For No Reason, Here’s Apu

I often defend the things I love in life because of how much I have learned from them. From cartoon characters, I have learned a great many things. For instance, I have learned that there exist people in this world whose hearts are so cold and devoid of joy, they seek only to extinguish that joy in others, no matter the cost.

That’s the only legitimate reason there could be to remove Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from The Simpsons. To crush joy and make people unhappy.

If you believe there is any other reason, you are wrong. Thank you; come again.

If Apu offends you, you are in the wrong. There is no righteous crusade in which you battle. You’re just wrong. You’ve allowed your oversensitivity to poison the world around you. You’re wrong, and you need to go sit in the corner and think about why people hate you.

Apu was one of the funniest, most complex and most brilliant stars in the Simpsons galaxy. And now we don’t get to see him anymore, because of you. You snuffed him out, for nothing. How dare you treat him like a reductive stereotype, when literal decades of the show have proven the opposite. How dare you act like Apu is misguided cultural appropriation. How dare you even utter those accursed buzzwords.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Read that last sentence again, and again, until it sinks into your tiny thickened skull.

I know about Ganesh because of Apu. I know about responsible (and non-annoying) vegetarianism because of Apu. I know about the hard road to U.S. citizenship because of Apu. Now, because of the real bigots, my teacher is being taken away. Because only real bigots would label my teacher a negative stereotype. Only real bigots, who’ve never conversed with a person of Indian descent in their lives.

I’ve lost count of how many times Apu and his family have made me laugh. Because like nearly every other character on The Simpsons, Apu isn’t a negative stereotype.

Apu is an affectionate exaggeration. 

Apu is never degraded or insulted for his race or his beliefs. Never. Ned Flanders is goofed on far more often as a caricature of a born-again Christian, and still, he remains wholly himself. My God, just marvel at how well Flanders and Apu play off each other, in this scene where Homer (the sole stereotype in the show who is derided for what he is, constantly, to comic effect, and no one ever complains*) smuggles drugs out of Canada. And this is from the 16th season!

(*except maybe Gavin MacInnes)

I don’t have the time or energy to link every scene that Apu made great or greater. Not for nothing is he often included in A-plots, while the titular kids get the B-plot. Apu was in the Be Sharps, Homer’s 1990s barbershop quartet. Apu owns the Kwik-E-Mart, which is not so much a stereotype as a mirror of American reality, and countless hilarious escapades have originated under its flickering florescent lights. Apu was as American as any of us. He loved us back. 

It hurts me deeply to see him go.

Look at his mustache. Look at it!!!

If your issues with Apu stem from his Caucasian voice actor, Hank Azaria, do us both a favor and punch yourself in the face. Hard. So I don’t have to. 

Hank Azaria is another Mel Blanc. The only vocal-actors that can compete with him are already on the same show. Azaria possesses not just a rubber voice, but timing you can set your watch by. Have you ever tried to impersonate Moe Syszlak, or Chief Wiggum, only to receive blank stares from your peers in return? That’s because Hank nails the delivery, not just the voice. He is a gift from the cartoon gods. Shame on anyone who makes him feel bad. He’s been doing knockout work since before a lot of you were even born. Shame. 

Ever see The Birdcage, with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane? Hank Azaria played a gay dude in that, perfectly. Did he have to actually be gay? No. That’s why it’s called “acting”. Hey, let me go you one better:

There are a handful of talentless assholes who have insinuated themselves to the “Star Wars” franchise, by adding gay or transgender characters to comics and novels based in that galaxy far, far away. For this, they receive back-pats galore and accolades from cunty blogs and sellout, quasi-legit news sites like Comic Book Resources.

Even though they’re white heterosexual males, like Chuck Wendig (despite appearances to the contrary).

So to recap: a gay/transgendered/non-white character inserted into a space-fantasy franchise by a white heterosexual man trying to score imaginary social-justice brownie points: A-OK!

A multifarious, beloved Indian character whose voice is a respectful impersonation by a white heterosexual man: BAD BAD BAD!!!

I’m half-Italian; my great-grandmother didn’t even speak English. The Italian characters on The Simpsons are, in toto, mobsters and a barely literate pizza maker. Italians are used in film and television for literally nothing else. Because I myself am not a cunt, I don’t make a big federal case out of it. I can laugh at the stereotypical aspects of my predecessors. If they didn’t ring true, they wouldn’t be stereotypes in the first place. 

Just like Grampa Simpson, the stereotype of the perpetually-offended old wretch, who watches TV just so he can write angry letters about all the things he saw that must now be eliminated. I see him in Internet users every waking hour of my life.

Or daughter Lisa, the stereotype of the insufferable vegan and wannabe social justice warrior. I’ve witnessed more squalling Lisas on-line and at the grocery store than I could conceivably count. I suppose it’s just how most young girls act nowadays, just without the humor, self-awareness and love.

Apu taught me to laugh and love people who are completely different from myself. So of course he had to go.

Apu was never the problem.

You were. Choke on it.

“I’m a white male, aged 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.”

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Don't Know Don't Care, Nostalgic Obsessions, Thousand Listen Club, Worst Of All