Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

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Updated Oct 29, 2018 at 01:47PM EDT by Don.

Added Nov 14, 2017 at 12:18PM EST by Matt.

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About

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is the fictional owner of the Kwik-E-Mart on the animated sitcom The Simpsons. One of the few Indian characters on the show, the character has been the source of critical praise and critique for voice actor Hank Azaria's portrayal of Apu, particularly his accent. In later years, the character has been the subject of much debate over perceived cultural insensitivity.

Origin

On February 25th, 1990, the Fox television network aired the eighth episode of the first season of The Simpsons, "The Telltale Head." In the episode, Bart makes his first on-air trip to the Kwik-E-Mart, introducing audiences to Apu Nahasapeemapetilon the convenient store owner (shown below).[1]



Spread

Since 1990, Apu has appeared in more than 100 episodes of the series. His character has been the focus of various topics, including immigration,[2] arranged marriage[3] and vegetarianism.[4] Hank Azaria, the voice actor behind Apu, has won three prime-time Emmy awards for his portrayal.[5]

The Problem With Apu

In 2007, Azaria did an interview on Paltalk,[6] where he described the creation of Apu. In the talk (shown below, left), Azaria jokingly said that when originally reading for the part, producers said, "Can you do an Indian voice and how offensive can you make it?" He then refers to him as a "stereotype."

In 2012, comedian and writer Hari Kondubolu performed a segment on the television series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell about Apu, specifically the racial implications of the character (shown below, right).[7] He described Apu and voice actor Hank Azaria as "a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father."



In April 2016, a feature-length documentary starring Kondubolue about Apu and the character's cultural significance was green-lit. The documentary talks to other Indian-American stars, Simpsons writers and viewers their thoughts on Apu and how his voice has created an unfavorable stereotype of Indians in America.

On July 27th, 2017, TruTV,[8] which is scheduled to air the documentary on November 19th, 2017, released the trailer for the film. As of November 2017, it has been viewed more than 120,000 times.

Several news outlets have covered the film's release, including The New York Times,[9] The AV Club,[10] NBC[11] and more.



Show Removal Rumors

On October 26th, 2018, Indiewiri published an interview with television producer Adi Shankar, who claimed that The Simpsons would be removing the Apu Nahasapeemapetilon character.

"I got some disheartening news back, that I've verified from multiple sources now: They're going to drop the Apu character altogether. 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."

On October 28th, The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean tweeted[12] that Shankar was "not a producer on the Simpsons" and "does not speak for our show" (shown below).


Al Jean @AlJean Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.

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