The Simpsons was long known as one of the more progressive forces in media since its creators weren't afraid to shy away from controversial issues. But it may be changing since the show's writers seem to be on the wrong side of history in the Apu controversy.
Now Simpsons showrunner of nearly two decades (and, way back, for seasons 3 and 4) Al Jean shared an opinion article from conservative magazine the National Review, where a radiologist named Pradheep J. Shanker defends the stereotypical Indian character. "It’s absurd to blame the cartoon character for racial slights Indians have experienced in America," Shanker writes, dismissing the experiences of all the South Asian people who talk about how Apu affected their interactions with others. (Jean also retweeted a similar opinion piece from Wall Street Journal.)
Jean's remark with the National Review link? "And finally."
The share came as a shock to many, including sociopolitical comedian Hari Kondabolu, who created the documentary The Problem with Apu, which started a national conversation.
Jean later said he thinks some of the complaints about Apu points are "valid" and he "will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right."
While the documentary was released in November, The Simpsons addressed in an episode this month. "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect," says Lisa. "What can you do?" The response was marked as dismissive, and some have pointed out how the '90s version of Lisa would disagree with the current one's ideals.
As for the National Review's writer, people of color have gone on to call him an "Uncle Bobby," the equivalent of an "Uncle Tom" that refers to Bobby Jindal, a second-generation Indian politician who runs under the Republican party.
It's like the Simpsons team's becoming an embodiment of Principal Skinner: "No...it's the children who are wrong."