Simpsons may not be ready to deal with the problem with Apu, but Hank Azaria, who has played the character for almost 30 years, he says. Comedy Hari Kondabolus documentary 2017 triggered a conversation about Kwik-E-Mart, an Indian man who talks with a great accent – and the speaker has given Azaria a lot to think about. Although the actor ultimately decided not to participate in the documentary himself, he has rumored on the subject at least since last winter ̵
"I've tried to express this before," Azaria said. "You know, the idea that someone was – young or old, past or present – was bullied or killed based on the Apu character, it just makes me sad. It was really not my intention; I wanted to spread laughter and joy with this character, and the thought that it was somehow pain and suffering that it was common to marginalize people is disturbing. Really. "
Earlier this month, the long-standing comedy tried to address the controversy – but stopped leaving some fans yet more frustrated. In the episode, Marge Lisa read an old book that had been written to be less problematic, but Lisa was unscathed. When Marge asked if there was a solution to this problem, Lisa broke the fourth wall: "It's hard to say. Something that began decades ago, applauded and uninterrupted, is now politically wrong. What can you do?" She said before She faced her nightstand table, where a framed photo of Apu was set. It was written with an old Simpsons caption: "No cow!"
Azaria told Colbert that he was not involved in writing or filming the episode and worked to refrain from it on Tuesday. "If someone came from that segment feels like they should light up or take a joke better or grow a thicker skin … It's really not the way I feel about it and it's definitely not the message I want to send them ", he said.
What does Azaria suggest then? "I've given this a lot of thought, really a lot of thought," the actor watched. "And as I say, my eyes have been opened. And I think the most important thing is that we have to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel and how they like this character – what their American experience of It has been. As you know, meaning "listening to voices" means inclusion in the author's room. "
Azaria said he did not want to see South Asian writers working on The Simpsons " in a token way, "but instead hope they could contribute and inform what new way Apu might create. He also wants them to express thoughts on how the character is expressed – even if it means going down the role itself. "I'm totally willing and happy to go aside or help the transition to something new," Azaria said. "I really hope that's what this case does. Just that's not just meaningful, but it just feels just the right thing to do to me."
Talking with V.F. Last year, Kondabolu proposed some actions for Apu, including giving him "a little upward mobility" or perhaps adding another character of South Asian descent to the show, someone whose socio-economic background differs from Apu's-perhaps saying a billionaire like Mr. Burns. Another option? Give Apu children a more prominent role in the series. "Get them to represent us," said Kondabolu. "Have writers who can write to that voice." It sounds like Azaria has come to that idea; Now it's up to the Fox comedy to follow.
This year's Winter Olympics will launch on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Photo: By Julian Finney / Getty Images.