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‘The Simpsons’ Face Controversy in Response to Apu’s Portrayal


Ryden Scarnato

Staff Writer

On Sunday, the latest episode of The Simpsons addressed the criticism regarding long time character Apu, the Indian Kwik-E-Mart owner. The show has faced judgement, especially from last year’s documentary The Problem With Apu, questioning the representation of Indian characters like Apu.

Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, spoke on the issue earlier this year, “They are giving it a lot of thought,” Azaria said, “We’ve discussed it a little bit, and they will definitely address, maybe publicly, but certainly creatively within the context of the show, what they want to do, if anything, differently with the character.”

In the episode “No Good Read Goes Unpunished”, Marge reads an old favorite book to Lisa, but realizes how culturally offensive the book truly is. Marge and Lisa then break the fourth wall, addressing the viewers. Lisa says, “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 dealt with at a later date” with Lisa responding, “If at all.” The whole scene occurs in Lisa’s bedroom with a picture of Apu on her nightstand with “Don’t have a cow” written on it.

The Simpsons most recent episode, No Good Read Goes Unpunished, is in hot water after the questionable handling of the controversial character Apu. Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Hari Kondabolu, who wrote and starred in The Problem With Apu, responded to the scene on his twitter account. Kondabolu tweeted, “Wow. “Politically Incorrect?” That’s the takeaway from my movie & the discussion it sparked? Man, I really loved this show. This is sad.”

Kondabolu later added, “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. The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress.”

Producer Al Jean anticipated the social media talk before the show even aired tweeting, “.@TheSimpsons New Simpsons in five minutes. Twitter explosion in act three,” he wrote. “New Simpsons today! They’ll be talking about this one tomorrow.”

In a statement to ABC News, 20th Century Fox Television representatives said, “The episode speaks for itself.”