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Simpsons In The Media: I'm Kent Brockman

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I often wonder what the past 20 years of television and film would have been like if Phil Hartman had not died.  He would have done a tremendous amount of character and voice acting work.  Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz would still be around.  Zap Branigan on Futurama would have had a different voice (the role was originally written for Hartman).

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Don't know where to put this, but I met Mike Reiss at New York Comic Con today and couldn't have been a nicer, sweeter guy. I finally bought his book and he signed it!

Edited by Galileo908
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I finally watched The Problem With Apu and all I can say that Hari is right. What makes it even worse is how the show is responding to it, which is basically, "We do this to everyone so stop whining." Without even acknowledging that Apu is played by a white guy doing his impression of an Indian stereotype. 

This show really has gone on too long.

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This article is saying that Apu is being written off the show:

Quote

 

Following a nearly year-long controversy — though one that has really lasted for as long as the character has existed — producers of The Simpsons have confirmed that Apu, longtime Quik-E-Mart owner and Indian stereotype, is being written off of the show.

The news was delivered to Indiewire by producer Adi Shankar, who said he’d been trying to crowdsource a script that “in a clever way subverts him, pivots him, writes him out, or evolves him in a way that takes a creation that was the byproduct of a predominately Harvard-educated white male writers’ room and transforms it into a fresh, funny and realistic portrayal of Indians in America.”

 

https://uproxx.com/tv/the-simpsons-apu-controversy/

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58 minutes ago, TVSpectator said:

This article is saying that Apu is being written off the show:

https://uproxx.com/tv/the-simpsons-apu-controversy/

I hate to say it but I am starting to think that if they are going to go down this road they should probably just end the show. If Apu is offensive because on the surface he is a stereotype and is voiced by someone who doesn't share that background, well then that definition fits most of the characters. Will "The problem with Smithers" be next? The show plays with stereotypes yes but it is not hard, at least for me to see that they are satire. Hell Homer is a fat, lazy stupid American. 

The whole thing reminds me of Speedy Gonzalez, also a huge stereotype voiced by someone not Mexican. Cartoon network started pulling Speedy cartoons in the 90's only to have Latin-American groups speak out against the move and say they actually liked Speedy. I wonder if there will be anything similar from Indian people who appericate the Apu character and how well he is developed?

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Well said. Exactly. Almost all the characters on the show are that. From Ned to The Simpsons family to Mr. Burns to Moe and so on are that. It basically makes fun of everyone. And like you said, it's satire.

Wow. This is the first time I've heard about that. 

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43 minutes ago, Kel Varnsen said:

I hate to say it but I am starting to think that if they are going to go down this road they should probably just end the show. If Apu is offensive because on the surface he is a stereotype and is voiced by someone who doesn't share that background, well then that definition fits most of the characters. Will "The problem with Smithers" be next? The show plays with stereotypes yes but it is not hard, at least for me to see that they are satire. Hell Homer is a fat, lazy stupid American. 

The whole thing reminds me of Speedy Gonzalez, also a huge stereotype voiced by someone not Mexican. Cartoon network started pulling Speedy cartoons in the 90's only to have Latin-American groups speak out against the move and say they actually liked Speedy. I wonder if there will be anything similar from Indian people who appericate the Apu character and how well he is developed?

 

37 minutes ago, AntiBeeSpray said:

Well said. Exactly. Almost all the characters on the show are that. From Ned to The Simpsons family to Mr. Burns to Moe and so on are that. It basically makes fun of everyone. And like you said, it's satire.

Wow. This is the first time I've heard about that. 

Have you seen the Hari Kondabolu documentary that seemed to be the thing that really brought much attention to the issue ("The Problem with Apu")?  It may not change your mind but it may at least give you some insight into why to a lot of people this "satire" feels different.

Edited to add - sorry, I see that documentary has been mentioned many times above, but my point stands.  Before I saw it, my thought was, "hey, they make fun of everyone" but after watching it, I think there is definitely another side to the story.

Edited by SoMuchTV
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34 minutes ago, SoMuchTV said:

 

Have you seen the Hari Kondabolu documentary that seemed to be the thing that really brought much attention to the issue ("The Problem with Apu")?  It may not change your mind but it may at least give you some insight into why to a lot of people this "satire" feels different.

Edited to add - sorry, I see that documentary has been mentioned many times above, but my point stands.  Before I saw it, my thought was, "hey, they make fun of everyone" but after watching it, I think there is definitely another side to the story.

 

Heard about it. And to be honest, again... the show is satire. Doubt even the documentary will change my view on it. It's how I view the show as a whole. If you take out Apu, they might as well take out everyone.

You could have cops not liking the portrayal of cops in it, Christians not liking how they're portrayed on the show and so on. 

