Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons will make history as the first to feature a deaf actor and use American Sign Language — despite characters only having four fingers.
The episode, titled “The Sound of Bleeding Gums,” follows Lisa Simpson as she tracks down the deaf son of her favorite saxophone player and helps him get a cochlear implant. Deaf Glee and I Hear You veteran John Autry II voices the character. Simpsons writer Loni Steele Sosthand drew his inspiration from the Oscar-winning film CODA, as well as his jazz-loving father and deaf brother.
“When we were talking about this Bleeding Gums character in our initial brainstorms, we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if Lisa discovers this whole other side of his life,'” he tells Variety. That led to him having a son, and then we based that character at least somewhat on my brother. And the story grew from there.”
“The Sound of Bleeding Gums” airs Sunday, April 10 on Fox at 8 p.m. ET.
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