'90s 'Simpsons' Preemptively Parodied Their Own Weak Response to Apu Criticism

'The Simpsons' changed up Lisa's idea of what is and isn't problematic.

The Simpsons

Image via Getty/Michael Tullberg

The Simpsons

The Simpsons' creators have predicted so many things, like Donald Trump's run for the Oval Office or this Olympics win, but this might be the wildest one yet.

Last year, comedian Hari Kondabolu, a first generation Indian American from Queens, New York, examined South Asian representation and stereotyping in media in his documentary The Problem with Apu. It centersthe Simpsons character, who runs a convenience store called Kwik-E-Mart. In one of the latest Simpsons episodes, "No Good Read Goes Unpunished," Apu finally addressed the controversy.

After Marge and Lisa find fault in an editorialized version of a fictional book, The Princess in the Garden, which censors the book's nuances to make way to its "emotional journey." They break the fourth wall to ponder: "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect," Lisa says. “What can you do?"

Tweeters have since deemed the response as dismissive and tone-deaf—and it seems '90s Lisa would agree.

As London animator Hamish Steele points out, 1994's "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" delves into a similar issue when Lisa shares her disdain for a Barbie-like doll, Malibu Stacy. Instead of being a feminist icon, Lisa sees Malibu Stacy as adhering to '50s gender roles of women solely as homemakers. When she protests, the company finally gives in...by giving her the same doll but with a brand new hat.

But while The Simpsons' writers were able to grasp the issue of representation vs. the past in the 1994 episode, some people on Twitter say the case isn't true for today. And worst of all, it seems the writers called BS on themselves, since in both instances, the creators receiving complaints gave a tone-deaf reaction. Now, just like hip-hop heads and Kanye West, we miss the Old Lisa.

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