Edited by AntiBeeSpray
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1 hour ago, SoMuchTV said:

 

Have you seen the Hari Kondabolu documentary that seemed to be the thing that really brought much attention to the issue ("The Problem with Apu")?  It may not change your mind but it may at least give you some insight into why to a lot of people this "satire" feels different.

Edited to add - sorry, I see that documentary has been mentioned many times above, but my point stands.  Before I saw it, my thought was, "hey, they make fun of everyone" but after watching it, I think there is definitely another side to the story.

Haven't seen it but read enough about it. I get that some people can be offended but it seems like an unwinable situation. Just about any option is going to offend a segment of the population the same way Apu is offending some people now. So unless the show isn't going to care about it, the same way they didn't really care about offending Brazil then the best option is probably just cancellation. Which sucks because even though i don't really watch anymore, i would hate to see it go out like that.

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12 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

I hate to say it but I am starting to think that if they are going to go down this road they should probably just end the show. If Apu is offensive because on the surface he is a stereotype and is voiced by someone who doesn't share that background, well then that definition fits most of the characters. Will "The problem with Smithers" be next? The show plays with stereotypes yes but it is not hard, at least for me to see that they are satire. Hell Homer is a fat, lazy stupid American. 

The whole thing reminds me of Speedy Gonzalez, also a huge stereotype voiced by someone not Mexican. Cartoon network started pulling Speedy cartoons in the 90's only to have Latin-American groups speak out against the move and say they actually liked Speedy. I wonder if there will be anything similar from Indian people who appericate the Apu character and how well he is developed?

Why don't the people offended by Apu just not watch the show?  It's the stupidest thing.  Media depicts too much sex, or makes fun of religious faith, and some people say "if you don't like it, just don't watch".  The same media depicts something that makes them uncomfortable, and the same people say "destroy it!!!!".  So many people get so fixated on making everything conform directly to whatever makes them most comfortable.  Apu is a long lasting beloved character.  Why should we cave in to a vocal minority?  If they don't like Apu, they have the option of cancelling him from their lives.

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Honestly, I think writing off Apu is just a cheap cowardly move. Hari wanted the problem to be acknowledged or at least have Apu being given a bit more nuance or an actual Indian voice actor. They aren't doing any of those things. Instead, they're just writing off Apu so they can keep milking this dry cow of a show til the apocalypse.

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The annoying thing is there are always articles about the lack of developed Asian characters in TV. So if they write out Apu there will be one less. It really seems like a perfect is the enemy of good with this situation.

I also generally hate the idea of you can't play a character unless you are an actor exactly like that character.

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2 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

The annoying thing is there are always articles about the lack of developed Asian characters in TV. So if they write out Apu there will be one less. It really seems like a perfect is the enemy of good with this situation.

I also generally hate the idea of you can't play a character unless you are an actor exactly like that character.

Are they also going to write out his brother Sanjay (voiced by Harry Shearer) and his wife Manjula (voiced by either Jan Hooks or Tress Mcneille) ? 
And if they write them out, what happens to the Octuplets ?  Will they be written out as well (even though they don't have voice actors) ?

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More Ali news came out today:


 

Quote

 

Last week, producer and Youtuber Adi Shankar claimed that The Simpsons plans to "drop the Apu character altogether".

But Al Jean, who is an executive producer, has responded on Twitter saying that Adi Shankar "does not speak for our show".

Apu has become controversial recently, with some people arguing that he is an Indian stereotype.

Adi Shankar, who is a producer on the Netflix show Castlevania, told IndieWire that he'd been told Apu's days on the show were numbered.

He claimed to have got the news from two people who work on the show and a third person who works with Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

Simpsons executive producer Al Jean, who has been there since the show started way back in 1989, tweeted: "Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show."

Al Jean didn't say whether or not Apu would be staying in the show or not.


 

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/newsbeat-46017390

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On 10/28/2018 at 2:14 AM, Brandi Maxxxx said:

Roger Meyers, Jr.: Gentlemen, the screwballs have spoken.

 

On 10/28/2018 at 8:13 PM, Kel Varnsen said:

The annoying thing is there are always articles about the lack of developed Asian characters in TV. So if they write out Apu there will be one less. It really seems like a perfect is the enemy of good with this situation.

I also generally hate the idea of you can't play a character unless you are an actor exactly like that character.

It's like people don't understand the concept of acting and "pretend" anymore.

I think Apu is actually one of the best characters: he owns (or at least manages) a successful business, and he comes across as more intelligent than most of the citizens of Springfield. 

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I am glad to hear they are not caving in to a non-controversy by a vocal minority and writing Apu out of the show.  In a lot of the jobs I've had, part of our orientation was being informed not to speak to the press on behalf of the show, and leave that up to the communications department and the executive people.  This incident and Al Jean's response are exactly why companies have this policy.

