“The Simpsons: Apu’s 5 Worst Scenes (& 5 Fans Actually Loved)”
Hank Azaria, longtime voice actor for the animated show The Simpsons, has announced that he will no longer voice the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, effectively making him one of the only characters retired what was not the result of a voice actor’s death.
Indeed, Apu has been making the news recently as being a harmful stereotype of Indians, and many have been calling for him to be scrubbed from the show entirely. Regardless of one’s opinion on his presence in the series, here is a brief retrospective of five of Apu’s best moments on The Simpsons (and five which validate the character’s removal).
10 Worst: “The Party” in 30 seconds or less
In the season 7 Simpsons episode “22 Short Films About Springfield”, Apu learns of a party taking place during the day from his brother Sanjay. Since he is on the clock, Apu strives to economize his time to get as much living as he can out of the experience, saying that he will party like it’s “on sale for $19.99”.
Besides the hokey line, the entire scene gives off weird vibes of Peter Sellers’ The Party which play into the unfair stereotype of Indians being all work and no play.
9 Best: Apu’s Singing Talent
Aside from being an entrepreneur and franchisee owner of the Kwik-E-Mart in Springfield, Apu is also blessed with an angelic singing voice. This is referenced on three separate occasions: in one instance, Apu is cast to have a brief solo in the musical production of a Streetcar Named Desire. In another episode, Apu becomes one of the founding members of the B-sharps, a barbershop quartet acapella group consisting of Homer, Barney Gumble, Seymour Skinner and formerly Police Chief Clancy Wiggum.
The best example, however, comes from season 5 episode “Homer and Apu”, where Apu belts out into random song with the rest of the family with the number “Who Needs the Kwik-e-Mart.
8 Worst: Apu Doesn’t Speak English
In the season 7 episode Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield, Apu has a brief and memorable appearance, but not in a good way. When a woman approaches his counter at the Kwik-E-Mart and demands that he pump her gas, before Marge can volunteer her services, Apu declines the woman by using the excuse that he can’t speak English.
When the woman questions him, Apu proceeds to say a stream of nonsensical phrases in the form of “Yes, yes, hot dog, hot dog, yes sir, no sir, maybe okay”. Obviously this is a harmful perpetuation of the stereotype that immigrants do not have a strong grasp of the English language.
7 Best: Squishee Impetus
Apu is the official purveyor of the infamous Squishee, a sugar-ice-laden concoction of the Kwik-E-Mart loved by many of Springfield’s younger clientele. In fact, in one of the better scenes from the season 5 episode Boy-Scoutz ‘n the Hood, Bart and Milhouse find a $20 bill and immediately go to the Kwik-E-Mart to demand an all-syrup Squishee, which Apu makes but with considerable difficulty.
Thus begins a hallucinogen-fueled bender about town which culminates in Bart joining the boy scouts (or, as Lisa dubs them, the few, the proud, the geeky).
6 Worst: First appearance of Manjula
Apu would eventually marry his bride Manjula in the season 9 episode “Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons”, but what many people may not be aware that her first appearance actually came two seasons prior in the episode “Much Apu About Nothing”.
As viewers learn about Apu’s backstory, she makes a brief appearance as a young child who is eager for the day that she will get to fulfill her arranged marriage obligations. The scene was cut from eventually cut, probably because of the creepy image of a young girl engaged to an adult man.
5 Best: The Rest of Apu’s Backstory
Referring back to the seventh season episode“Much Apu About Nothing”; barring the questionable scene with Manjula, the rest of the episode is quite informative, filling in lot of Apu’s previously unknown background, from his humble beginnings from the country of India, to placing in top of his class of over seven million at Calcutta Technical Institute, to being an accomplished Ph.D recipient in computer science.
His reason for living in Springfield is grounded and plausible, which makes his determined struggle for his American citizenship an all the more virtuous achievement.
4 Worst: “The South Shall Come Again”
Apu is noteworthy for having a lot of interesting one-liners (for instance, who can forget the line “Silly customer! You cannot harm a Twinkie!”). His catchphrase “Thank you, come again!” has morphed into somewhat of an epithet to debase people of Indian descent. Which is why the combination of the catchphrase and a particular one-liner falls flat in this new, post-Apu world.
In the season 8 episode “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious”, the patrons of Moe’s Tavern are annoyed that Homer has shirked his responsibilities to the Civil War re-enactment, leaving Apu to fill in as a Confederate soldier with the line “The South shall come again”. It’s a throwaway line in an otherwise humorous episode, but that doesn’t make it any less cringeworthy.
3 Best: Apu Puts Lisa In Her Place
Apu is a devout vegan – meaning he does not eat any animal or animal products. In the season 7 episode “Lisa the Vegetarian”, while Lisa Simpson is tacitly judging everything and everyone around her who indulges in meat – including those that attend Homer’s neighborhood BBQ party – Apu is horrified by Lisa when he discovers that she still eats cheese.
Apu teaches Lisa and the audience that while people do not have to agree on the same things, they still must be respectful of others (even if inside they feel those dissenters are monsters).
2 Worst: Apu and Sanjay celebrating Marge’s arrest
In the fourth season episode “Marge in Chains”, a fatigued Marge gets accused of shoplifting when an unpaid bottle of bourbon winds up in her coat. After Marge is booked and sent to jail, Homer goes to the Kwik-E-Mart to defend his wife’s honor and insist that she’s innocent. His plea is fruitless, however, when Homer walks in on Apu and his brother Sanjay celebrating quite spiritedly, listening to loud Indian music and singing in their native language.
The scene also depicts an out-of-character Apu, excited to send Marge behind bars even though he held no established animosity toward her in previous episodes. In the DVD commentary for this episode, the Embassy of Indian in Washington consulted on Apu and Sanjay’s brief Indian dialogue, which was begrudgingly approved. Still, the scene seems out of place and unnecessary, to the point where cutting it outright would not have impacted the plot in any way.
1 Best: Apu Chews Out Principal Skinner For His Terrible Idea
Principal Skinner gets fired in the season 5 episode “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song”, and both he and Bart Simpson develop a bit of a rapport.
In one of the funniest scenes involving Apu, Ex-Principal Skinner tells Bart of his plan to write an epic sci-fi tale that bears a striking resemblance to Michael Chricton’s novel Jurassic Park. Apu s quick to point out the similarities between the two ideas, lambast Skinner’s ridiculous title, and goes on in length to explain how misguided his dream is. Apu quickly catches himself and ends the conversation with a “Thank you, come again”.
If you want to read more Like this articles, you can visit our Social Media category.