'The Simpsons' addresses Apu stereotype criticism

Sunday night's episode of "The Simpsons" took on the controversy over a character, and not everyone thought the respo...

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 2:32 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2018 2:32 PM

Sunday night's episode of "The Simpsons" took on the controversy over a character, and not everyone thought the response was funny.

Comedian Hari Kondabolu's documentary "The Problem with Apu" debuted last November and looked at the show's character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon as a negative, stereotypical representation of South Asians.

Documentary discussed the character as racism

Some fans were not happy with the show's response

Nahasapeemapetilon is an Indian-American character who operates the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store in the fictional town of Springfield. The character is voiced by actor Hank Azaria, who is not South Asian.

In his doc, Kondabolu interviewed several big name celebrities of South Asian descent, including Aziz Ansari and Kal Penn, to discuss how characterizations like Apu can be viewed as a form of racism.

Related: Using 'The Simpsons' to explain how Asian Americans are overlooked

On Sunday night's episode of "The Simpsons," mother Marge Simpson is seen reading a book to her daughter Lisa in which she refers to the heroine as a "cisgender girl" and tries to modernize the action.

Lisa notes that the character as such is "already evolved" and "doesn't really have an emotional journey to complete," so as such there's "no point" to the book.

Marge asks, "Well what am I supposed to do?" and Lisa's response was clearly meant to be one to the Apu controversy.

"It's hard to say. Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" Lisa says before looking at a framed photograph of Apu on her nightstand which is inscribed with the message "Don't have a cow."

The scene stirred some emotions on social media, with one person calling it a "completely toothless response."

Kondabolu tweeted that he found the response to be "sad."

"In 'The Problem with Apu,' I used Apu & The Simpsons as an entry point into a larger conversation about the representation of marginalized groups & why this is important," he also tweeted. "The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress."

CNN's W. Kamau Bell tweeted "The Simpsons, 1989 - 2018 #RIP."

"I think the fact that they put this "argument" in the mouth of Lisa's character, the character who usually champions the underdogs and is supposed to be the most thoughtful and liberal, is what makes this the most ridiculous (as in worthy of ridicule) and toothless response," Bell tweeted.

But some found it much Apu about nothing, pointing out that "The Simpsons" make fun of everyone.

In 2015, Azaria talked about voicing Apu as part of the Emmy TV Legends series.

He said he understood some of the criticism given that 25 years ago when "The Simpsons" premiered Apu "was the only Indian character in pop culture really."

"Now ... if you are a young Indian-American person you have a lot of role models to choose from," Azaria said. "So Apu can just be one funny one."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 485230

Reported Deaths: 6554
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1006801585
Ramsey43047801
Dakota36254390
Anoka33274384
Washington22065255
Stearns18723201
St. Louis14794262
Scott13273107
Wright12517115
Olmsted1177988
Sherburne871572
Carver771040
Clay690387
Rice670091
Blue Earth593835
Kandiyohi579474
Crow Wing519681
Chisago498445
Otter Tail481870
Benton446190
Winona418049
Mower404131
Douglas392568
Nobles386847
Goodhue385568
Polk342762
McLeod339349
Beltrami337351
Morrison324247
Lyon313044
Itasca312746
Becker310941
Isanti305754
Carlton300149
Steele299711
Pine282016
Freeborn280523
Nicollet258141
Todd247830
Brown244637
Le Sueur235020
Mille Lacs227247
Cass219924
Waseca208917
Meeker207434
Martin189328
Wabasha18623
Roseau180217
Hubbard160640
Houston157314
Dodge15214
Renville149540
Redwood147027
Fillmore13728
Chippewa136335
Cottonwood134820
Pennington134116
Wadena130920
Faribault122917
Aitkin118933
Sibley117310
Watonwan11728
Rock115714
Kanabec107419
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93510
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77815
Stevens7418
Lake73718
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68316
Wilkin67110
Koochiching61811
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5062
Grant4918
Unassigned47968
Norman4768
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3055
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 362189

Reported Deaths: 5414
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58146549
Linn20653312
Scott18288207
Black Hawk16249291
Woodbury14961211
Johnson1383473
Dubuque13537194
Dallas1135890
Pottawattamie10765143
Story1021645
Warren555274
Clinton543284
Cerro Gordo533681
Webster518787
Marshall496272
Sioux494369
Buena Vista473236
Des Moines457661
Muscatine451191
Wapello4330108
Jasper416966
Plymouth394577
Lee375352
Marion359069
Jones294154
Henry292737
Carroll285548
Bremer280154
Crawford274735
Boone259630
Washington254147
Benton252854
Mahaska224346
Jackson221438
Dickinson217439
Tama213465
Kossuth208154
Clay193525
Hamilton192042
Delaware188839
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan185129
Fayette185035
Page183219
Hardin181039
Wright179731
Harrison179669
Cedar177923
Clayton168053
Butler166331
Mills163120
Floyd162740
Madison154518
Cherokee153935
Poweshiek153730
Hancock146829
Lyon145841
Allamakee145646
Iowa144423
Appanoose139147
Grundy139030
Jefferson138232
Winnebago138230
Cass134151
Calhoun133711
Mitchell130840
Louisa128241
Union126331
Chickasaw125213
Sac124218
Emmet121240
Shelby121033
Franklin118419
Humboldt117425
Guthrie116528
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard103121
Clarke100520
Unassigned9890
Keokuk98129
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida91032
Pocahontas85519
Davis82623
Monona81627
Greene77310
Lucas73821
Osceola70514
Worth6987
Taylor66412
Fremont5919
Decatur5789
Van Buren55918
Ringgold52020
Wayne48821
Audubon4869
Adams3264
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 12°
Mason City
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 11°
Albert Lea
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 15°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 9°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 9°
Mild conditions expected this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events