There are only a couple of television series’ which are as influential and iconic as The Simpsons. The series has spawned a cult following and a lot of spinoff materials, including books and a empire.
Writers turn to the series for smart, insightful commentary. However, The Simpsons has one serious mark on its own record — and fans are speaking out about how the cult-classic show can do a course correction in the manner that showrunners have handled the character of Apu.
When did’The Simpsons’ introduction?
It might not seem like it, but The Simpsons first surfaced on tv way back 1989. The show was made as a depiction of life in middle-class America and featured characters such as Bart Simpson, Homer Simpson, Marge Simpson, and Lisa Simpson.
Over time, the show has handled many difficult subjects, welcomed countless celebrity guests, and motivated a massive fan following.
Catchphrases from the series, including Homer Simpson’s iconic”D’oh!” Have entered the popular lexicon, and the series is considered to have influenced nearly every adult-themed animation that has premiered in the previous two decades.
The nature of Apu has been problematic for years
While The Simpsons focuses primarily on Homer Simpson and his loved ones, the show has also introduced a large variety of supporting characters through time.
One of these characters is Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, an Indian-American man who runs a local gasoline station in the Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield. Voiced by Hank Azaria, a white guy, Apu was released in the first period of The Simpsons and for decades, stayed a regular character.
Many audiences found Abu to become debatable, to say the least. In 2017, after years of fan backlash, a documentary premiered that slammed the character as being a stereotype, calling on showrunners to do better with representation.
Eventually, Azaria, who’s voiced Apu since the show’s beginning, spoke out, showing that he’d no more be expressing the character he was working together with the network to be able to”transition” the character to a place that felt more appropriate.
Critics want the character of Apu to return
For the last several decades, the character of Apu has been absent from The Simpsons, following the release of this documentary and the subsequent backlash. However, many television heavyweights and lovers alike are talking out, showing that there’s a place for Apu from the television arena — providing it is done respectfully.
TV producers like Adi Shankar have said that eliminating Apu in the show entirely is a step”sideways” and that the series would do well to bring Apu back, albeit voiced by an Indian-American celebrity as opposed to a white one.
Others chimed in to agree with Shankar. It appears as though the ball is in the court of The Simpsons showrunners, and so far, they haven’t made any real, definitive statement regarding Apu’s future on the show. If they do decide to attract Apu back into any form or fashion, it’d be a step in the ideal path, and would probably go a long way towards course-correcting the dark markers in The Simpsons‘ otherwise history.