The Simpsons Responds To Apu Controversy--And Some Fans Are Upset

"What can you do?"

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Sunday night's episode of The Simpsons addressed the recent controversy surrounding the character Apu--and not everyone enjoyed what the show had to say. First, some background. In 2017, comedian Hari Kondabolu released a documentary called The Problem With Apu that put forth the idea that the convenience store owner is shown with negative racial stereotypes. Actor Hank Azaria, who voices Apu and won an Emmy for his performance, responded by saying the situation was "upsetting" and that the documentary made some good points.

A scene in Sunday night's episode, "No Good Read Goes Unpunished," shows Marge and Lisa trying to make a book, "The Princess in the Garden," inoffensive to people in 2018. In a fourth wall-breaking moment, Lisa turns to the camera and says, "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?"

The camera then moves to show a picture of Apu on Lisa's bedside table with the line "Don't have a cow" written on it." Then Marge chimes in with, "Some things will be dealt with at a later date." Lisa responds, "If at all." You can watch the full scene in the embed above.

This didn't go over so smoothly, something that executive producer Al Jean predicted would happen. Some viewers said it was a tone deaf response by the writers, one of whom was Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Jean defended his show in a series of tweets. He also thanked the fans who spoke positively about the episode and re-tweeted some messages of support, including one that said this matter is a "non-issue."

You can see screencaps of these exchanges below.

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Kondabolu, the director of "The Problem With Apu," also responded. He said it's "sad" what The Simpsons did with the episode, suggesting the writers went down that path merely to get ratings.

The Simpsons, which is one of the longest running shows on TV, is currently in its 29th season. New episodes air Sunday nights on Fox.

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XenomorphAlien

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In the words of Professor Farnsworth:

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

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James_xeno

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Edited By James_xeno

ROFLMAO at all the nonsensical butthurt at the truth! So great.

And the ones "just" complaining about the tone and all.. Lol Kind of to be expected when you have people pompously run around like rabid attack dogs, hysterically hyperboling about every little perceived microscopic non-issue or slight able to be detected or construed as such. When you treat people like shit and talk down to them, right or wrong, they tend not to be very friendly in return... or receptive.

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DudeBroPartyYo

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I feel sad for kids growing up post 2010 or so. Everything is so f$#*$#*g sanitized just to fit the agenda on some crusade thats trying to fix things in the world that do not need fixing.

Its like someone is trying to create so utopia thats perfect in every sense and everyone must have same ideals, beliefs or opinions. It will never happen and it should not happen. Its not natural.

Stop getting offended about everything, especially things that have nothing to do with you directly. You dont like something, move the f*&^ on and enjoy something else instead of complaining about something you dont like.

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Blk_Mage_Ctype

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Edited By Blk_Mage_Ctype

I swear, it seems like these days folks have nothing better to do than to look for things to be offended by and then take to the internet and stir up drama over it. The Simpsons is an animated comedy sitcom which has never been known for it's accurate portrayal of anyone, including real-life celebrities who have made cameo appearances on the show, ergo it makes absolutely no sense to call issue with how anyone is portrayed in the show, but obviously that won't stop folks with nothing better to do from going on a crusade against the social injustice that is Apu's intentionally exaggerated stereotypical character. Pathetic.

You'd think that the world has enough legitimate issues to combat for folks to busy themselves with, but then again, real issues require more work than complaining about something on the internet and demanding that changes be made (bonus points if said complaints/demands are directly at easy targets who will easily submit without much of a fuss) so that the lazy or otherwise cowardly people of the world can at least pretend that they're doing something meaningful with their lives.

Thankfully, it appears that the writers of The Simpsons are having none of it, as I hope that more content creators will do rather than relinquishing their freedom of expression for a group of fascists who seek to force conformity to their own warped ideals under some misguided crusade against every arbitrary instance of social injustice they perceive or selfish personal quest to boost their self-esteem by pretending that they're somehow changing the world for the better through forced mass media censorship.

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DudeBroPartyYo

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@Blk_Mage_Ctype: Absolutely on point. I am so glad i grew up in the 90's and trough early 2000's haha

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Atzenkiller

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Looks like the Simpsons are finally coming to an end. The most boring and mundane "comedy" show there is and still people find some fault in it. Has there been no outrage yet because the yellow skin color of the Simpsons mocks the Chinese?

