The Solution To Apu

The recent kerfluffle about Apu thanks to Hari Kondabolu’s documentary, The Problem With Apu, has had some ups and downs; mostly downs. I’ve read a few articles and opinions on it – including praising the fact that Apu is actually, at least for a Simpson’s character, a nuanced and well-developed character as far as South Asian characters go. I’ve also read a lot that gripe about his representation and how it affects American culture – particularly how shitty we act in other countries (sometimes it seems like the people who can afford to travel are the worst kinds of people).

Hank Azaria, the voice of Apu, recently came out saying that he has no problem stepping aside from voicing Apu and would like to see actual South Asian writers coming into the writing room to give a more legitimate direction for Apu.

But changing something like could be a big issue or a lot of people, not jus the racists – anything with a solid enough fan base will receive backlash for making any kind of change, especially one as big as that.

Azaria said the phrase “I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside or help transition it into something new.

Well I think this is the perfect opportunity to do just that. And Simpson’s writers – here’s a free idea to try it out with:

Have Apu go in for surgery on his septum. I know two different people who had a deviated septum surgically repaired and it changed their voices.

So have Azaria voice Apu through the first half of the episode, go under the knife, and come out with a new Indian voice actor playing the role.

In the heart of Simpson throw-away gags, you could simply replace Azaria with a new voice actor and when Homer comes into the Kwik-E-Mart to buy something there’s just a new actor playing Apu. When Homer mentions his voice has changed have him simply say, “I recently had a deviated septum repaired and it has changed my voice. For the better, I think.”

You could even give a nod to how people were upset that Lisa was used as the voice of ‘Can’t change a racist caricature just because people are suddenly politically correct’ and have her in there at the time of the scene. As Homer walks out have her look at the audience (as if looking at Apu) and give a thumbs up and/or a wink.

You could even play it off as having Apu smile awkwardly and then look behind him as if trying to figure out who she was winking to.

That’s what I’d propose if I was in the writing room on the Simpsons, at least. Which by the way…I’m willing to do. 😉

~RCS

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