(The Problem With (The Problem With (The Problem With Apu)))
April 9, 2018 12:24 PM Subscribe
'The Simpsons' To 'The Problem With Apu': Drop Dead — NPR's (and MeFi's Own) Linda Holmes on the show's ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ at Hari Kondabolu's criticism.
"It takes a lot of work to take the spirit and character out of a book, but now it's as inoffensive as a Sunday in Cincinnati," Marge announces. Marge has changed everything in the book so that nothing in it can bother anyone, which involves making the central character so perfect that, as Lisa instantly announces, "there's no point to the book." Marge asks what she's supposed to do.Kondabolu's reaction on Twitter:
This comparison is utterly dishonest, of course, for a multitude of reasons. Apu is not the central character of The Simpsons, and it's absurd to suggest that the fabric of the show will be unwound if he doesn't continue to be the same caricature he is. His existence at the periphery — his very flatness, and his definition as a bag of signifiers meant to scream "INDIAN!" is integral to what it means to write a racist stereotype. It's galling that writers will force a character to exist as funny scenery and then complain that they cannot change him without upsetting the emotional arc of the series.
I know: It's a cartoon. That is the easiest, silliest response to this debate. It's just a cartoon. It's just a comedy. Or, as the photo of Apu pointedly says, don't have a cow. But the show doesn't have this defense to call on, because it has accepted accolades for decades as a thoughtful, intelligent, satirical work that deserves to be taken seriously. It has accepted a Peabody Award, and a GLAAD Media Award. It has been praised and slobbered over and quoted and praised again, and to plead insignificance at this point is unavailing.
"Dealt with at a later date. If at all." In other words: We have heard how we have hurt people, and we honestly don't care.
Wow. “Politically Incorrect?” That’s the takeaway from my movie & the discussion it sparked? Man, I really loved this show. This is sad.
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.
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