by MPD
Categories: Eats, Film/TV.

Each year The Simpsons celebrate Halloween with an extra special spooktackular episode. This year, the long-running cartoon tackled the dangerous subject of mad cow disease. Here’s how it went down:

Everyone in Springfield was excited to try Krusty the Clown’s new “Burger Squared,” a burger made by “starting with Grade A beef, feeding it to other cows and then serving the unholy results on a seven grain bun.”

When Lisa hears about this, she says, “Cows eating cows? That’s an abomination!” And boy is she right. Turns out everybody in the town turns into to frothy-mouthed, human-eating zombies, and the only people that survive are the vegetarians and a few others who’ve made it to the safe zone.

Moral of this story: doing creepy ass things like feeding cows to other cows is NOT cool. Check out the video below to watch the clip.

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  • http://curecjd.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/first-24-now-the-simpsons-tackle-prion-disease/ Heather Larson

    I am both appalled and intrigued by this episode of “The Simpsons” as someone who has lost three family members to the genetic form of CJD, the disease the show mistakenly refers to as “mad cow disease.” The show reinforces stereotypes about prion diseases and makes light of something that can potentially be a real public health concern here in the U.S. as it was in the UK. At least the “Oprah Effect” has worn off enough to the point where the media is tacking CJD again, but please. It needs to be handled responsibly. Thank you, Ecorazzi for handling this with class today. I appreciate it.

    • http://www.beforewisdom.com beforewisdom

      Heather;

      I think this cartoon is a positive move. People either ignore mad cow disease or don’t deal with it because it is unpleasant. By injecting humor it gets it into people’s consciousness where otherwise those issues may not be considered. This is the most true with one of the contributors to the disease: feeding cows to cows.

      That is a highly stoppable practice given enough public outcry and leadership — if you can get people to learn it and deal with it first. I think the cartoon helps.

      • http://curecjd.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/first-24-now-the-simpsons-tackle-prion-disease/ Heather Larson

        While there is no such thing as bad publicity, I think in this case, the show continues to show CJD as a joke instead of as the true public health problem it is. If people only knew that it’s not a joke and that people really do die of this in the U.S., it would be handled differently in the media. There are some angry people in this country who lost loved ones to sporadic CJD who don’t really think it was “sporadic.” For them, it’s not funny at all. I’ve lot two family members to genetic CJD and I really need for this disease to be taken seriously so we can find a cure. It’s not a joke; this is my life. This is serious. People don’t pour money into cures for jokes on cartoon sitcoms. This disease is as important to cure as cancer, lupus, or anything else. It needs to be taken seriously and portrayed properly in the media.

  • Dana

    I don’t watch tv regularly, so would someone be so kind as to fill me in on when this episode is set to air?

  • Nikkik

    Although the episode, I’m sure, was meant to be a farce, this is exactly how bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, mad cow disease) is spread through cattle and IT CAN be spread to humans as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). Currently ths USDA tests less than 1/10 of 1% of all beef sold for human consumption for BSE. The USDA tells us BSE is not in this country; however, you will not find something that you do not look for. Demand better for your families – seek the truth and make up your own mind. I do not eat beef and WILL NOT eat beef in America until it is 100% tested and 100% safe. A cow can still have BSE and not be symptomatic. The facts are out there – go look. http://www.cjdfoundation.org.

  • hil

    Dana, it aired on Sunday, but you can watch it with very few commercials on http://www.hulu.com

    • Dana

      Aw, that’s too bad. Missed it. I actually can’t watch anything from hulu, being in Canada and all. Thanks anyway though!

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  • Hatte Blejer

    I agree with Heather and Nikki. My husband died at age 52 of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), the human cousin of the Mad Cow disease. He left a 19 year old and 23 year old who will not have their father present at their weddings or as a grandfather for their children. All death is sad, but this particular disease is particularly bad.

