Simpsons show runner vows to "try and find an answer" following fan backlash
The fallout from a contentious episode continues.
Al Jean, who has been on staff at The Simpsons since first joining as a member of the writing team in 1989, has acknowledged recent fan complaints following a controversial episode that aired last weekend.
The episode in question took the time to address criticism raised by documentary The Problem With Apu, which argues that the depiction of the Kwik-E-Mart owner is one of racial insensitivity.
The documentary, written by and starring comedian Hari Kondabolu, also highlights how such a level of racial stereotyping can be incredibly damaging when it takes place in a hugely popular show like The Simpsons.
The official attempt to acknowledge said criticism proved a touch clumsy, as seen here in this exchange between Marge and Lisa:
"Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect... What can you do?" pic.twitter.com/Bj7qE2FXWN
— Soham (@soham_burger) April 9, 2018
In the wake of a backlash from both fans and critical commentators, show runner Al Jean used his Twitter account to address the situation.
"I truly appreciate all responses pro and con," said Jean. "Will continue to try and find an answer that is popular and more important[ly] right."
.@TheSimpsons I truly appreciate all responses pro and con. Will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right
— Al Jean (@AlJean) April 13, 2018
Jean has been further criticised for retweeting articles in support of the episode, and for refusing to directly apologise.
Elsewhere, outspoken TV personality Bill Maher used his HBO Real Time with Bill Maher platform to praise the episode in typically brash fashion.
Clip via Real Time with Bill Maher
"I think we should listen to Lisa Simpson, who last week addressed the controversy around Apu, an Indian character who runs a convenience store... because we all know there's no such thing," Maher began.
"Lisa said; 'Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect... What can you do?' - Exactly, what can you do? Label us all degenerates for not already being who we would eventually become?
"20 years ago the jokes on Friends were just funny. Now, some millennials find the jokes sexist, transphobic and fat-shaming. Okay, but if you spend your time combing through old TV shows to identify stuff that by today's standards looks bad, you're not woke, you're just a douchebag," he concluded, to warm applause from his audience.