The Simpsons Is Once Again Breaking New Ground On TV

Few television shows have been as culturally influential as "The Simpsons," and even fewer have been animated sitcoms. Now in its 33rd season, “The Simpsons” will try to make history once again in the April 10th episode, “The Sound of Bleeding Gums,” by featuring a deaf voice actor and the use of American Sign Language (ASL) for the first time in the series’ history.
In this episode, Lisa Simpson will find out that Bleeding Gums Murphy, her deceased jazz mentor, has a son named Monk who was born deaf. John Autry II, a deaf actor, will voice Monk, and he stated that the historic role will “impact change for all of us. It's about hard of hearing and hearing characters coming together.”
On the episode’s use of ASL for the first time, episode writer Loni Steele Sosthand called it “tricky,” as every gesture needed to be illustrated. Sosthand based the story off of her brother Eli Steele, who is hearing impaired and provided voice acting and script consultation. Other deaf or hearing-impaired entertainers, including Kathy Buckley, also voiced characters in the episode.