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D'oh! Swiss TV slaps warning on The Simpsons

The Simpsons, the long-running television cartoon series, will in future come with a warning for children when broadcast on Swiss public television channels.

Following a complaint from a concerned mother, the federal television ombudsman, Achille Casanova, ruled that the show was not suitable for children under 12.

From now on each episode broadcast on SF (German-language television) will be preceded by a written and spoken warning.

The issue began when a mother complained about an episode featuring the electric chair, despite the actual execution being called off. SF replied that The Simpsons was very popular and also loved by smaller children, "therefore it's all right".

Casanova said this response was unsatisfactory and the broadcaster had apologised.

The ombudsman added however that the satirical aspect of the programme was clear and the broadcasters could do nothing if children watched the early-evening show unsupervised by their parents.

The Simpsons is a satirical parody of a middle-class American life epitomised by its eponymous family, comprising Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. It sends up American culture and society.

Homer's exclamatory catchphrase "D'oh!" has been adopted into the English lexicon, while The Simpsons has influenced many adult-oriented animated sitcoms.

The series is not however without controversy. Educators have claimed that Bart is a "threat to learning" because of his "underachiever and proud of it" attitude and negative approach to school. and agencies