Sunday’s episode of “The Simpsons” was not only notable for being Judd Apatow‘s long-lost episode, “Bart’s New Friend” — the Fox animated series joined a number of other voices in entertainment by paying tribute to French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which suffered a mass shooting in Paris last week.
Before the beginning of the final commercial break, the long-running comedy briefly showed an image of Maggie, the youngest Simpson, holding a flag reading, “Je Suis Charlie.”
The French slogan, “I am Charlie,” was adopted by supporters of free speech and freedom of expression after the last week’s massacre, in which 12 staffers of the publication were killed by three gunmen, who injured 11 others. The men, now dead after violent standoffs with authorities, were reportedly members of the Islamic extremist network Al-Qaeda.
Maggie Simpson was not the only pop cultural icon to give a shout out to Charlie Hebdo on Sunday.
Helen Mirren walked the Golden Globe Awards red carpet with a similar sign on her hands, while George Clooney wore a “Je Suis Charlie” button on his black tuxedo and referenced the attack during his acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille award honoring lifetime achievement in film and television.
Sunday’s episode of “The Simpsons” was written by Apatow 25 years ago, well before he was the superstar writer, director and producer of big-screen comedy hits “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” as well as executive producer of television comedies “Freaks and Geeks” and “Girls.”
While staff writers had to punch up the long-lost episode written at a time when the show had only aired six times, Apatow seemed happy with their work.
The writers of @TheSimpsons did amazing work on my crazy old draft. They kept the heart and soul and added their brilliance. Thank you.