Simpsons fans unimpressed by the show's response to Apu controversy
Fans have called out the animated sitcom's "toothless" response to the "sad" scene in the latest episode
Fans of The Simpsons are really not happy. The reason: the most recent episode of the Fox animation offered a reply to critics of the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. And it's simply “Don’t have a cow”.
This is in part a response to the documentary by Indian-American standup comic Hari Kondabolu, The Problem with Apu, which highlighted how the character – voiced by white actor Hank Azaria since 1990 – led to widespread stereotyping of south Asian people.
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A scene in episode No Good Read Goes Unpunished sees the show acknowledge the controversy, with Marge trying to read Lisa a book she loved when she was a girl, before realising it is filled with racist stereotypes. Marge then revises the story to include a “cisgender girl named Clara” fighting for wild horse rescue, which Lisa says has stripped the character of her emotional journey.
“Well, what am I supposed to do?” Marge replies. Turning to the camera, Lisa then says: “It’s hard to say. Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”
A photo of Apu, inscribed with the words “Don’t have a cow” is then shown on Lisa’s bedside table. The phrase is a favourite of Bart's, meaning don't get all upset about it.
“Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” Marge promises.
“If at all,” Lisa adds.
Kondabolu himself soon criticised the “sad” scene, claiming it was simply a “jab” at progress.
Others have also pointed to the problem of Lisa, considered one of the show’s most progressive characters, delivering such dialogue…
And while others defended the show, saying it stereotypes all characters…
The majority of fans feel the show has let them down…