Morrissey Seems Really Offended by “The Simpsons” Parody

Hey, he's human and needs to be loved (very questionable political views aside)

Benedict Cumberbatch as the singer Quilloughby on "The Simpsons,' walking with fan Lisa Simpson. Morrissey has called out the show for a "hateful" parody
Benedict Cumberbatch voiced a Morrissey-like singer on "The Simpsons"
Screenshot / Fox

Surprise: Morrissey has no sense of humor.

On Sunday night’s episode of The Simpsons, the long-running cartoon began with a somewhat affectionate tribute to the iconic British singer. Lisa uses her family’s music streaming service to find tunes she’d actually like; after several hours of fruitless searching (“Good taste is a curse, but I’m sure a great song is just a click away”), she comes across an ’80s band called The Snuffs, led by a singer named Quilloughby. Obviously, this was a nod to Morrissey and The Smiths.

As voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, Quilloughby is dour, literate, sarcastic, snarky/funny and judgmental. He’s also a vegan; obviously, Lisa becomes obsessed and the singer (in ’80s form) becomes her imaginary friend. He’s also kind of a bad influence, and by episode’s end she’s stolen Homer’s credit card and gone to a music festival to see her idol perform after years of seclusion. Unfortunately, his years in isolation have turned the singer into a bloated, meat-loving sell-out who’s also incredibly racist.

This isn’t quite what happened to the real-life Morrissey, who looks fine, is still vegan and continues to release new music and play concerts at a semi-regular pace. However, the singer has voiced some really strong political opinions of late, and those leanings have alienated fans. “Once his songs of loneliness and shyness made him a hero to misfits and outsiders. Yet now he is voicing his support for a far-right party,” as The Guardian suggested.

Morrissey, or a representative for the singer, ranted about The Simpsons on Sunday night via Facebook. “The Simpson’s [sic] show started out creating great insight into the modern cultural experience, but has since degenerated to trying to capitalize on cheap controversy and expounding on vicious rumors,” he (or an underling) writes, before possibly going third-person. “Morrissey has never made a ‘cash grab’, hasn’t sued any people for their attacks, has never stopped performing great shows, and is still a serious vegan and strong supporter for animal rights.”

A few things here: Morrissey or his rep are right about some of this, although you could argue that since Quilloughby isn’t a direct parody, the show can do what it wants. As for not citing specific instances where the singer was racist — in the show, it’s pretty obvious when he makes anti-immigration remarks — Variety notes that the actual performer has supported what many consider a racist/anti-immigrant party and also called Chinese people a “subspecies” and mocked London mayor Sadiq Khan’s accent.

In the end, what we’re left is this: That was an above-average episode of The Simpsons, and the final minutes showcased what feels like real disappointment from the writing staff, who are (or were) obviously fans of The Smiths, given all the references in the show. Does making a Morrissey stand-in a bloated, reclusive sell-out — again, not accurate — negate making the character hold what many consider morally repugnant views? The show probably could have gone more in either direction, either making Quilloughby less like Morrissey (to frame the character as just an aging, bitter rock star) or trying to even more accurately mock the man behind “Bigmouth Strikes Again.”

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