Simpsons writer Al Jean: Apu is staying, but will undergo changes
30 replies, posted
I posted this in the other appropriate thread, but I got through the entire article and it applies to the other controversy.
As far as the Apu controversy goes, cultural revisionism is a very difficult question, and I’m wondering if you could shed some light on your decision-making as far as keeping Apu on the show.
I apologize for anyone who was bullied because of Apu. I hate bullies. I was bullied, and if you’re a bully I’ll kick your ass, so certainly that was wrong. But as a writer, I always wanted to make Apu an original character—more noble, more hardworking, and more intelligent than the average Simpsons character. When we were doing Episode 4, there was a big joke that Reverend Lovejoy didn’t even know what religion he was, and Apu was just being this wonderful volunteer fireman, and there was an article in the Guardian recently by a South Asian writer who said that moment made him feel really proud. So I think there are a lot of things about Apu that have made South Asians very proud, and it’s a very complicated issue. But no one should be bullied because of him, and I’m very sorry about that.
Did you guys modify the character of Apu at all in the wake of the documentary?
It’s a work in progress. That’s all I can say.
I dont quite understand what people's problems with Apu as a character is exactly. The show doesn't portray him in a negative light from what i remember.
Someone wrote a self righteous documentary and got it released on Netflix, and apparently if you do that nowadays it means that you're right.
He's probably the most well adjusted character in the show, really.
Netflix should release a documentary on how awful modern Simpsons are, maybe then they'd cancel the show or undergo some changes.
The problem isn't really Apu. It's people who bully or intimidate or force their observations of Apu onto real people. But this isn't really just a Simpsons thing it's a problem with people.
But since you can't change people it's easier and more appropriate to change something everyone recognises to be more accurate and representational of Indian-Americans.
Honestly I kinda understand the discussion. When I was a kid people would just say Apu catchphrases to Indian kids, without any context or humour in an inherently offensive way. These are kids and I hope people grow out of it but let's be real, some people just don't stop being assholes.
He doesn't need changes he's fine the way he is
Not saying that I agree or that I don't, I don't really care but at least in my country I've seen a lot of people nickname people Apu in order to bully and mock them (mainly at school, if it weren't for Apu it would've had been something else anyway, oh well, bullies gonna bully).
The people who bully will find reasons to bully elsewhere. It's not because of Apu, it just so happens they found Apu first than anything else, like "hurr you shit on the streets here too?" or some stupid shit like that.
Well you could make this argument about the scottish groundskeeper, or the italian mafioso, or any number of ethnicities in the show. I remember the episode where you saw Danmark, and how we were flying around in windmills and all lived in places called 'Solvang'.
Apu is no more over the top in his stereotype than any one of those. Censoring him is pretty much saying that Indian-Americans must be coddled because they're not really part of the rest of us, and i think that's pretty fucking patronizing and frankly even more sad than kids being picked on.
That's what bothers me most about the whole thing, the entire show was built on stereotypes. Virtually every character is a stereotype in some way: Homer's boss is a sinister billionaire, boss's assistant is a kiss-ass, the mayor is corrupt to the core, the police are Barney Fife's (and Wiggum is Irish), Flanders are the overprotectice Christian family with sheltered kids, and several generic archetypes like the exchange student (a German stereotype), the Twins, the Rich Texan, the Sea Captain, the backwater hick, etc. The show was basically a melting pot of character stereotypes, and someone decided to sent a laser guided missile at one particular character that offended them.
Apu is offensive!
Meanwhile no one bats and eye at the character named "Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel"
I mean, to be fair, Cletus can sometimes be more of a poster-child than a stereotype...
The thing I see missing here is that there's a tangible difference between stereotypes when it comes to whether your jokes are punching up or punching down. At one time in history People of certain
European descent were treated in the very same way PoC were, there used to be cities in the United States where English wasn't the dominant language, but the subsequent homogenization of america
did away with that and the sentiment of "otherness" of these peoples. This isn't as easy if you're someone who has a darker skin tone and an accent, who will be still seen an as other and therefore
denigrated their entire lives.
