The Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria has made a revelation that could begin a chain of events, and possibly change the history of the popular FOX animated series.
A New Approach To Apu?
On April 24, the actor stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for a conversation. During his time on the show, Azaria said that he made a decision about lending his voice to supporting cast member Apu Nahasappemapetilon in the show.
He told Colbert that his eyes have been opened regarding the controversy and revealed that he wanted to see The Simpsons hire writers of Indian and South Asian descent. The actor even added that he would be willing to step aside from voicing the character and help transition Apu into a new chapter.
Azaria's statement deeply divided The Simpsons fans. Twitter users stated that Azaria did nothing wrong and only talked about how political correctness is ruining culture.
Several fans of Indian decent even indicated that they are not offended by Apu. Others praised Azaria for showing empathy for people of South Asian descent while some believed that having South Asian writers in the show's writing room might not help.
@HankAzaria you did nothing wrong. People can be angry about your character, but it’s a comedy character. How far back do we have to go to be PC? Comedy can bring attention to issues without being offensive. It’s called satire.— Matt Cobb (@LostSheep78) April 25, 2018
I’m indian, and cool with Apu. No need to make a big deal out of it. Let’s move on... — Pavan Mediratta (@PavanMediratta) April 25, 2018
The Problem With Apu
The controversy surrounding Apu started in 2017 when comedian Hari Kondabolu had released the documentary The Problem with Apu. The film blasted The Simpsons for promoting negative South Asian stereotypes.
The show tried to address the problem in an episode called “No Good Read Goes Unpunished.” However, the Hollywood Reporter wrote that the show received further condemnation from fans for not adequately addressing the controversy.
Veteran showrunner Al Jean told his followers that the show would do a better job addressing fans’ concerns about Apu.
Other ‘The Simpsons’ News
In addition to Azaria’s reveal to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the show found itself in the news because of other stories. Before the long-lost O.J. Simpson interview was aired, Jean had told The Simpsons fans on Twitter that the show almost cast the controversial public figure for a part on the show.
Also, Merriam-Webster added the word "embiggen" to its dictionary. It defines the word as “to make bigger or more expansive.” The Simpsons introduced the word to the pop culture lexicon in a 1996 episode.