The Simpsons has been on the air for almost 30 years. It’s still a beloved series with a huge fan base. Yet, Apu is a problematic character that needs to be addressed. Comedian Hari Kondabolu first addressed his concerns with the character of Apu with a segment he produced for W. Kamau Bell’s show Totally Biased. It detailed the Indian American’s issue with the character of Apu. In 2017, Kondabolu took his argument to the next level and produced a short documentary called The Problem With Apu. The doc, which airs on TruTV, outlines why Apu is a problem for the Indian American community.
Kondabolu talks with several successful South Asian American celebrities like Aziz Ansari and Mindy Kaling. Those actors have had the opportunity to play three-dimensional characters that are not just an amalgamation of Indian stereotypes. And while the landscape may be changing and better roles are now cropping up for South Asian actors, Apu on The Simpsons is stuck in the past and continues to promote racist stereotypes.
Perhaps it is time for a change? We wouldn't accept these stereotypes on TV today if they surrounded an African American or gay character. The portrayal of Apu goes past the dark humor for which The Simpsons is known.