The Simpsons is one of the most celebrated televison programs in history, and it achieved this distinction by pushing social boundaries.
It’s not South Park, but the comedy can be offensive depending on who you are.
Or what you look like.
The creators of the show however are under fire this evening after an controversial episode that aired Sunday.
The backlash concerns the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who has been a cornerstone of the program since it’s inception.
Apu runs the Kwik-E mart, and is depicted as an Indian American even though the voice actor who plays him is not Indian by any stretch.
Over the last 30 years or so, it has been a running theme that Apu represents an ugly sterotype, and this past weekend it all hit the fan.
"Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect… What can you do?" pic.twitter.com/Bj7qE2FXWN
— Soham (@soham_burger) April 9, 2018
“In Sunday’s episode, Marge Simpson is reading a book to her daughter, Lisa, and the two talk about changing times and perceptions.
Not directly, but in what can be perceived as references to Apu, Lisa says, “It’s hard to say. Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” The camera then zooms in on a picture of Apu by Lisa’s nightstand that reads, “Don’t have a cow – Apu.”
Marge then says, “Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” while Lisa says, “If at all”.
Some believe this was a pathetic attempt by the showruners to address a long standing public issue with one of it’s characters, not to mention the creators used the hero like figure Lisa to mock one of the few minorities on the program.
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.
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) April 9, 2018
Social media wasn’t having it, including comedian Hari Kondabolu, who actually produced a documentary about this very problem with the show.
20th Century Fox released a heat warming statement in response to the firestorm, a statement that only fueled the fire.
“The episode speaks for itself” the company said in a statement.
You have to give Fox credit for being accountable, the network seems to be truly sorry to anyone they might have offended.