In today's overly politically correct state, TV comedies are left in an uneasy place.
Yes, we all know Roseanne Barr and her "Roseanne" reboot has become the most popular scripted show on air.
Why? Because in prime time she goes boldly into the fray of modern politics, offering opinions on topics people consider interesting. She's not alone. And whether you love Donald Trump or loathe him, from "Saturday Night Live" and late-night talk shows to the polarized cable channels and now to the most-watched non-reality or sports broadcast going, Trump's continued controversy sells.
But the cost is a continued softening of our opinion of what is offered as humor and what is — GASP! — offensive. We have become inherently incorrect in our attempts to be politically correct, and it's sad.
Take the longest-running sitcom in television history, for example.
"The Simpsons" has been on TV since the early days of the first Bush administration and has been taking shots at everyone and everything since.
There is no safe space from the wit of the writers, as the cartoon on Fox has forever delighted in thumbing its nose in all directions.
That changed last November when Hari Kondabolu's documentary "The Problem with Apu," alleged character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, a convenience store owner who speaks in a heavy Indian accent, brought stereotypes on those from the South Asian community.
Writers and producers of "The Simpsons" decided to exclude Apu from the show since the documentary — "I think the documentary made some really interesting points and gave us a lot of things to think about and we really are thinking about it," actor Hank Azaria, who does the voice of Apu, told TMZ — until Sunday.
The creators of the show had Marge and Lisa — the mom and the oldest daughter of the Simpson clan — discuss the changes of the politically correct status in this country as they read a children's book that had been updated for 2018 standards.
On Sunday's episode — titled "No Good Read Goes Unpunished" — Lisa told Marge: "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?"
She then looks at a poster of Apu — how Apu has his own poster around Springfield is anyone's guess — with a caption of "Don't have a cow!"
The episode drew a ton of criticism from folks who are only happy when they have something to criticize.
Lost in all of this is that the three decades of "The Simpsons" have been based on making fun of everyone.
There's Homer, the beer-draining middle-class dad. He's more Moe with the Plumber Crack than Joe the Plumber.
There's Groundskeeper Willie, Fat Tony and Bumblebee Man among those as stereotypes of other nationalities.
There are a slew of jobs portrayed in the shadows of satire, from police officers to lawyers to journalists to teachers to bartenders to millionaires.
Heck, they even have Mayor Quimby, the image of corrupt politicians everywhere. Come to think of it, that is more fact than fiction.
But the simple fact remains that if everyone is the subject of satire, then it's logical to believe that no one is being mocked, correct?
If everyone is a stereotypical caricature, then is anyone truly being singled out?
Sadly, this is a situation in which art is now imitating life, and when that happens, life will derail art. Even a cartoon.
Contact Jay Greeson at email@example.com and 423-757-6343.