fans.
In the January 5th episode, The FBI catches up with Homer for downloading a number of movies illegally (because I guess this is 2007 and that’s still a plot line that hasn’t been done to death already). The family holes up in the Swedish consulate, and special guest stars Judas Priest attempt to flush them out with an updated version of their song, “Breaking the Law.” Over the course of the scene, a number of different non-Judas Priest characters refer to the band as “death metal,” which is a huge no-no in the metal community.
Death metal is actually a heavy metal sub-genre, which is categorized by its penchant for double bass drum, dual distorted guitars, low guttural vocals (apparently some people describe them as sounding like Cookie Monster, which… great, thanks for that visual), and doom-filled lyrics of destruction and — well, death. It didn’t branch off as its own style until the mid ’80s, about a decade or so after Judas Priest first became popular for their loud and aggressive sound, which is a little less “evil Cookie Monster” and a little more high-octave.
So, in other words, calling Judas Priest death metal is sort of like calling Captain America a member of the X-Men: you’re in the ballpark, for sure, but one actually paved the way for the other to exist, so it’s not exactly accurate. And like comic book nerds, metal nerds really don’t like it when you make inaccurate jokes about their favorite thing, so they took to social media to loudly (and gutturally, we’re guessing) complain.
In response, last night’s episode offered the above gag in the opening credits. Most news outlets are calling it an apology, but we’re not sure we buy that. For a real apology you have to have some remorse about what you got wrong, and if we’re just going by Bart’s face alone, it seems less like he’s genuinely sorry about confusing metal genres than he is annoyed that he even has to comment on the matter in the first place. Poor Bart just wants the freedom to piss people off in peace. Is that so wrong?
(via Uproxx, image via The Simpsons)
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