The problem with Apu doesn’t seem like it will be solved any time soon. The Simpsons, which just hit a record-breaking 636 episodes, has been criticized for the Indian stereotypes pushed by its long-running character Apu, the Kwik-E-Mart owner voiced by Hank Azaria. And while the Fox sitcom dismissed the Apu controversy in a recent episode — igniting even more controversy — some people are willing to do something about it.
Castlevania producer Adi Shankar challenged writers to “fix” Apu, starting a contest to rewrite the character without mocking Indian stereotypes. But just as Shankar took us in a step in the right direction, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening took us one step back, doubling down on the show’s polarizing response.
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In the 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu, comedian Hari Kondabolu questions the legacy of Apu, the long-running The Simpsons character voiced by Hank Azaria. The stereotype of the thick-accented convenience store owner has haunted Indian-Americans for decades, and Kondabolu takes the caricature to task in the hour-long film, which interrogates the character’s impact on South Asian representation on television.
“[He’s] a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father,” Kondabolu jabbed about the character.
Now, The Simpsons has finally responded to The Problem with Apu’s criticisms. And the long-running Fox series addressed it with what was essentially a wave of the hand and a shrug.
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Posted on Saturday, January 13th, 2018 by Fred Topel
Last year, comedian Hari Kondabolu released a documentary called The Problem with Apu, addressing problems the titular character from The Simpsons, a convenience store owner of Indian-American descent. Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, was on a Television Critics Association panel for season two of his IFC series Brockmire when he was asked about the documentary. Azaria was grateful for the chance to respond, but does it mean The Simpsons will make any changes to the character?
Find out what Hank Azaria had to say about The Simpsons Apu problem below. Read More »