Gun-control debate: When Hollywood chimes in, the results are mixed

Tuesday, 03 October 2017, 10:30:57 PM. When television shows take on gun control, the results are often mixed — and rarely well-received.
Jimmy Kimmel got emotional during his monologue on Oct. 2 about the Las Vegas shooting. He and other late night hosts called on politicians to address gun control. (Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post) In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, late-night television hosts spent Monday night discussing gun control. Jimmy Kimmel, for example, choked up as he said lawmakers “should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country, because it’s so crazy.” Much as late-night hosts often react to mass shootings with emotional monologues and calls to action, the controversial topic of gun control is largely absent from scripted television — even on shows that try tackling current issues. A brief look at high-profile shows that have taken on the thorny issue might explain why. Often the episodes alienate fans or try to please everyone, thus pleasing no one. Here are three examples. 1. “The Simpsons” offers a muddled message In “The Cartridge Family,” an episode that aired in 1997, Homer visits the “Bloodbath & Beyond Gun Shop” to purchase a pistol to protect his family. When told there’s a five-day waiting period, he responds, “Five days? But I’m mad now. I’d kill you if I had my gun.” Eventually, he receives the gun but uses it irresponsibly — such as waving it in his wife’s face. The Springfield branch of the National Rifle Association soon gives him the boot. Much of the episode appeared to be anti-gun, with Homer playing the role of a stubborn gun-rights...Read more
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