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On 12/19/2018 at 3:08 PM, M. Darcy said:

Article about Penny Marshall.  She was the very first guest star on the Simpsons! 

I always thought that Albert Brooks was their first guest star.

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Penny Marshall's episode ("Some Enchanted Evening") was supposed to be the series premiere but the producers were unsatisfied with the animation and it was delayed until the end of season 1.

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According to the article I just read they are also pulling it from any future produced dvd/bluray sets. Which seems like a lot to me. Are they also going to pull Simpsons Sing The Blues because Michael Jackson co-wrote, produced and sang back up on Do the Bartman.

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1 hour ago, Kel Varnsen said:

According to the article I just read they are also pulling it from any future produced dvd/bluray sets. Which seems like a lot to me. Are they also going to pull Simpsons Sing The Blues because Michael Jackson co-wrote, produced and sang back up on Do the Bartman.

I can totally understand why they may want to pull the episode but I would just keep it on the DvDs/Blu-Rays just because it happened (mind you I don't think most people knew what was going on ). In my opinion, its kind of like trying to erase the past a bit. Edit: I also believe that at one point I might've had that album and I never knew he was involved with that.

Edited by TVSpectator

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15 hours ago, Brandi Maxxxx said:

Does this mean no more residuals for poor John Jay Smith?

It would be kind of awesome if Al Jean or someone just released a statement about how Stark Raving Dad guest stars John Jay Smith so they don't see an issue.

Also keep in mind there are episodes with James Brown, Mike Tyson and a pretty great on with Mel Gibson.

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I saw this and I think it should be shared here. Its an interview in a Q&A format with The Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean. They talk about a lot of different stuff (including Luke Perry's passing) but here it the bit about the whole Michael Jackson episode. The quotes are taken from two different sections of the interview:

Quote

Jean and his wife, fellow Simpsons writer Stephanie Gillis, dropped down to Austin, Texas, to speak on a panel about their collaborative process at SXSW. “We were on at the same time as AOC, so we were happy to have a full room!” Jean tells me.

The two were also celebrating a recent milestone: last year, The Simpsons passedGunsmoke to become the longest-running scripted series in TV history. And the show, now in its 30th season—and renewed for two more—isn’t showing any signs of stopping.

In a wide-ranging talk with The Daily Beast, Jean addressed the Michael Jackson controversy and so much more.

 
2
Quote

The very first episode of Season 3, “Stark Raving Dad,” featuring the voice of Michael Jackson made some news recently when it was revealed that you decided to remove the episode after watching the Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland. That must have been a difficult decision for you, seeing as you wrote it and it was your first episode at the reins.

Yes. It wasn’t something that makes me happy. It’s something I agree with completely. What saddens me is, if you watch that documentary—which I did, and several of us here did—and you watch that episode, honestly, it looks like the episode was used by Michael Jackson for something other than what we’d intended it. It wasn’t just a comedy to him, it was something that was used as a tool. And I strongly believe that. That, to me, is my belief, and it’s why I think removing it is appropriate. I lose a little bit of money financially, it’s not something that’s great personally to lose one of the most successful things I ever did, but I totally think it’s the right move. I don’t believe in going through and making judgments on every guest star and saying “this one was bad, that one was bad,” but the episode itself has a false purpose, and that’s what I object to about it now.

And the false purpose was what?

I think it was part of what he used to groom boys. I really don’t know, and I should be very careful because this is not something I know personally, but as far as what I think, that’s what I think. And that makes me very, very sad.

Did Michael Jackson write the song that he and Bart sing to Lisa to cheer her up, and that includes Michael’s character singing, “And your first kiss from a boy…”

He did. But I’d really not talk about it anymore because I don’t want to belabor it. It’s from the heart, on our part, and I think Jim [Brooks] put it really well. It’s not for any other reason that for what I just said, where if you watch the documentary and then you watch that episode, something’s amiss.

Have you had similar dilemmas in the past? For example, did you ever consider removing Dr. Hibbert, who’s of course a spin on Bill Cosby?

Well, there’s a different for that, which is he was a satire—he was never voiced by Cosby. He wasn’t entirely a Cosby parody either, which is why I don’t think anybody looks at the character now and says “Oh, that’s Bill Cosby.” It’s a different thing. Nobody’s perfect, and other guest stars have been far from perfect, but this is the only episode where there was a point to the episode that was other than just having the guest star do a comic performance on the guest star’s part, which I didn’t realize at the time.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-simpsons-boss-al-jean-michael-jackson-used-the-show-to-groom-boys?ref=hom

Edited by TVSpectator

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