'The Simpsons' creator promises to find the right answer to Apu controversy

Mindy Sparks
April 15, 2018

Now Simpsons showrunner of almost two decades (and, way back, for seasons 3 and 4) Al Jean shared an opinion article from conservative magazine the National Review, where a radiologist named Pradheep J. Shanker defends the stereotypical Indian character.

His response comes in the aftermath of the furore over the show's tone-deaf addressal of Apu, voiced by actor Hank Azaria, in a recent chapter.

"I truly appreciate all responses pro and con", Jean wrote.

Jean later said he thinks some of the complaints about Apu points are "valid" and he "will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right".

Even though it's been around since pre-Twitter's Vanilla Ice-age, The Simpsons is just now coming up against a burgeoning cultural-sensitivity kerfuffle for dealing directly with its humorous affection for the character of Apu, the Bengali Kwik-E-Mart proprietor whose lingering Indian accent has provided an endless supply of good-natured comedy over the course of the show's 29-year run.

Titled "No Good Read Goes Unpunished", the episode delves into the issue through the lens of a beloved children's book that seems racist and offensive from a modern day perspective. The two come to the realization that the edited version is not as good, prompting Marge to ask, "Well, what am I supposed to do?" "What can you do?" one character says in the episode. "What can you do?"

The documentary is scheduled for a re-telecast on April 15, TruTV channel had announced. The line is met with the response, "Some things will be dealt with at a later date". But a comedian who helped spark a conversation about the character calls the show's response "sad" and attacked the show on Twitter for reducing a discussion about racism to political correctness.

Social media lit up with reactions to the scene, including condemnation from Kondabolu, who tweeted: "Wow".

Up until Friday, however, Jean continued to defend the episode, saying it "could be unpopular but still be right" and equating the entire debate to a "free speech issue".

After journalists reached out to Kondabolu following Sunday's episode, he tweeted, "Congratulations to the Simpsons for being talked about & being seen as relevant again".

Responded Jean, bringing up the Kondabolu documentary: "The Problem With Apu got a 4.6 on imdb".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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