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SodApOpPIMPski0

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whats the outrage? isnt commonplace for people of India decent to own convenient stores?

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Fud_Sang

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He's a fact for all you haters. Apu's role in the Simpsons was never racially appropriate. But they did it decades ago when less flew as far as TV content was concerned. That they didn't change him to be more politically correct is statement itself. They didn't do it 20 years ago and they shouldn't do it now. In fact, Simpsons of old would have responded to this nonsense by making one episode where Apu loses job and becomes a cab driver just to drive the point. They didn't get where they are by conforming. It was never racially sensitive and it shouldn't be now. Certainly not because some convenience store owners are tired of being called "Apu". GROW A PAIR PEOPLE THAT SHOW HAS DEPICTED FAR WORSE where racism is concerned.

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tnielsen2010

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THANK YOU, Gamespot, for reporting this with the facts and keeping your opinion out of it. IGN could learn a thing or two from you because their article covering this topic is filled to the brim with liberal talking points and one-sidedness without being labeled as an opinion piece.

You keep the politics out of your content, and that's the way it should be. Will be coming to this website more and more often as IGN continues to show they have a clear agenda.

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Shanesays5

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@tnielsen2010: I completely agree with you

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tnielsen2010

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@shanesays5: It's getting rough over there. They are still unrivaled in the amount of content they cover and features they offer...but they also have more money to work with. Gamespot sticks to the facts, though, and that's ultimately what I'm looking for.

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Corsaro

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...On to the next thing to b*tch and complain about

- butthurt people

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lionheartssj1

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Moral north will continue changing so long as people are in charge of defining it. That being said, I'm glad the show runners didn't cave and take out Apu or something like that.

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Divisionbell

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Now that is exactly the excellent response I was hoping for from them.

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gamingdevil800

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Next people will be asking South Park to be less offensive lol.

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RossRichard

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The problem is all these corporations and governments are letting .01% of the population control what everyone can say and do.

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Kyrylo

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I don't get. Simpsons' whole cartoon is only about stereotypes. Why it's suddenly a problem? Should they just remove all minorities from it? It would be only more offensive. That one cartoon, that more or less treats everyone equally gets a flag for it.

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Royas

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Edited By Royas

@Kyrylo: A good point. The show has a fat, donut eating police chief, an evil corporate oligarch, dumb hillbillies with no teeth, a brainy, socially inappropriate nerd that gets beaten by bullies, mean girls, pretty much all the pop culture stereotypes are here. Even the drunken, bad-tempered Scottish man. Given that I'm Scottish-American, should I be taking offense at Willie the Groundskeeper, or should I just continue to laugh at his antics?

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Divisionbell

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@Kyrylo: exactly. Apparently the entire point of the characters was completely lost on a few people and now we have an uproar.

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WARLOCK234

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I swear people will get upset about anything. If I saw a stereotype of an American in a foreign TV show or movie (of which I'm sure there are plenty) I would find it hilarious.

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James_xeno

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@WARLOCK234:

Yup.. this.. I wish the irony wasn't lost on so many, that these are the very same people who never seem able to STFU about how "evil white het males" are basically the scum of the earth. Or the fact that they themselves are made up of mostly upper-to-upper middle class white children and adult-children who probably still live at home.

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Proxima1025

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Oh look a certain cretinous demographic judging yesterday by the perpetually offended today's PC culture....AGAIN!

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Redblaze27

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Everyone on The Simpson is a stereotype of some culture or group.

The alter or remove Apu over this will destroy the show with the floodgates it opens.

Its better for the show to die than to alter Apu.

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LJ40

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Edited By LJ40

@Redblaze27: The funny thing is, they could unofficially retire Apu and absolutely no one would notice, because they have LITERALLY eleventy krajillion characters to choose from.

Remove Apu->Zero actual change.

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Redblaze27

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@lj40: He's too notable though for that to work.

This show needed to end over a decade ago.

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LJ40

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@Redblaze27: No one is too notable to be removed from this show, barring the 5 Simpsons.

Seriously, remove Flanders, Burns, or Krusty without saying anything. It would take 2 full seasons for anyone to even notice.

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Redblaze27

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@lj40: Mostly because the people that care haven't been watching it for years.

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LJ40

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@Redblaze27: Correct. Which proves my point.

Thank you.

