Lisa Respers France, CNN, April 9, 2018
Sunday night’s episode of “The Simpsons” took on the controversy over a character, and not everyone thought the response was funny.
Comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary “The Problem with Apu” debuted last November and looked at the show’s character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon as a negative, stereotypical representation of South Asians.
Nahasapeemapetilon is an Indian-American character who operates the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store in the fictional town of Springfield. The character is voiced by actor Hank Azaria, who is not South Asian.
On Sunday night’s episode of “The Simpsons,” mother Marge Simpson is seen reading a book to her daughter Lisa in which she refers to the heroine as a “cisgender girl” and tries to modernize the action.
Lisa notes that the character as such is “already evolved” and “doesn’t really have an emotional journey to complete,” so as such there’s “no point” to the book.
Marge asks, “Well what am I supposed to do?” and Lisa’s response was clearly meant to be one to the Apu controversy.
“It’s hard to say. Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Lisa says before looking at a framed photograph of Apu on her nightstand which is inscribed with the message “Don’t have a cow.”
The scene stirred some emotions on social media, with one person calling it a “completely toothless response.”