Rich people, Christians, Southerners and white europeans can laugh at the jokes made about them because their assigned place in society is at the heart and not at the fringe, irish people are not seen
as "non whites" anymore. And while all of these people have traits that might make them distinct from the rest of the population and perhaps land them mockery, but they can still lean into being a
"generic white person." Someone like Apu can never do that, He can't hide their skin tone the way a catholic can not bring up their religion, or a southerner can downplay their accent. It's a false
See the problem is that Cletus is white (er, yellow, which is white in the simpsonsverse) , so it's perfectly fine to completely lambaste them, I guess
My problem with Apu is this: If he was that one dimensional Indian sales clerk and never had any time developing his character into something else, then yes, I would agree, Apu is racist. However, the show has gone on for 30 seasons. Some of the episodes in the seasons are about Apu. They're about explaining his history, how he came to America, what he values and the like. Additionally, while Apu is docile and subservant, he's not feeble. Infact, on many occasions, he stands as a voice of reason.
If you're going to look at the character based off of surface traits alone while ignoring how the character developed... Maybe the problem is you.
So they are changing the only character in the simpsons who remotely still resembled the moral values that made the old Simpson’s so good?
Let me guess, Apu is going to return as a transgender who is now randomly white(yellow) and sold the quikemart to stream fortnite for a living?
Maybe they should just cancel the simpsons already.
The point is that there's a wide variety of white/European characters represented on the show, while Apu is the only representation of Indian Americans on the show, and for a while, basically one of the only representations of Indians in mainstream media.
i cannot imagine a way where this doesn't end up with him being more stereotypical than before
iunno about you, but cletus seems more like one of those on the fringe of society than in the center benefiting. compare him to dr hibbert (who despite being black is very firmly in the center of society)
Apu: “They begged me to join their team! Begged me!”
Honestly, I think the only part about Apu that is Questionable is him being voiced by Hank Azaria doing an accent rather than an Indian actor with an authentic accent, but even then it's gone on for so long that it hardly matters now.
How is that any different to a Russian or a Ukrainian or whatever being voiced/acted by some American putting on a terrible accent?
Even that shit is questionable and jank as fuck IMO, especially considering there are a shitload of authentic, accented voice actors who don't get work because they're "Too Ethnic", so braindead casting agents cast the same ole' voice actors from California Land to do someone who is meant to have never left Minsk in their entire life. But, like I say, Apu was cast a long time ago, so it's whatever in his case.
An example I'll always bring up is Hitman 2, which went out of its way to cast authentic voice actors (even for its American levels) for the required local accents in foreign settings.
Yeah but that comes off the back of Hitman where they used the same 4 voice actors for every NPC, so they had two American men, an American woman, and a British woman.
Getting upset because the voice actor isn't the same race as the character they play is fucking ridiculous. I doubt an American voice actor of Indian descent who has never set foot in India would do as authentic an Indian accent as Hank Azaria, because neither of them are from India. Should Jack from Samurai Jack be voiced by a Japanese man instead of a black American? Should Timmy Turner be voiced by a 10 year old boy and not a 46 year old woman?
When picking a voice actor you should do it based on how good their performance is, nothing else. Hell with the Simpsons they only had like 10 voice actors when they started out so most of their voice actors play multiple roles.
Isn't that quite demographically sound?
I don't know how much of the Us population are indian-american exactly, but i don't imagine its that many.
I actually rewatched the first and second season recently and there's nothing wrong with Apu. In fact he's probably one of the less negative characters in the show, his only flaw is being a bit of a cheapskate but if anything that is related to him being a shop-keeper, not Indian.
I guess you can't avoid the lingering specter of blackface
I said exactly this in my post so I'm not sure what you're upset about.
This shit is all such fake ass outrage to try and make a dead show relevant again
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