    I remember how shocking it was for me as a new widow to be at a corporate gathering where there was a cartoon shown about a Mad Cow destroying Manhattan. This disease is horrific and using it for humor is just as wrong as it would be making jokes about someone dying of breast cancer or any other devastating disease. CJD is always fatal. It is untreatable. It kills the victim in a span of a couple of months and its symptoms are worse than you can imagine. It is as if someone had Alzheimer’s on Fast Forward or on steroids. The patient is left without the ability to think, speak, without emotions, without swallow, without a single voluntary movement. The brain is riddled with holes from the action of the disease so all higher functions are destroyed. They lie in their hospice beds wracked with terrible involuntary seizures, as if comatose since they have no cognition anymore, but awake and aware of the physical struggle and of starving to death due to not being able to swallow. Not a nice thing to make fun of. The families are left in post traumatic shock from the speed and the nature of the progression of the illness. Often there is no diagnosis until the last days and the patients are not given appropriate treatment for their symptoms.

  • Lisa

    While I agree that it is bringing attention to CJD, I agree with Heather that for those of us who have lost a loved one to this devasting disease, it is no joke. It is a horrible experience to watch someone you love fall victim to a prion disease, and it is not nearly as rare as the public has been led to believe. I wouldn’t expect the Simpsons to make light of breast cancer or heart disease (then again, I am not a fan of the show); therefore, I feel somewhat offended that the writers have chosen to make a joke of CJD.

    Until the public is enlightened to the dangers of eating beef or other animals infected with prion disease, the government will continue to ignore the importance of mandatory testing. Because of the lack of strict inspections, I will continue to avoid eating beef. I agree 100% with Heather: It needs to be taken seriously and portrayed properly in the media.

  • Barb

    I’m going to throw out a DARE here. To Hollywood people tuning in…How about you do a documentary with REAL people; with family members of victims who have actually died of this horrific disease. I know many families who would be more than happy to share their stories, and several that have tried to no avail. Media won’t cover it! This would certainly ‘get into the people’s consciousness’ more than humor would.

  • Theresa Matthews

    This type of humor is completely unacceptable… especially in this country where the last national news broadcast on CJD aired May 12, 1997 from Waterloo,Iowa hosted by Peter Jennings with an interview by John McKenzie. This three and one half minute segment touched on the CJD/Alzheimer’s misdiagnosis factor…a truly frightening number on the low end estimate but no one in the general public paid a hoot of attention.

    If the Simpson’s producers wanted to poke fun at a truly scary thought on Halloween, they should have covered the tissue snatching and tissue trade for profit industry occurring while we were still feeding cows to cows.

    I would like to see formal comment from the CJD Foundation on behalf of all U.S. CJD victims. We are a group that has paid it forward long enough… especially in this country. Things wouldn’t be so funny over here if we were allowed the opportunity to speak before Congress about the abuses we collectively have sustained in trying to get an accurate diagnosis let alone end-of-life care for our loved ones. Further, Congress might actually be moved to enact safety measures that should have been put in place over a decade ago and regularly updated.

    My father died on Halloween October 31, 2005 from sCJD V V 2. He was a prolific blood donor that was deferred from the “Lookback study.” Mayo Clinic cited his risk factors as the lumbar laminectomies he underwent in Illinois. The only thing scarier than this disease is what the American media and medicine has done with it.

  • Edna

    As a widow of a CJD victim, I fail to see where any humor is going to help; and it’s offensive. I would ask those who think that humor will heighten awareness and be positive in any way this question: Has anyone close to you, close enough to care if they lived or died, died? If so, what was the cause of death? Would it offend you even slightly if I made that cause of death a joke?

  • Terri

    Having lost my father to sCJD on November 10, 1999 at the age of 56, I find this episode of the Simpsons appalling. It was just absolutely disgusting. Coming upon the 10th anniversary of my father’s death, it has been a very difficult time. Watching this episode (on Hulu) made the upcoming date that much more painful. I have never watched the Simpson’s and you bet I will never even think about it now. I do have friends that watch it and I guarantee that I will boycott the show.

    I completely agree with the other comments here. No way would they have made fun of any other devastating disease or illness. This is just shameful.

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