Earlier this week, an episode of The Simpsons attempted to address a controversy surrounding their Apu character, with many viewers being upset that an Indian character has been represented as little more than a stereotype for almost 30 years.
Jean posted his statement on Twitter, thanking those who have responded positively and negatively to the controversial episode.
"I truly appreciate all responses pro and con", Jean wrote. "Will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right", The Simpsons showrunner said via Twitter.
Jean's tweet, and his follow up responses to fans, seem to echo the episode's suggestion that the issue might be addressed later. Marge realizes the book is more racist and offensive than she remembered and attempts to edit it as she reads. Others blasted it everything from toothless to callous to dismissive, with particular criticism leveled at the choice to have Lisa - the show's most compassionate, liberal voice - expressing a "What can you do?" sentiment. Lisa replies, "It is hard to say, something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" The scene also included a shot of Lisa's nightstand, which featured a picture of Apu, making the intended message much more direct.
"Some things will be dealt with at a later date", adds Marge. But a comedian who helped spark a conversation about the character calls the show's response "sad" and attacked the show on Twitter for reducing a discussion about racism to political correctness. Man, I really loved this show.
Up until Friday, however, Jean continued to defend the episode, saying it "could be unpopular but still be right" and equating the entire debate to a "free speech issue".
Whether the show's response was handled well is a matter of opinion, but to chase a more "popular" resolution after upsetting fans is, arguably, the problem with modern day Simpsons in a nutshell.
Responded Jean, bringing up the Kondabolu documentary: "The Problem With Apu got a 4.6 on imdb". Firstly, having a non-Indian actor like Hank Azaria do an Indian accent for the character is similar to a white person acting in blackface. Secondly, making Apu such a prominent negative stereotype about Indian people opened up many Indian people to slurs and ridicule.
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