3 thoughts on “In Bob We Trust – APU TRILOGY: PART I (The Simpsons)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I like Apu. He is just great. Instead of grieving about his computer scientist career when immigrating to the USA he has fought through life and got a paid job, AND managing a ton of children on top of that.
    You can say whatever you want that he is misrepresented but I think that he is the best representation for all highly-educated immigrants that cannot get a job in their profession, Indian descent or not.

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  2. Dwarvenhobble (@Dwavenhobble) says:

    I’m a fan of Bob’s work but also based on this episode a”Garbage person” here who does believe in trying to improve “Ethics in games journalism” and if Bob or whoever bothers with this stuff hasn’t stopped reading there or started to tell me to “Educate myself” and does have an open mind let me say something and maybe just maybe the self proclaimed “Woke” people who think they know it all could learn a little something too.

    The Problem with Apu has kind of spun from a film looking at it to well a hashtag like movement likely pressuring The makers of the Simpsons and or Fox in one for or another. The Simpsons present show runners, likely feeling the pressure because well they don’t want to feel like bad people, felt the need to respond because they sincerely don’t want to be seen as hurting people.

    The response with Lisa saying it as the show runners very much was “well what do you expect us to do?”. Apu is an established character. He has an established accent and history to him in the show. The solutions presented are pretty radically change Apu’s established history or write him out entirely at this stage to fix it.

    The main problem being the people campaigning about Apu being problematic don’t know what they want. The problem with Apu wanted a discussion about the character to be had. The people who also likely never watched the Problem wit Apu but got a summary like “Apu is a stereotype, his voice actor is a white man so they’re stealing the job from an Indian american and so it’s all problematic” from one of their social media feed curators (so Salon, Polygon or something connected to the Vox Media empire somehow). They don’t know what they want there isn’t a specific call other than “This is problematic change it”. The issue is the angry mob is angry and act irrationally. Apu is no longer the problem. Them not getting appeasement is and as has been seen before the if the mob isn’t getting blood it’s going to stay around. The moment something is done to Apu then the Mob will pick something else that needs changing because “Hey we’re here anyway right might as well claim this slice of land in this ‘Culture War’ and claim it for ‘The right side of history’ now”. E.G. Dr who is now a woman so that renewed the cries to make James Bond a Woman and the newer cries of joy at even the potential of Woman Indianna Jones (She’s called Lara Croft or Sydney Fox they both exist).

    About the only thing I can point to as close to the Simpsons is actually what they did in the show Bones. Dr Arastoo Vaziri being a character who starts with a pretty stereotypical accent but intentionally or not they changed it and wrote in a story related to the change to explain it. Arastoo Vaziri is mentioned to be a devout Muslim and the reason for his accent was to avoid prejudice from the team by pretending to essentially be a stereotype of some-one from a culture where such beliefs are common and accepted in Scientific communities. He believed being an accomplished scientist but also highly religious would have got him prejudice from his American colleges unless they perceived him as that stereotype of a person from a foreign country. I mean they could do similar to Apu but it would very much require re-writing some of the stuff they’ve presented as his history etc.

    Thank you for those that bothered to read this.
    Also yes you can use this in a future episode Bob if you wish to I dunno present me as one of those Trash Humans or if you just want to point to this comment for pointing out the potential solution to how they could now change Apu based on what Bones did as a show.

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  3. TellingItLikeItIs says:

    Bob, I feel like you’re prematurely made up your mind, so to speak, regarding this most recent Simpsons episode.

    While Apu is an ongoing issue (As is Fat Tony, Luigi, Flanders, Smithers, Patty, etc etc) the Simpsons has made several, failed, attempts to work with the character.

    This most recent adaption was a very much 4th wall breaking acknowledgement of the audience. It’s not “Firing back” against the movie, it’s trying to answer concerns. It’s taking a step up and acknowledging issues that the writers had previously suppressed or denied and, in my opinion, that’s an important step.

    They state that they accept Apu is a problem, and that they’re already looking for ways to broach the issue. Or at least that was my takeaway from it. So many of the Simpsons’ caricatures would never have been created in today’s social paradigm, but now that they’re here, working around them, reworking them or removing them runs the risk of fundamentally changing the show.

    Now that, ultimately, is where I think sides truly divide: the writers, producers and fans may agree that there is a problem, but they see that problem as something that can be gradually addressed and remedied over the coming years. Conversely, those who strongly identify with concerns raised in talking-heads like The Problem With Apu believe that the show should be changed now. Fundamental change or otherwise; if the simpsons needs to be uprooted and replanted just to cut off the moldy roots, so be it.

    It’s tough to say whether either side is right, but neither side is entirely wrong. Those who work on the show have a right to defend the work they’re doing and the roadmap they see to address social concerns, while those who those same concerns directly effect have a right to want to see issues remedied now, rather than in whatever timeframe the writers believe is acceptable.

    I, for one, don’t see any easy way to change Apu without changing the entire cast, even the thematic of the simpsons as a whole. Exaggerated stereotypes, political antics and satire of social issues have always been core values of the simpsons.

    But with that in mind…. Maybe it really is time to change the show completely, to take it in another direction. As a Prime-Time family “Stick it on in the background while the kids eat dinner” kind of show, maybe the Simpsons has outlived its welcome?
    Maybe it should focus on changing itself to be the intellectual satire it proclaims itself to be, and if that is the case it needs to address concerns, such as Apu, sooner rather than later.

    If not, if it is to remain a nonsense show with wild antics for the mild amusement of suburban families then characters like Apu could be essentially cut completely and the focus shifted from socio-political issues and entirely onto “What adventure will the idiot family get up to this week?”

    I hope we don’t see the latter, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It is difficult, these days, to be satirical without being seen as insensitive, whether on cultural, racial, political or ethical issues. In any case, I’ve drifted from the point at hand;

    For what it’s worth, I genuinely feel this most recent episode wasn’t a returned blow in some tennis match of differing opinions, but rather a genuinely honest attempt to concede mistakes of the past and agree with those who suggest the show has some major issues that need to be addressed; I think this is the Simpsons attempting to take the first step to address them.

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