This coming Sunday the FOX network airs a new episode of The Simpsons with Utkarsh Ambudkar of The Mindy Project making a guest-voice appearance as Apu’s nephew Jay.
A photo posted by Utkarsh Ambudkar (@utktheinc) on
According to the network, the story will revolve around Apu’s Kwik-E-Mart which his nephew turns into a hip health food market against his uncle’s traditional aspirations.
Back in 2007 the network dropped a cool 10 million to decorate some 7-eleven stores, turning them into the Kwik-E-Marts just like in the series as part of a marketing campaign, according to a E! News article saved by the internet archive.
Even EA Mobile’s The Simpsons Tapped Out mobile game features an episode tie-in with the new character for the upcoming episode.
While it’s been said that there are no plans for The Simpsons to get rid of the Apu character, there has been some pressure from many with the Indian-American community who feel the character is stereo typically offensive.
The most popular response has been from comedian Hari Kondabolu who, according to a 2013 article by Huffington Post, grew up hating the character.
“It totally f–ked with my childhood,” says Ambudkar, who made a promise to himself about the parts he would and wouldn’t take: “You’re not going to catch me selling hot dogs or working at a 7-Eleven.”
Kondabolu’s response, which was recorded on video, went as far as to reach Hank Azaria, the actor who does Apu’s voice along with many others on The Simpsons, who was genuinely troubled by the response.
Since then there have been more actors in the entertainment business who have expressed these issues openly, including Aziz Ansari who, like Hari and Utkarsh, has also been on the Mindy Project and has his own very successful comedy show Master Of None. Ansari wrote an op-ed for The New York Times expressing his disappointment when he found out that the Indian character in Short Circuit 2 is actually white.
Even as Hank Azaria has tried to defend his position, some people are still letting him have it on social media.
Celeb spotting in the gym today: Hank Azaria. Took every ounce of self control to not ask him to do Apu— Brian Rappaport (@BRappy55) December 30, 2015
According to Australia’s FOX hit 101.9 site, prior to the season 26 of The Simpsons, one write up refers to Jennifer Tilly’s response to TMZ in 2013 that the creators were looking to kill off a character and that might be Apu.
Tilly is referred to as a friend in the post, however, she was married to Sam Simon from 1984 – 1991, a co-creator of The Simpsons who died of cancer in March of 2013.
The Simpsons is currently receiving a lot of attention in light of the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman. According to The Huffington Post, The Simpsons accidentally created a tribute to both Brits a few years ago in one of their episodes which has since gone viral.
What makes it even more relevant is due to the fact that both stars died of cancer within days of each other. The episode features Benedict Cumberbatch, who is doing a impersonation of Alan Rickman, who has been publicly known to impersonate him on live television more than once.
Even more news about The Simpsons is with the originator of the cartoon series, creator Matt Groaning, wh, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is currently in talks with NetFlix for another animated series, which is in league with the entertainment streaming service’s effort to produce original animated programming.
According to Hollywood Reporter, an insider reported the possibility of a two season, 20 episode deal which would give the animation team the lead time required.
The same source is also reporting the series as a follow up to Futurama and The Simpsons, but it is unclear whether the new show would be related to either or simply a third series involving Groening.
Neither this news or any other is a clear indication on the direction of The Simpsons, even with the new episode this coming Sunday which is called Much Apu About Something. Simpson’s writer Michael Price tweeted the name of the episode in July of last year.
The title of the episode is a play on words from a famous Shakespeare play and also a possible a sequel to Much Apu About Nothing which is about Apu being deported and part of The Simpsons seventh season.