Filmmaker Adi Shankar (he was producer on movies like “The Grey“ and “Lone Survivor“) is looking to crowdsource a “cure” for the Apu issue — that the character is stereotypical, racist and offensive to Indian people.
On Tuesday, Shankar announced a screenwriting contest, saying “The Simpsons” is “sick”; he’s looking for a screenplay centering around Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
He specifically wants a 21-to-23-page screenplay that “takes the character of Apu and in a clever way subverts him, pivots him, intelligently writes him out, or evolves him in a way that takes a mean spirited mockery and transforms him into a kernel of truth wrapped in funny insight aka actual satire.”
“This contest is open to people of all ethnicities and cultures, however, if you don’t have any experience with Indian culture in America then you may not have the perspective and experience to write well on this topic,” the submission instructions state.
There is no entry fee, and the judging group is comprised of “South Asians and other minorities who work in entertainment.”
After Shankar and the judges decide on the winning script, he promises to take it to Fox and the “Simpsons” writers’ room to try and make it an official episode in the upcoming season. They also plan to recommend the writer be hired for the duration of the season.
If the “Simpsons“ writers’ room rejects the episode, then Shankar himself will “finance the winning script and produce it as an unofficial fan film that looks identical to an official “Simpsons“ episode.”
The contest closes on June 30.
In the April 8 episode, Marge tried to remove any references that could offend anyone from a children’s book she had bought. She reads the book to Lisa, who finds it boring.
“Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect,” said Lisa, turning toward a picture of Apu that had the words “Don’t Have A Cow” inscribed on it. “What can you do?”
“Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” replied Marge.
“If at all,” says Lisa.
“Not really,” he said. “I’m proud of what we do on the show. And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.”
The question of Apu’s offensiveness was brought to the forefront when Hari Kondabolu, an Indian stand-up comic from New York, made a documentary (“The Problem With Apu“) about how the character was used to bully him as he was growing up.
This past weekend, “The Simpsons“ overtook the record for the most episodes of a scripted primetime series, surpassing “Gunsmoke“ with its 636th episode. Since the show started airing in 1989, it has garnered more than 30 Emmy Awards.