‘The Simpsons’ Finally Addressed The Apu Controversy — And Basically Reignited It Again

In November, criticism against The Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon reached a fever pitch when comedian Hari Kondabolu produced a documentary called The Problem With Apu, which endeavored to explore how the character perpetuates negative stereotypes against South Asian individuals.

Last night, The Simpsons attempted to address the Apu controversy in a new episode. Beforehand, showrunner Al Jean made it clear that he anticipated that the episode would rub some people the wrong way.

The episode, entitled “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” features Marge and Lisa indirectly discussing the controversy surrounding Apu. According to the episodic summary from The Hollywood Reporter:

In the scene in question, Marge has edited a new version of The Princess in the Garden, tailoring it to what would be acceptable and inoffensive in 2018. Marge reads the story to Lisa, but the new version is much shorter and lacking in an “emotional journey” for the central character. Both Marge and Lisa then make reference to Apu, with Lisa looking at a picture of the character and saying “something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

Twitter was decidedly unimpressed and unmoved by the totally toothless “discussion,” which was tantamount to an animated shrug.

People also found it unconvincing that Lisa, who is notorious for being the most liberal and open-minded character on the show, voiced the apathetic response.

Hari Kondabolu, the filmmaker behind the Apu documentary, tweeted that he was disappointed with the response from Simpsons writers.

However, considering the demographics of the writers’ room on The Simpsons (i.e., predominantly white dudes), people also weren’t terribly surprised.