I haven't watched The Simpsons since, oh gosh I don't know, Season 11, I think? It's now entered its 25th season, but, goddammit if that stretch they had between 1990-2000 wasn't one of the finest in TV history, right up there with "Seinfeld," "The Sopranos," and "Breaking Bad."
The general consensus is that there was one episode in which everything changed, and that was "The Principal And The Pauper," (Season 9) where we learn that Principal Skinner isn't actually Principal Skinner at all, but is actually an impostor, completely rewriting years and years of back-story for characters we've known and loved. Others believe it was the Frank Grimesepisode. in Season 8, that was the beginning of the end. Who knows, all I know for sure is that the show drastically changed when many of its core writers left.
However, over the past few weeks, The Simpsons has re-emerged in the cultural zeitgeist, but for the wrong reasons. Debate has emerged over the character of Apu. You see folks, we live in an age when social media is the mainstream filter to bitch and moan about things we wouldn't have bitched and moaned about in the '90s. The gist of it is that the "problematic nature" of Apu, brought to light by a documentary called “The Problem with Apu,” has had Simpsons' creators and Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, in a bit of a fender-bender.
It didn't help that the show all but brushed off the issue and mocked it in a recent episode. No surprise, SJW's all over social media were none-too-pleased.
Now comes the news that The Simpsons will completely scrap Apu from the show. Producers of the show have announced that he will be written off due to the increased complaints that he's a racial stereotype. You see, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is a convenience store owner and sports a heavy accent, and has been slammed for reinforcing stereotypes of the Indian-American.
You know what The Simpsons should have done? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.The idea of a white man voicing an Indian character that runs a convenience store seems to be triggering a lot of sensitive and, let me say it, weak-minded people. Every character in The Simpsons is a caricature. Hell, even Homer is a cultural stereotype of the self-centered, fat, white American male. EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER. Should Scots be offended by Groundskeeper Willie? Latinos by Bumblebee Man? Drunkards by Barney? Rednecks by Cletus? Italians by Luigi Risotto?
Want to know the hypocrisy of the situation? Half the Indian comedians out there today speak like Apu. Apparently they like the stereotype only when there is no convenience store involved and the voice actor isn't white. Do you think half those Indian comics would be successful if they weren't exploiting those stereotypes themselves? Could you imagine if we started asking Indians to talk "proper English", to not be offensive to Indians?
Take for example Karan Soni, the guy who plays the taxi driver in "Deadpool," did the director force him to do the stereotypical Indian cab driver shtick? I've met Soni, he doesn't sound like that at all.
Here's an email I received from an Indian friend:
”I won't be watching the Simpsons anymore if this happens. Apu is a legend. Who are these idiots getting offended by a cartoon character?"