It’s been a highly turbulent few days for one of The Simpsons‘ most loved characters, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. The charismatic owner of Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart, who also happens to be Indian, has been voiced by actor Hank Azaria (Ray Donovan) since the show first aired way back in 1989. But now it appears his time on the show might be coming to an end.
Speaking with IndieWire recently, producer Adi Shankar mentioned that despite him trying to launch a campaign get a proper send off for Apu, it’s unlikely to materialise. Shankar invited participants to crowdsource a script that manages to write him out cleverly, while satisfying the audience.
“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 about his hopeful efforts,
“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.”
Apu has been a highly controversial character as of late and it seems the pressure has finally become too much for Simpsons big wigs. Many people, unsurprisingly, are not happy about the character being swept under the carpet. Not least Hari Kondabolu, a comedian who in December released a documentary entitled ‘The Problem with Apu’.
Agreed. There are so many ways to make Apu work without getting rid of him. If true, this sucks. https://t.co/czBDIvaTV0
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) October 26, 2018
It seems that the lack of effort from producers here is what’s irking people the most. Apu is a character with a rich backstory (he has a doctorate in Computer Science), along with a large and vibrant family who consistently feature on the show. Surely a storyline could have been written for him that saw him achieve bigger and brighter things, rather than just getting rid of him altogether.
This is just speculation however, and it looks like it may not be 100% solid information. The ‘producer’ Adi Shankar who first broke the story, is actually a producer for the show Castlevania – and apparently he has little to do with The Simpsons. Here’s a recent tweet from Al Jean (Simpsons exec producer) claiming the news about Apu to be unfounded.
I wish you well too. Let’s work towards common ground. Ignoring only fans the flames. The world is polarized & getting more so, and the onus is on us to bring people together. Engage in a constructive way and this matter will go to bed. I see you, now I’m asking you to see me.
— Adi Shankar (@adishankarbrand) October 29, 2018
Notice here that he doesn’t deny anything Adi has said, however, he just claims that he doesn’t speak for The Simpsons. Does this mean Apu’s fate is well and truly sealed? It would certainly strike a blow for the minority representation in TV argument, but perhaps the overplayed stereotypes have just become too much to deal with. Whatever happens we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the story.