"It's a very vague system of measurement, but it's about whether it comes from a good place," said Hills. It seems a reasonable and fair assessment of a touchy subject that has a habit of escalating thanks to Daily Mail hysteria.
This brings us around to Ricky Gervais's latest sitcom Derek. A show based around a selection of people on the fringes of society working in a care home. The debate about whether Derek is offensive or potentially hurtful to disabled people is one that hasn't gone away since the pilot aired last year on Channel 4.
Few shows have ever had so much written about them with so little material actually airing.
Tonight's first proper episode (Gervais describes last year's outing as a "non-broadcast pilot") is unlikely to end the debate, because Gervais makes good copy for critics. His argument remains that Derek Noakes doesn't have a disability and even if he does, why does it matter?
Plenty of critics and members of the public find Gervais as appealing as a bath of bleach. They find him smug, self-absorbed and appear to resent the stroke of luck he got with his close-to-perfect work on The Office.
In return, Gervais ladles on the talk about how much money he's earned, the awards he's won, his success in America and like a child with his fingers stuck in his ears, bites back at the critics: "I don't care." Inevitably, this winds up the critics further.
Personally, I like Gervais. Not only do I enjoy the majority of his work, but from experiences of meeting him I like him as a person. From what I can see his usual boisterous and cocksure exterior is just a front for someone who cares passionately about his art and who also does care what people think.
However, as a late-comer to celebrity and fame, Gervais appears to relish his role as an outsider, and the barbs and criticism that come his way possibly reassure him that he still is on the fringes of the mainstream, despite his awards, cash and millions of Twitter followers
But I digress from the key point here - is Derek offensive and, more importantly, is it any good?
To answer the first point, in my opinion, not really. And to answer the second point, sometimes.
Gervais's critics will relish telling us how mean and unfortunate his latest creation is. But after watching the first four episodes, the argument that he's mocking the disabled is hard to stack up. The show is sloppy at times and the comic's track record on the subject is poor (the less said about mong-gate the better), but to judge Derek on its own merits alone, I'd struggle to suggest that Gervais is coming at the project with anything other than the best intentions.
The show has brought back a lot of pathos and heart that worked so well in The Office. The comic has admitted that his obsession with celebrity and his surge to fame had an impact on his post-Office output, and while occasionally on Extras and his Golden Globes stints it worked, his routine has grown tired. Life's Too Short - a case in point - was the same gags, recycled and done more crudely.
Unfortunately for Gervais, while his intentions are good and the concept for Derek sounds good on paper (a care home is the perfect environment for a classic sitcom), the show lacks the guile and elegance that made The Office so on the money.
The plinky-plonky pianos, the lingering 'emotional' shots of glum-looking pensioners, the overt heart-string tugging and showering of cuddliness are too much. The Office was a love story. Extras was about friendship. But there was a subtlety to both those shows that is missing in Derek. It's all smothered on a bit too thick.
But why am I even comparing it to The Office? Maybe Gervais got lucky on his first show, maybe he didn't. Either way, I wouldn't compare any other new sitcom to his early work, so why should I use it as a yardstick for Derek. If a show isn't as great as The Office, Fawlty Towers or Only Fools and Horses do we write it off immediately? Of course not. BBC Three would be out of business.
There was plenty to enjoy and chuckle at in Derek. Kerry Godliman is a revelation as care home boss Hannah. I felt myself warming to her even more with every eye roll of despair that she delivered at her farcical co-workers - Gervais's well-meaning but bumbling Derek, an ex-con who throws neighbours in skips, the sexual deviant Kev.
It makes the focus of debate on Gervais's performance and intentions even more frustrating because when Godliman is wheeling out killer lines ("I worry about little things like a cable or a wobbly chair. I didn't expect them to see Kev's b*llocks. None of us did."), you realise that a show based around her without the Derek character involved at all could have been a stronger proposition.
And then there's Karl Pilkington's Dougie. I don't think Hollywood is beckoning for Karl - his role as caretaker is a very, very short extension of his podcast/Idiot Abroad shtick - but he still manages to get most of the best lines in the first episode. Offering his wisdom on electrics, he tells a council worker pencil pusher: "It's not that hard Roger. Three wires, ain't it? Brown, blue and earth or something."
The joy of Pilkington is that he looks and sounds like a cartoon character. And the whole world created in Derek is very cartoonish. Everyone felt like they knew a Brent, a Tim or a Dawn from The Office. Derek, Dougie and Kev are traditional sitcom caricatures. They're either heroes, imbeciles or bonkers.
Kev talking about having "Joanna Lumley all over my Gurkhas" is a funny line for those who appreciate a bit of smut, but it rather undercuts any emotional tug that the show is shooting for. There is nobody like Kev out there in the real world. And if there was, they certainly wouldn't be allowed in a care home.
But these are just quibbles. I laughed at Derek. As an old softie, I even got a bit caught up in the soppy bits. It's not a show that I will love and hold close to my heart like The Office, but it is one that I'm looking forward to watching next week.
Derek airs on Wednesdays on Channel 4.
What did you think of Derek? Let us know below!
Watch our video interview with Ricky Gervais about Derek: