When does comedy become harmful? It's a line that we've been talking about for years and a new documentary is looking to see where that line got harmful. In this case it comes down to the The Simpsons and the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Comedian Hari Kondabolu has decided that he's had enough of this stereotype that Apu has propragating on television for years and has decided to make a documentary about it for TruTV. Kondabolu talks to a bunch of people about their feelings on Apu including Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar), Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Hasan Minhaj (The Daily Show), and Sakina Jaffrey (House of Cards).
Apu has been a character on The Simpsons for years and while the show has always made fun of everyone Kondabolu believes that Apu has been particularly harmful to the Indian-American community for a bunch of different reasons. After many years of being told to get over it Kondabolu has decided that he wants to make his feelings, and those of other Indian-Americans, known to the general public. The documentary has a trailer now that examines why the character is particularly problematic and why Kondabolu feels it's important to talk about him.
Kondabolu goes out of his way to mention that he knows this conversation is probably not going to go over well but even if you disagree with how he feels that doesn't make his feeling invalid. It's important that we talk about the impact that characters have on the popular culture especially when it comes to minority representation. We are living in an increasingly social conscious world and even if you don't agree with Kondabolu or his hatred of Apu it's important that we take the time to listen. Just as Apu has the right to exist a documentary explaining why he's damaging also has the right to exist.