The Simpsons

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Simpsons

#701 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:03 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Image
Huh?

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Big Ben
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Re: The Simpsons

#702 Post by Big Ben » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:14 pm

I'm going to guess it's related to what the last night's episode said about Apu but I'm not entirely sure.

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Re: The Simpsons

#703 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:54 pm

Flyonthewall is over 10 years late with that post.

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Re: The Simpsons

#704 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:01 pm

Big Ben wrote:I'm going to guess it's related to what the last night's episode said about Apu but I'm not entirely sure.
Yes. Sorry to be so cryptic about it, I guess the news isn't as widespread by now. But that's basically how I feel about the segment, that it was the final nail in the coffin. But who knows, maybe they can redeem themselves from it somehow.

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Re: The Simpsons

#705 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:28 pm

I hate to be rude, but you really can’t assume that 99% of people know (or care) what happened on a new Simpsons episode in 2018, same would have been the case in 2008, too - might want to elaborate if you’ve got something to say about it since most of us won’t know what you’re referring to

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Re: The Simpsons

#706 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:47 pm

That's fair, not rude. I get that way with things here sometimes.

Anyway, this article sums it all up.

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Simpsons

#707 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:51 pm

What about that made The Simpsons the thing that jumped the shark? If anything, it seems like its viewership is the problem, although acknowledging any of this at all in year 143 of the show is sort of ridiculous anyway

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: The Simpsons

#708 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:03 pm

It wasn't any sort of official declaration (half kind of a bad joke looking back), but I feel like putting that in the hands of the Lisa character was entirely against the logic of who that character was.

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Murdoch
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Re: The Simpsons

#709 Post by Murdoch » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:41 pm

This is the most press coverage the Simpsons has received in years (decades?). Although most responses I've seen are "This is still on?"

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Luke M
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Re: The Simpsons

#710 Post by Luke M » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:26 pm

The responses I saw were akin to the Tony Robbins coverage; we were ok with you but now that we know who you are you’ve got to go.

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Re: The Simpsons

#711 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:28 pm

Haha that is the perfect summation of so many outraged Twitter users over anything

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Re: The Simpsons

#712 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:58 am

Luke M wrote:The responses I saw were akin to the Tony Robbins coverage; we were ok with you but now that we know who you are you’ve got to go.
Being OK with Tony Robbins was the first mistake

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Re: The Simpsons

#713 Post by aox » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:29 pm

hearthesilence wrote:Flyonthewall is over 10 years late with that post.
20

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hearthesilence
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Re: The Simpsons

#714 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:37 pm

aox wrote:
hearthesilence wrote:Flyonthewall is over 10 years late with that post.
20
Jesus, you're right - I'm so used to saying "ten" for so long, and now it's already been another ten years. It's kind of sad when the mediocre stuff overwhelmingly outnumbers the good, but then again, as Bart said in the show's prime, ""If I had a TV show, I'd run that sucker into the ground."

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Re: The Simpsons

#715 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:41 pm

Makes for an incredibly awkward exchange IRL when people are sharing some of their favorite Simpsons references and someone goes "Ah, I love the line when Homer says "Twitter on fleek"" and everyone gets really quiet

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Re: The Simpsons

#716 Post by Big Ben » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:41 pm

There hasn't been a time in my life that The Simpsons hasn't been on the air and as such I cannot fathom why it's still around. Is it really bringing it enough money?

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Re: The Simpsons

#717 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:48 pm

Big Ben wrote:There hasn't been a time in my life that The Simpsons hasn't been on the air and as such I cannot fathom why it's still around. Is it really bringing it enough money?
The ratings are terribly low, but supposedly it generates far more money than anyone else via licensing alone - it's possible keeping it on air makes it a more viable property to license. (Or at least, the right people believe that theory.)

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Re: The Simpsons

#718 Post by dx23 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:45 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Big Ben wrote:There hasn't been a time in my life that The Simpsons hasn't been on the air and as such I cannot fathom why it's still around. Is it really bringing it enough money?
The ratings are terribly low, but supposedly it generates far more money than anyone else via licensing alone - it's possible keeping it on air makes it a more viable property to license. (Or at least, the right people believe that theory.)
My understanding is that it actually does good ratings for a Sunday night show and it brings a lot of ad revenue because of it. It brings a lot of money on licensing too and it keeps giving programming material for FXX and the FXX app. I only see this show ending when any of the main cast members passes away.

I haven't seen the documentary that is critical of Apu, but heard that the main point of it is the issue with Apu being an Indian stereotype. Aren't all character on the Simpsons stereotypes? I mean, we can go through the entire list of characters and there isn't one that doesn't fit the description of being a stereotype of something. Homer, Marge, Bart, Bumblebee Man, the Mafia, Rev Lovejoy, Flanders, Luigi, Burns, Mayor Quimby, Skinner, and the list goes on and on. I feel that the most realistic character of them all is Smithers and he still a stereotype of the yes men, bootlickers that we encounter in corporate America.
Last edited by dx23 on Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Simpsons

#719 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:02 pm

I haven't seen it either, just portions where interview subjects talk about being bullied. Many characters like Willie started off as tossed out caricatures based on ethnic stereotypes. (To use Willie as an example, on the DVD commentary, they admitted to just needing a character that will stand out and fell back on running through accents before settling on a Scotsman - they also added that they thought Willie would never come back because he seemed like such a lazy, last minute creation.) This isn't much of a defense though, but it may provide some helpful context on how these things happens.

