The Simpsons has responded to the Apu controversy, and they’ve made viewers even angrier.
On Sunday, a new episode entitled “No Good Read Goes Unpunished” addressed the recent criticism of character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, an Indian immigrant and neighbor to the Simpsons family, whose problematic characterization was the subject of comedian Hari Kondablou’s documentary, The Problem With Apu. Kondablou argued that Apu represented a troubling caricature of South Asian identity, helping to create a negative view of Asians.
In the latest episode of the long-running cartoon show, Marge reads Lisa her “favourite book ever,” which features racial stereotyping. Marge is troubled by the references, and replaces them with more politically-correct storylines, adding a cisgender protagonist.
However, Lisa tells her mother that rewriting the tale is pointless. “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Lisa says. The camera then pans to a framed photo of Apu, signed with the words “Don’t have a cow. Apu.”
“Some things will be dealt with a later date,” Marge replies. “If at all,” Lisa says. The pair then both look into the camera lens.
The show’s response to the controversy has been received negatively by viewers, who have branded the episode “toothless” on social media. Viewers also criticized the decision to use Lisa, “the most thoughtful and liberal” character, to deliver the response.
Kondablou also took to Twitter to criticize the new episode, writing, “The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress.”