A new 'Simpsons' documentary is finally addressing the Indian elephant that's been in the living room of 742 Evergreen Terrace for the last 27 years.
"I hate Apu, and because of that, I dislike 'The Simpsons,'" Kal Penn of the 'Harold and Kumar' stoner comedy franchise says to kick off the trailer for the 'The Problem with Apu,' a new doc featuring standup comic Hari Kondabolu that uses the Kwik-E-Mart employee to dissect South Asian stereotypes in American culture.
And it's not just a hate-fest for the longest running sitcom in American television history. Kondabolu admits that he's ambivalent about the film because he's a diehard 'Simpsons' fan who owes a lot of his success to the inspiration he derived from the show.
"I was obsessed with 'The Simpsons' growing up and it has greatly influenced my comedy," he said in a recent statement. "However...you can criticize something you love because you expect more from it. For the longest time, Apu was the most prominent representation of South Asian Americans, and despite how much our society has changed in the last three decades, the character persists today. I made this film to not only talk about the origin of Apu and highlight the impact of such images in media, but also to celebrate the diversity and complexity of my community."
The doc, which premieres on truTV on November 19, includes interviews with former 'Daily Show' correspondent Aasif Mandvi, 'House of Cards' actor Sakina Jaffrey and 'Simpsons' writer/producer Dana Gould. But one of the best exchanges in the trailer is between Kondabolu and Whoopi Goldberg. When the comic asks the Academy Award winning actor "Does Apu count as a minstrel since it's brown paint and a white guy's voice?" Whoopi says, "It has all of the qualifications."
But is 'The Simpsons' take on other cultures racist or just risqué? Watch the trailer and decide for yourself.