The Simpsons Apu problem has only escalated since the show's controversial response to the documentary The Problem With Apu, but Castlevania showrunner and high-profile producer Adi Shankar believes he can smooth out the situation. Shankar has figured out a way to fix the issue with Apu's representation and has launched a contest offering to go to Hollywood for the person who can write an episode that fixes the show's character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Will the world step up and produce a script worthy of making it to the show's actual writers?
It's worth an attempt, as Shankar promised to take the winning script (which will be judged by a panel of South Asians and other minorities in entertainment) to The Simpsons staff and request the script and episode's writer be added to the series' next season. The winning episode, Adi Shankar stated in the contest description, will find a clever way to subvert the character of Apu and evolve him in an intelligent way outside of his current status as a one-dimensional and one-note joke of an Indian stereotype. Shankar stated that entries to the competition are free and that all are welcomed to submit. Shankar also stated that applicants should consider whether or not they're the right person to write intelligently on the subject of Indian culture, as those who can't likely won't be considered.
Adi Shankar's note isn't meant to dissuade anyone who thinks they can write a great episode of The Simpsons about Apu, but rather a statement towards the type of episode he and the panel of judges would like to see. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon may be a fictional character, but the culture and lifestyle he represents is far richer and way more eclectic than Springfield's Kwik-E-Mart. Someone who has personally experienced Indian culture and living in America will certainly understand that better than someone who hasn't, so it makes sense the winning episode's writer be someone who can relate to Apu. Ultimately Shankar just wants an honest look at the character, and told fans the idea for the competition came from a conversation with Kanye West:
Whether or not The Simpsons staff will be receptive to Adi Shankar's crowd-sourced competition is up in the air. The show's voice actor for Apu, Hank Azaria, has stated he's willing to work to figure out a solution for the character even if it means stepping aside and no longer voicing the character. On the flip side, creator Matt Groening recently came out and doubled down on his stance that Apu is not offensive, and said that "people love to pretend they're offended." Shankar has prepared for the script's rejection, and stated that if he is turned down by The Simpsons he will be making his own fan-film episode based on the series with the winning script and tack it on to his infamous "bootleg universe."
The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox and most weekdays on FXX at various times. For a look at new shows headed to television in the near future, visit our summer premiere guide.