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The Simpsons Responds to Apu Criticism: "Don't Have a Cow"

And Twitter was not feeling it

Keisha Hatchett

The Simpsons has finally addressed the controversy surrounding one of its most iconic characters.

Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu criticized the show for perpetuating negative stereotypes of South Asians through Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, owner of the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store. The animated series responded to the criticism in Sunday night's episode, titled "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished," through Marge and Lisa who indirectly discussed the portrayal of Apu's character.

The episode saw Marge update the fictional book The Princess in the Garden to 2018's standards of what is acceptable and inoffensive. "It takes a lot of work to take the spirit and character out of a book," she explained to Lisa. "But now, it's as inoffensive as a sundae in Cincinnati."

The story centered on cisgender heroine Clara who, after Marge's edits, now fights for wild horse rescue and net neutrality in South America. Lisa observed that this new version of Clara has no flaws, thus making her an uninteresting character.

"Since she's already evolved, she doesn't really have an emotional journey to complete," Lisa said. "Kinda means there's no point to the book."

When asked by Marge what she's supposed to do about the sanitized version of the character, Lisa directly addressed the audience while taking a jab at PC culture. "It's hard to say," she said. "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect." The camera then focused on a picture of Apu on her nightstand which read, "Don't have a cow, Apu."

"What can you do?" Lisa added.

The segment didn't sit well with Kondabolu, who spoke out about the show's response to his documentary on Twitter. "In The Problem with Apu, I used Apu & The Simpsons as an entry point into a larger conversation about the representation of marginalized groups & why this is important. The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress," he wrote.

Others also took issue with the way the show handled the criticisms of Apu's portrayal. "That whole response is ugly, ugly, ugly, not to mention profoundly illogical and straw-man-slaying," wrote user Lisa Holmes.

Here's what the rest of Twitter had to say about the episode.

However, not everyone was up in arms over the show's response.

The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8/7c on Fox.

​Apu, The Simpsons

Apu, The Simpsons