The Simpsons& # 39; The Apu controversy has finally reached a critical point, with the protagonists of the animated series considering the possibility of officially withdrawing the character. This followed after years of protest by the character of Apu of the Indian-American defense groups.
Although complaints about Apu had existed for years, they increased after the launch of 2017 of The problem with Apu – a documentary that explored how the character had been used as a negative stereotype against American Indians and immigrants. The fact that Apu had originally been introduced and developed as a way to combat racist and religious stereotypes in the 1990s made it even more ironic that his name was adopted as an insult by racist groups. It did not help the matter that Apu's voice was provided by Hank Azaria, a white actor.
Related: Hank Azaria willing to resign as Apu
The adaptation of a program that has been on the air for 30 years, this story goes far beyond the documentary. Here is a timeline of the controversy behind the character of Apu and how The Simpsons& # 39; I tried to address it, as well as how the end result is a movement for good and for bad.
The Simpsons have already tried to fix Apu
Although it has been argued that Apu started as a stereotype of Indian immigrants, being very polite and working in a convenience store, The Simpsons He made an honest effort to turn Apu into a fully developed character who defied clichés. The episode of season 7, "Much Apu About Nothing" delved into the background of Apu when he was a young man who traveled to the United States on a student visa to obtain his Ph.D. in Computer Science. With that accomplished, he remained in the country illegally, continuing to work at the convenience store he managed (which he later bought, with his older brother Sanjay) in order to pay off his student loans before leaving America. Apu finally decided to take the tests to become a US citizen at the end of the episode, showing his nature as an essentially honest and hard-working individual.
Despite this development, the writing of the program still mocked the race and religion of Apu as often as he used it as an instrument to mock the ignorant people of Springfield. While it has been argued that each character in The Simpsons is a stereotype of some kind, Apu is unique in that only he has had his adopted name as a racial insult against immigrants in general and Indian-Americans in particular. Many have also complained that Apu endures much of the abuse and ignorance that deals with good humor rather than confronting people for their misbehavior.
The Simpsons the television brokers knew these complaints and tried to address them in "Much Apu About Something", an episode that was written in 2014 but was not broadcast until January 2016. In the episode, Apu lost control of his store for his nephew of the Millennium , Jamshed (voiced by Utkarsh Ambudkar, who played Donald in Perfect tone), who complained about the stereotypical behavior of Apu. Apu, in a veiled metatextual defense of his status as one of the first depictions of an Indian-American character on television, complained that Jamshed did not appreciate everything that Apu had given him. The episode ended with the two amendments and Apu regained control of the convenience store, at which point Apu was quietly removed from the show, apart from some cameos that did not speak in the crowd scenes.
Related: South Park Slams Simpsons Over Apu Response
The problem with the documentary Apu explained
Launched in 2017, The problem with Apu It was a documentary written and presented by the comedian Hari Kondabolu. The film documented the story of Kondabolu as a fan of The Simpsons and how, as a child, he loved Apu's character as one of the few representations of an Indian-American on television, but how the character's positive traits were eclipsed by the racism he experienced because the producers and white directors expected him to do it. Act and sound like Apu. Kondabolu continues to document similar experiences of other famous Indian-American artists, such as Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar), Aasif Mandvi (The daily show), Hasan Minhaj (The daily show), and Sakina Jaffrey (House of cards).
Widely acclaimed by critics and the public, the points of The problem with Apu He fell largely deaf ears. While Hank Azaria expressed his sympathy for all those who had been mistreated by the character and showed his willingness to leave the role in favor of an American-Indian actor portraying Apu, The SimpsonsThe creators were not so willing to work to find accommodation. Creator Matt Groening dismissed the Apu protest, saying "people love to pretend they are offended. " Producer Mike Reiss was less agile in his comments in an interview in Tomorrow Joesaying he had seen The problem with Apu and he thought it was a well done documentary that raised solid points, but considered the issue resolved by "Much Apu About Something".
The response of the Simpsons to the problem with Apu
The continuing controversy saw The Simpsons attempt to address The problem with Apu directly with the episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished". In the episode, Marge tried to share one of her favorite books of her childhood with Lisa, who criticized the story for being full of stereotypes and offensive stereotypes. Marge tried to edit the story in something politically correct, only for the story to lose all meaning. Lisa sympathizes with Marge's efforts, saying that "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" Marge then says: "Some things will be treated at a later date", while Lisa adds, "As much." As they look at the viewer, we see a picture of Apu on Lisa's nightstand, with the title, "Do not have a cow!"
Related: The Simpsons responded to the Apu controversy, all wrong.
The response to the episode was largely negative, with Hari Kondabolu saying: "Wow." Politically incorrect? "Is that the conclusion of my film and the discussion it caused? Man, I really loved this program, this is sad." via Twitter. The episode also caused American Indian film producer and YouTube personality Adi Shankar, best known for his Bootleg Universe series, to announce a contest to create a script that solves the problem with Apu to everyone's satisfaction. Shankar's intention was to take the winning script and deliver it to the producers of The Simpsons with the hope that they would turn it into a real episode. If they did not, Shankar promised, he would adapt the script to a future episode of the Bootleg Universe.
Page 2 of 2: The future of Apu and the Simpsons
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