After a campaign accusing “The Simpsons” of racism, the show finally addressed the accusations in Sunday’s episode, except not everyone on the left was laughing.
The controversy stems from comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary “The Problem With Apu,” from November that claims that the show’s depiction of character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon strengthens negative stereotypes against Indian-Americans.
“Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect… What can you do?” pic.twitter.com/Bj7qE2FXWN
— Soham (@soham_burger) April 9, 2018
In the new episode, Marge and Lisa Simpson have a conversation about how to make a children’s book inoffensive to critics in 2018, with Lisa noting the princess is “cis-gender.”
“Well what am I supposed to do?” Marge asked.
“It’s hard to say. Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Lisa said before looking over at a framed photo of Apu that has the message “Don’t have a cow” written over it.
“Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” Marge responded.
“If at all,” Lisa said, ending the scene.
Social media users immediately responded to the episode, entitled “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” with Kondabolu calling the response “sad” in a series of tweets.
“Wow. ‘Politically Incorrect?’ That’s the takeaway from my movie & the discussion it sparked? Man, I really loved this show. This is sad,” read his first tweet. “In ‘The Problem with Apu,’ I used Apu & The Simpsons as an entry point into a larger conversation about the representation of marginalized groups & why this is important. The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress,” he added.
Comedian and CNN host W. Kamau Bell said the response was “ridiculous” and declared the show dead.
I think the fact that they put this “argument” in the mouth of Lisa’s character, the character who usually champions the underdogs and is supposed to be the most thoughtful and liberal, is what makes this the most ridiculous (as in worthy of ridicule) and toothless response.
— Wakanda Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) April 9, 2018
The show’s creators sensed the episode would spark controversy. “New Simpsons in five minutes. Twitter explosion in act three,” showrunner and writer Al Jean tweeted Saturday and retweeted fans offering support.
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