Airdate: The Problem with Apu

Many readers will be familiar with the recent discussion about the portrayal of Apu in The Simpsons, much of it generated by the documentary, The Problem With Apu.

This screens next week on SBS VICELAND.

In this comedic documentary, The Problem with Apu, South Asian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu confronts his long-standing ‘nemesis’ – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – better known as the Indian convenience store owner on The Simpsons.

Kondabolu discusses how this controversial caricature was created, burrowed its way into the hearts and minds of Americans, and continues to exist – intact – nearly three decades later.

Tuesday, 16 October at 9.35pm on SBS VICELAND


  1. The Simpsons also has plenty of other characters of colour, including Dr Hibbert, Mrs Hibbert, Manjula, Mrs Nahasapeemapetilon, Janey, Karl, Lou, among others, all of whom are played by white folk. Should they also be recast for purposes of “authenticity”? Please. And what of all the young boys played by middle aged (perhaps now elderly) women?

    I cannot fathom the petty, misdirected indignation that has lead to this. Apu has been (mostly) a sympathetic character. The worst thing that the producers have done with his character is make him have an affair, and that had nothing to do with ethnic stereotyping. Unfortunately, the episode made light of a very serious social problem that would not have been tolerated had it involved the Simpson family themselves.

  2. So silly to single out one character out of all the years The Simpsons has satirised people from different countries and walks of life. But hey, that’s the current climate for ya.

  3. And yet Ranier Wolfcastle has no ‘champion’ for him…get over it, it’s a cartoon-next thing, angry folks will be complaining Tom Haverford (‘Parks ‘n Rec’) never references his Indian ancestry.

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