The Simpsons has been on air for around 30 years now, and like any show that’s been running for so long, it’s beginning to show its age.
Times have changed a lot since the Simpson family debuted back in 1989, and the world is so much different now in ways that the producers at the time could never even have imagined.
Most of all, they didn’t know they had such a long running show on their hands! So if they could go back and fix one thing about the show from the start, what do you think it would be?
More and more fans are starting to say that it would be Apu.
We all know the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the owner and store clerk of the Kwik-E Mart in Springfield.
But American comedian Hari Kondabolu, son of Indian immigrants – has spoken out on multiple occasions about how the character is just one big Indian stereotype.
Now Hari has produced an hour-long documentary called The Problem With Apu, to better explain why he believes the character is such a problem to the Indian-American community.
1. His character hasn’t evolved
A lot of characters in the Simpsons have evolved over time. Homer has gotten stupider. Ned Flanders had his faith called into question when his wife Maude died. Waylon Smithers has changed race from season 1!
If those characters can evolve over 30 years, why is Apu stuck in the past? All he does is say “Thank you, come again”.
2. His accent can’t change
Speaking of his voice, it’s clear that the accent voice actor Azaria puts on for Apu is exaggerated. But that’s part of the problem. You can’t just give a character on a TV show a completely different accent to stay with the times and hope nobody notices the diddily-iference.
That’s why many are saying the easiest solution is just to axe Apu completely.
3. The voice actor who plays him is white
Hank Azaria is a talented voice actor, giving life to several other characters on the show, including Moe Szyslak, Police Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy and Lenny’s best friend Carl.
But his impression of an Indian man for Apu is described by Hari Kondabolu as sounding like a “white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father.”
Azaria himself has even spoken out about the controversy, saying: “I’ve never really talked about it. I know it’s a touchy subject,”
“I really do love the character and do try to do right by him accent-wise and character-wise, and that goes for all the characters I do. But I do understand why people could have been offended or upset, and I’m sorry for that.”
Seems like if even his voice actor is uncomfortable with the character, it might be time to call it quits?
4. He wouldn’t have been in the show if it was written today
Kondabolu pointed out that today, as a society, we are a lot more accepting of other races and cultures compared to back in 1989. He says that Apu is, “An example of a character who would never have been written if the show started today”.
Tough to argue with that, right?
5. The same jokes get old
Hari Kondabolu’s main point as a comedian is that Apu is just not that funny.
“Everything is through the lens of a white person’s perception of an Indian immigrant. It’s the same jokes: India has over a billion people, something about curry, gods with many arms and elephants’ heads, arranged marriage”.
Once a joke has stopped being funny, maybe it’s time to wrap it up.