Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

'The Simpsons' Jabs Back At Apu Stereotype Claims In New Episode

Lisa and Marge Simpson
Fox  Matt Groening Lisa and Marge Simpson Fox Matt Groening
Melinda Barton | 12 April, 2018, 03:33

"The Simpsons" has briefly addressed criticism of its portrayal of its Indian shop owner, Apu, but Indian American comedian Hari Kondabolu, who helped spark a conversation about the character, has called the show's response "sad".

The result was The Problem with Apu, a documentary featuring Kondabolu interviewing comedians, South Asian and otherwise, about their complicated relationships to Apu and how it might have changed over the three decades The Simpsons has been on the air.

People of South Asian heritage have criticised the heavily accented Apu character for reinforcing stereotypes which they say led to world bullying, self-loathing and embarrassment.

The documentary reignited debate about the responsibility of the media, and how minorities are typically depicted in unfair ways on the small screen. Apu wasn't a contested character when the show began, but he is now-oh well? The scene in question involved an exhausted Marge reading The Princess in the Garden - or at least a version of the book that she has edited to make acceptable for 2018 - to Lisa.

Lisa looking at the camera to give a direct message to Politically Correct people as the camera pans out to Apu is one of the best moments of my year so far. "What can you do?" As she spoke, the frame shifted to a photo of Apu with the familiar catchphrase, "Don't have a cow". "I think, over the years, they've done a really good job of being, shall we say, uniformly offensive without being outright hurtful". We let that crap slide and I honestly didn't take much offense to it until you wanted to pretend you did us all some service", the producer replied, "Respectfully Hank won an Emmy for voicing the character in 1998.

On an episode of the chat show, Koffee with Karan, Ranveer Singh talked about how he used to woo girls while studying in the West.

Others took issue with the writers' choice to have Lisa, undoubtedly the most intelligent and progressive member of the Simpson household, deliver the line about political incorrectness.

Marge then says, "Some things will be dealt with at a later date", and Lisa then adds, "If at all".

Marge counters, "Well, what am I supposed to do?"

The episode saw the subject tackled indirectly via a discussion between Marge and Lisa Simpson. The creator of "The Problem With Apu" was insulted at the fact that all the show seemed to get out of his documentary was that Apu was politically incorrect, as seen in the Tweets below.

But others disagreed, with Graham writing: "It's odd to me that everyone is so offended by Apu being a stereotype but no one mentions other characters like Willie". Some might argue he's no worse than characters like Luigi Risotto, Fat Tony, Bumblebee Man or Cletus Spuckler.