What Did Matt Groening Have to Say About the Problem With Apu?

Image courtesy San Diego Comic-Con 2017

There’s been yet another development in the ongoing Simpsons/Hari Kondabolu conflict recently, and this one is quite a big one.

Ahead of The Simpsons breaking an all-time TV record of having the most episodes of a scripted, primetime series (breaking Gunsmoke‘s previous record of some 635 episodes), creator and Simpsons head-honcho Matt Groening gave his views on the Problem with Apu.

Groening was asked by USA Today if he’d had any thoughts on the whole situation, which accuses Apu Nahasapeemapetilon as being a racist caricature of Indian-Americans.

The artist responded by saying;

“I’m proud of what we do on the show.

And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.”

Whilst these comments don’t help clarify what The Simpsons will do to rectify the perceived wrongs of the show, it’s fairly clear what Groening’s view on the subject is.

This is just the latest in what is quickly becoming an ongoing saga of woes and drama for ‘America’s Favourite Family’.

Starting last year with comedian Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu, which raised the points that Apu was a negative portrayal of an Indian-American that opened real Indian-Americans up to ridicule and even abuse. Furthermore, whilst Apu was supposed to hail from Indian himself, he has been voiced by Hank Azaria, who is certainly not an Indian voice actor. The result has been tantamount to Azaria doing ‘blackface’.

To Azaria’s credit, however, he has recently mentioned how he would be willing to step aside and seemed genuinely hurt that his portrayal could open up a portion of the fanbase to such abuse.

The Simpsons directly addressed the issues in a recent episode which only drew more ire from fans, and was seen by higher-ups as not being enough. To that effect, showrunner Al Jean promised that this would not be the last we’d hear on the subject and that whatever needs to be done to make things right will be done.

To finish off the point, Groening added in his interview;

“We’ll let the show speak for itself.”

What this means is still up for debate, good or bad for the situation. Meanwhile, The Simpsons broke the previous TV record with their 636th episode. Forgive and Regret, and aired on Fox on 29th April.

-James, 04/05/2018


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