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Saturday, October 27, 2018 

The Simpsons caves to political correctness, drops Apu from the cast

It looks like the much-too-long running Simpsons cartoon is caving to the leftist PC yammering that saw social justice advocates attacking the Indian character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, and they're dropping the Quik-E-Mart manager from the cast of characters, most likely till the show finally sees its end:
In April producer Adi Shankar launched a spec script contest for “The Simpsons” to solve what has become known as the show’s “Apu Problem.” The long-running character, a convenience store owner voiced by Hank Azaria, has become a controversial figure because many believe him to be an inaccurate and hurtful portrayal of Indian-Americans.
No, just a vocal minority on the left pretending to take offense did. Not that these press sources will actually admit it, of course.
Shankar’s primary hope was that Fox would produce the script as an episode of “The Simpsons,” but now that he has found what he calls the “perfect script” and announces the winner of his contest, he told IndieWire that he has heard from people who work for the show that “The Simpsons” is eliminating the character.

“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” said Shankar in an interview with IndieWire. “They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”

Following Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary “The Problem with Apu,” “The Simpsons” poked fun at the controversy in the ironically titled episode “No Good Read Goes Unpunished” that took a jab at the political correctness of the shows’ critics. Then in May, Matt Reiss, the only original writer still at the show, told Vanity Fair that the show dealt with the Apu problem back in 2016 episode, with the episode “Much Apu About Something,” and the character has “barely had a line in the past three seasons.” [...]

Shankar believes the decision to yank the Apu character and avoid the controversy is a mistake, especially for a show known for its social satire.

“If you are a show about cultural commentary and you are too afraid to comment on the culture, especially when it’s a component of the culture you had a hand in creating, then you are a show about cowardice,” said Shankar. “It’s not a step forward, or step backwards, it’s just a massive step sideways. After having read all these wonderful scripts, I feel like sidestepping this issue doesn’t solve it when the whole purpose of art, I would argue, is to bring us together.”
Unfortunately, to left-wingers who eat their own, this is meaningless. I'm not terribly surprised a TV show already produced by a cacophony of liberals would succumb to their own so easily. John Sexton at Hot Air says:
I was never a devoted Simpsons fan but I guess I would say I thought Apu was as funny as the rest of the show. But it doesn’t really surprise me that this is now considered offensive rather than funny if only because that’s the trendline with everything these days. Quite a few top comedians have talked about political correctness and how it is killing comedy. Apu is just another casualty.
Sad but true. You surely couldn't produce a sitcom like All in the Family/Archie Bunker's Place or Three's Company today because of the new atmosphere either. Whether live action or animated, one thing is clear: the comedy genre on TV looks like it'll collapse because of this mess, and come to think of it, the genre already sadly was 2 decades ago. At that time though, it was because humor was, most unfortunately, losing its edge. Now it's more because of leftist politics.

For all we know, this capitulation, while unsurprising, could still become the domino precipitating the eventual cancellation of a cartoon that's been on the air far too long and lost whatever sense of humor it once had. Should it receive its curtain call, the end of the Simpsons would probably be for the best.

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Waiting for the underground comics of the 60s and 70s to come back. They used political correctness for a bum wipe. Something just as counter cultural now would explode heads of the pissy elite from New York to Los Angeles.

Apu deserved a better finale than this, but once Azaria said he would no longer voice the character, they had no alternative.

Still, it works both ways. The next time a writer makes use of the stereotype of the unemployed conservative white guy shooting up a bunch of hard-working immigrants, how can you complain? If East Indians should not be making a big deal about a caricatured stereotype, how can conservatives complain about the stock character headline-grabbing version of themselves?

You should really warm up before you stretch that far to make a point, you might pull something.

You have to look at the comment in context. This site has made repeated postings criticizing stereotyped bad conservative characters, and arguing for the hiring of conservative writers, in part to remedy that. Meanwhile, East Indians are criticizing Apu and wishing there were East Indian writers who understand he East Indian experience, and this site says it is just phoney posturing. The link oils not that hard to draw.

Okay, I get it, but what is so offensive about Apu beyond his mere existence? Here in Southern Ontario we have a huge Indian population, and more often than not, the guy driving your cab, or running the local convenience store is Indian. Apu also speaks English more clearly than many of them, so there is nothing outrageous about his accent.

This really just seems to be more of the manufactured outrage so prevalent today, and it's getting pretty tired.

Shame Apu had to get the axe. I heard one of the so-called Hindis who expressed mock-outrage over his existence was a failed comedienne. Honestly, I'd argue that Apu among immigrants would have been a dang good role model, considering he was an avidly hard worker, and actually made sure he legally became an American citizen to avoid being deported instead of remaining an illegal alien. Then again, the left always tries to get rid of the good ones.

And funny you should mention All in the Family by Norman Lear, as Lear actually intended for the audience to root against Archie Bunker and root for Meathead, who was a very explicit left-winger. Let's just say that backfired on him big time (thank goodness, since the last thing we need is people adopting Communist insurrection as easily as Gotham embraced Jerome Valeska's antics wholesale in Gotham.) where audiences were far more receptive to Archie Bunker than to Meathead, to the extent that Archie Bunker's chair is a Smithsonian treasure, while Meathead is an insult right now.

Meathead was always an insult; it is not like that was Mike Stivic's real name in the series. Norman Lear was too good an artist to do one-dimensional characters; he gave weight to both Archie and Mike. He also showed how Archie's world was changing around him.

Apu doesn’t seem that bad to me, although Azaria would be the first to
say that his accent is not authentic. Still, if I was the only white
kid going to school in some rural Chinese village where the only
things the local kids knew about white people came from watching
Simpsons reruns, I would be pretty angry about Homer by the time I
finished high school.

Maybe this is something that Avi’s East Indian émigré readers,
American or Israeli, could weigh in on? I notice that a few people
of European descent are claiming that this is all false outrage
stirred up by white liberals and that Apu is a positive role model for
European-Americans and Indian-Americans alike, but I have not seen
East Indian people, of any skin color, saying that.

The show’s producers, by the way, have denied that they are shelving Apu.

Never could get into shows like the Simpsons or Futurama, too mocking and little in the way of genuine laughs.

Surprised shows like the Simpsons are still going on, sometimes you just have to put something out of its misery.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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