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ASneakyPoptart

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Edited By ASneakyPoptart

I haven't watched The Simpsons in years as I don't find it that funny, but I'm glad they stuck to their guns on this one. What a non-issue this whole thing is. It'll all blow over in a week and people will find something else to get offended by.

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mcnichoj

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"Congratulations to the Simpsons for being talked about & being seen as relevant again."

Says the guy who was only talked about and relevant for crying about a character on The Simpsons.

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nsignific

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Edited By nsignific

@mcnichoj: Yeah, that made me want to punch him in the face. Not literally obviously, I just wish he'd be able to see how fucking ironic his statement was.

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ToadstoolPeach

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I think it's way out of line to compare Apu running a convenience store with blackface.

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KaptenHaddock

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"... everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic, and you have to point it all out to everyone all the time."

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BDRTFM

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I thought politcal correctness was no longer a thing? And what is so offensive about Apu? I know a number of Indian folk who love Apu. I'm wondering how many of the people angry about the character actually watch the show? Probably close to none of them. Apu is the least offensive character on the show. He's certainly one of the most caring, responsible people on the show. All the more offensive characters are white. A white cop who looks like a pig. A white stoner who drives a school bus wasted. An overweight loner comic book guy. A clown who is into pretty much every nefarious thing that exists. The Mayor. The Principal. Pretty much everyone except Apu is offensive in some way. I must be missing something. Is he offensive simply for being portrayed as a non-White?

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nsignific

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@bdrtfm: Wow, I envy you :) You were able to somehow miss the shitfest of political correctness resurgence over the past what 5 years now already.

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BDRTFM

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Edited By BDRTFM

@nsignific: It was meant as a joke, Dude so relax. People said Trump was elected because they were tired of political correctness and that PC has been thrown out since he took office. Sorry I didn't explain the sarcasm in clearer terms. I assumed people would get that PC in gender and race has been way overblown as, you seem to do and that therefore would see the sarcasm in what I said. Especially in what I said afterward. I really have to start putting #sarcasm after a comment because there is always one, or in this case, 11 people who can't grasp simple sarcasm.

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mcnichoj

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@bdrtfm: I thought politcal correctness was no longer a thing?
Can you open a portal to whatever dimension you live in? I would love to live a day where everything wasn't about race and gender.

12 • 
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BDRTFM

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@mcnichoj: See above.

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drysprocket

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A perfect example of how we got a monster as our president. Do you have a right to be offended? Sure- now change the channel. I now blame the people who whine over stuff like this just as much as actual Trump voters. We're so effed.

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deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

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@drysprocket: Quit your crying, you little bitch.

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Gord0nD

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@drysprocket: lol, wow. WOW....So Apu caused Donald Trump?......you should write for the show man. this is good stuff.

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OrgeLambart

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they were danged if they did, danged if they didn't.. How do you go in an alter a character you've established for so long.. heck Apu isn't even offensive, he's a pillar of the community, has a love family, seems to be a great father,... because he owns a convenience store that means he's a stereotype.. Come on man, he's one of the few Simpsons characters that aren't a complete and utter failure/scumbag.. meh.. common sense and being offended you know..

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deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

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I have more respect for everyone involved with The Simpsons now. Their response to this whole thing is perfect. I’m so sick of this new offended society we’ve become.

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P00DGE

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Lets be real, the Simpsons has been "going downhill" for quite a while BEFORE this (in response to one of those twitter replies). With the exception of the brief magic of the Simpsons Movie, the show hasn't been good for over 15 years now.

But comedy is supposed to be offensive. Why should a show making fun of people apologize for making fun of people?

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redhedjack

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I've never seen the show use Apu being a convenience store owner as an excuse to ridicule or demean the character.

Hell, if anything, you'd think they'd be more upset about Chief Wiggum being a fat cop or Ralph being retarded.

Also, it's just a cartoon. Chill the **** out, people.

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OrgeLambart

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@redhedjack: he's one of the few good characters on the show,, I don't recall a time when Apu was represented in a bad way.. He's a successful business owner, a great father and Husband.. Seems like a whole lot of crap about nothing..

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SoNin360

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Outrage culture at its finest...

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NonEdibleCheese

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I'm waiting for the Scottish, Jewish, and Italian communities to get upset about Willie, Krusty, and Luigi. I imagine I'll be waiting for eternity, since apparently the only stereotypes we can rage over is those concerning non-white cultures.

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