It’s Friday afternoon and I’m tired so let’s end on a lighter note. Long-running character Apu is going to be written out of the Simpsons forever. There has been controversy about the character, who speaks in a stereotypical Indian accent, for several years. Earlier this year producer Adi Shankar launched a spec script competition looking to somehow subvert or possibly put an end to the character. Shankar doesn’t work on the Simpsons but was hoping that if the idea caught on and the spec script was good enough, maybe the show would embrace the idea and produce it. But today Shankar told Indie Wire that he has heard the Simpsons plans to simply drop the character without much fanfare:
Shankar’s primary hope was that Fox would produce the script as an episode of “The Simpsons,” but now that he has found what he calls the “perfect script” and announces the winner of his contest, he told IndieWire that he has heard from people who work for the show that “The Simpsons” is eliminating the character.
“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” said Shankar in an interview with IndieWire. “They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”
Shankar clarified that he got this news from two people who work for “The Simpsons” and a third source who works directly with creator Matt Groening.
In fact, it sounds like the show has already all but dropped Apu. One of the show’s writers told Vanity Fair that Apu had, “barely had a line in the past three seasons.”
I was never a devoted Simpsons fan but I guess I would say I thought Apu was as funny as the rest of the show. But it doesn’t really surprise me that this is now considered offensive rather than funny if only because that’s the trendline with everything these days. Quite a few top comedians have talked about political correctness and how it is killing comedy. Apu is just another casualty.
The Simpsons had attempted to address this in its own satirical way. Here’s an Entertainment Tonight Canada report from April of this year. As you’ll see, the gag in this episode was to have Lisa suggest people should lighten up but that apparently didn’t win over any critics of the character.