The Problem With Apu trailer investigates the cultural impact that Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – the popular convenience store owner from The Simpsons – has had on Indian-Americans. Hosted by standup comedian Hari Kondabolu, the forthcoming documentary will air on truTV later this fall, with a rotating panel of talking heads to address the issue head on – most notably including such well-known performers as Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar), Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Hasan Minhaj (The Daily Show), and Sakina Jaffrey (House of Cards).
Voiced for some 20-odd years by character actor Hank Azaria, Apu has become an iconic animated character whose myriad appearances across all 29 seasons of The Simpsons thus far has served to brand his accent and image on the minds of viewers across the country. However, the level to which Apu is a caricature of the Indian-American in the 20th and 21st centuries has had certain negative ramifications – and Kondabolu is determined to make them known to general viewers.
In the footage featured above, potential viewers can get their first look at the personal and emotional damage that can be wrought by the kinds of ethnic stereotypes frequently depicted on The Simpsons. Much like his work with fellow comedian W. Kamau Bell on the Politically Re-Active podcast, The Problem With Apu sees Kondabolu set his sights on debunking some of the more latent social antagonism present in a broadly comical animated character like Apu.
With the added bonus of an interview with former The Simpsons writer Dana Gould, The Problem With Apu is structured in such a way that it will undoubtedly raise the ire of any viewers who might have previously taken Apu for granted. As of yet, Azaria has declined to comment on his role in bringing the character to life, though if a Twitter campaign (see above) which started last year proves successful, then fans may additionally get to hear the actor’s take on the unexpected impact that Apu has wrought.
The Problem With Apu is sure to stir up some potential controversy when it finally airs on truTV, but with any luck fans of The Simpsons will be willing to hear Kondabolu out. On that note, here’s to hoping that Azaria reaches out to Kondabolu before the documentary airs, and viewers will be able to learn what the man behind Apu thinks of the movie’s message, as well.
The Problem With Apu premieres this fall on truTV.
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