Thinking about how the show would have played out in chronological order, Apu did indeed start off as plain stereotype - an Indian immigrant running a convenient store. The positive aspects that came up over time was 1) in a town full of morons, Apu proved to be one of the few intelligent ones and 2) Apu could be used to comment on the racism thrown at immigrants and Indian-Americans. It could be a tossed off line (like when Apu makes a cutting remark about people who tell him to go back to a country he's not actually from). There's at least one episode that tackles this directly (the one with the proposition to deport illegal aliens). So I never thought Apu made Indian-Americans look bad.

Problem is, if you have kids bullying Indian-American kids and comparing them to Apu like it was an insult, you have to wonder if there's something deeply problematic that you weren't sensitive to, even if school bullies are just moronic assholes who will make anything derogatory in the name of insulting or hurting someone. (This isn't quite what they did on the show, but imagine bullying a kid who plays the saxophone by referring to them as 'Elvis' all the time. It makes no sense on multiple levels, but it doesn't matter, they can just think of it and use it as an insult and to the parties involved it becomes one. Better yet, look at Trump's use of "Pocahontas" which to be fair betrays his own racism.)

The other big problem is that it's a white guy doing an Indian-American. In the show's defense, there wasn't exactly a lot of notable Indian-American talent in network TV in the late '80s/early '90s, and this was also a show built around cast members who were expected to do many voices to fill out a whole town rather than having the show hire many more individuals to do so. But the practice of hiring white actors to do ethnic characters isn't nearly as acceptable as it once was, and the show's in the awkward position of being, well, so old that it has pretty dated baggage.

I was under the impression that the much criticized scene did suggest that the show would actually re-visit this problem in the near future, but unfortunately that shot of Apu that says "Don't Have a Cow" (remember the Paul McCartney/vegetarian episode?) may have undermined that idea and made it seem like a complete dismissal. I'm hoping that's the case and that it's not a lazy dismissal.

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Re: The Simpsons

#720 Post by aox » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:58 am

I've seen the documentary and actually participated in it, though my scene was cut.

The problem with Apu is that he was voiced by a white guy (Harry Shearer) according to the documentary. Also, Apu (not voiced by an Indian) was one of the only Indian representations in the 1990s for the mainstream American public. That's the general gist. Indian comics even in 2018 still get heckled with, "Thank You! Come Again!".

The flip side is that even with that, Apu was often the smartest, most level-headed person in Springfield, so how can these two ideas be reconciled in the context of racism.

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Re: The Simpsons

#721 Post by kidc » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:09 am

dx23 wrote:Aren't all character[s] on the Simpsons stereotypes?
I think the issue with this defense (South Park etc also make the same claim) is that while yes, most of the characters are stereotypes of some sort, they will have a ton of varied stereotypes for white Americans, but they will only have one (typically) for each minority. Whilst they're all stereotypes, white America in The Simpsons still comes off as varied - Indian-Americans don't.

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Re: The Simpsons

#722 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:13 am

Hank Azaria is the voice of Apu.
At the time it began, just having an South-Asian character was fairly novel.
Of course the character was a stereotype like many Springfielders, but they did give Apu a personality, some storylines, and as others have noted, he is sympathetic.

Luigi, Cookie Kwan and the Rich Texan always grated because the show doesn't develop them at all, and just runs a dumb stereotype into the ground.

The Simpsons were careful to make positive portrayals of blacks. Dr. Hibbert and Judge Snyder have high positions and are good-natured. Carl and Lou are both paired with goofy white guys and are the cooler more level-headed of the pair. Later, Dredrick Tatum was a less positive black character, but based on a real person.

Likely if the Simpsons were starting now, Apu would be handled differently.

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Re: The Simpsons

#723 Post by aox » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:16 am

Lemmy Caution wrote:Hank Azaria is the voice of Apu.
D'oh. You're correct. My apologies. Still having my coffee.
Likely if the Simpsons were starting now, Apu would be handled differently.
Agreed.

I get the argument that the documentary is making, but I still don't know if I agree with it. The documentary doesn't seem to know how it feels either. Just presents a conundrum with no hard answer.

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Re: The Simpsons

#724 Post by dx23 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:20 am

Lemmy Caution wrote: The Simpsons were careful to make positive portrayals of blacks. Dr. Hibbert and Judge Snyder have high positions and are good-natured. Carl and Lou are both paired with goofy white guys and are the cooler more level-headed of the pair. Later, Dredrick Tatum was a less positive black character, but based on a real person.
I know many here probably haven't seen this episode, as it is from the past 5 years, but they made a story saying that Abe Simpsons grandpa was a black slave, making the Simpsons descendants of African Americans.

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Re: The Simpsons

#725 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:38 am

aox wrote:...Apu (not voiced by an Indian) was one of the only Indian representations in the 1990s for the mainstream American public. That's the general gist. Indian comics even in 2018 still get heckled with, "Thank You! Come Again!".

The flip side is that even with that, Apu was often the smartest, most level-headed person in Springfield, so how can these two ideas be reconciled in the context of racism.
Because racists are often stupid and can't comprehend those ideas.

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