‘The Simpsons’ Responds to Apu Stereotype Controversy
It’s been months since comedian Hari Kondabolu laid out The Problem With Apu, and The Simpsons at last responds. A short aside from Sunday’s latest sees Lisa brushing off the stereotype controversy as “something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive,” and unlikely to be changed.
Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary examined the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from a South Asian perspective, including how the character’s exaggerated accent and mannerisms have shaped stereotypes of the Indian people for decades. Both The Simpsons and Apu voice Hank Azaria have largely sidestepped concerns, but Sunday’s “No Good Read Goes Unpunished” addressed the matter head-on. In it, Marge and Lisa debate the political correctness of an older fantasy novel, which then becomes a fourth-wall breaking reference to Apu:
#TheSimpsons completely toothless response to @harikondabolu #TheProblemWithApu about the racist character Apu:
“Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect… What can you do?” pic.twitter.com/Bj7qE2FXWN
— Soham (@soham_burger) April 9, 2018
Asked what they can do about the book, Lisa turns to the camera – flanked by a photo of Apu – and deadpans “It’s hard to say. Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Marge adds that the matter might be dealt with at “a later date,” though Lisa responds “If at all.” Kondabolu was quickly alerted to the reference, and voiced his ire at being dismissed:
Back in December, Azaria offered his apologies to anyone offended by the portrayal and insinuated there might be “measures taken” to address concerns. It now seems clear The Simpsons will ignore The Problem With Apu, so you can watch the trailer below and stay tuned for updates.
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