In advance of its world premiere at DOC NYC on November 14, 2017, and its subsequent release on truTV on November 19, truTV has released a new clip from The Problem with Apu, a documentary by Michael Melamedoff and Hari Kondabolu that uses the proprietor of the Kwik-E-Mart on The Simpsons as a way to talk about problematic depictions of minorities in popular media and minority media representation in general, in addition to the concrete issues with Apu himself. And if you’re sharpening your rhetorical knives to post a reactionary comment about this documentary without watching and listening to any of the videos, don’t bother. Odds are we lost you at the title of the movie anyway. The movie is coming. Deal with it snowflake.
Full press release follows:
truTV Sets Premiere Date for Comedic Documentary
The Problem with Apu
Comedian Hari Kondabolu Confronts His Cartoon Nemesis – and Minority Media Representation – in Hour-Long Feature Debuting November 19
It’s peak TV season – your inbox is not your friend. So here are the highlights:
- Tackling the hot-button issue of minority media representation,comedic documentary The Problem with Apu will premiere on truTV Sunday, November 19 at 10PM ET/PT;
- In his sharp, cultural exposé, creator and star Hari Kondabolu addresses his long-standing conflict with Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian convenience store owner from The Simpsons;
- Featuring interviews with Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, Whoopi Goldberg, W. Kamau Bell, Aasif Mandvi, Hasan Minhaj, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Aparna Nancherla and more, The Problem with Apu explores the lasting impact of Hollywood stereotypes;
- And for you visual folks, here’s the doc’s official trailer
Turner’s truTV today announced the premiere date for its highly-anticipated comedic documentary The Problem with Apu as Sunday, November 19 at 10PM ET/PT. In the hour-long film, creator and star Hari Kondabolu, a South Asian-American comedian, confronts his long-standing “nemesis” Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – better known as the Indian convenience store owner on The Simpsons. Kondabolu discusses how this controversial caricature was created, burrowed its way into the hearts and minds of Americans, and continues to exist – intact – nearly three decades later.
In this highly-personal, insightful and timely exploration of minority media representation, Kondabolu speaks with prominent South Asian actors about the damaging legacy of Apu – an animated character voiced by a white actor with a heavily exaggerated, stereotypical Indian accent. Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, Aasif Mandvi, Hasan Minjaj, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Aparna Nancherla, Russell Peters, Sakina Jaffrey and Maulik Pancholy share poignant stories about their own experiences with Apu and the broader questions about the comedy and representation he evokes. With additional interviews with EGOT-winner Whoopi Goldberg, W. Kamau Bell, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Mallika Rao, and many more, The Problem with Apu takes a humorous look at how even a beloved television series can have a blind spot.
“I was obsessed with The Simpsons growing up and it has greatly influenced my comedy. However, as my mother proves, you can criticize something you love because you expect more from it,” said Kondabolu. “For the longest time, Apu was the most prominent representation of South Asian Americans – and despite how much our society has changed in the last three decades – the character persists today. I made this film to not only talk about the origin of Apu and highlight the impact of such images in media, but also to celebrate the diversity and complexity of my community.”
Hailed as “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today” by The New York Times, Brooklyn-based comedian Kondaboluis the host of the popular podcast “Politically Re-Active” alongside W. Kamau Bell.
The Problem with Apu is executive produced by Kondabolu, Marobru, Inc.’s Michele Armour and Avalon Television’s Isaac Horne, David Martin, Richard Allen-Turner and Jon Thoday. Michael Melamedoff serves as director. The film will be made available on all platforms following its linear premiere on November 19.
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Seen across multiple platforms in 90 million households, truTV delivers a fresh and unexpected take on comedy with such popular original series as Impractical Jokers, Billy on the Street, Adam Ruins Everything, The Carbonaro Effect, and Hack My Life, as well as the original scripted comedies Those Who Can’t and I’m Sorry. And the fun doesn’t stop there. truTV is also a partner in airing the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
truTV is part ofTurner, aTime Warner company. Turner creates and programs branded news; entertainment; kids and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
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