He used to be a fan favorite, but now he’s seldom seen manning his store – so why is Apu so rarely featured in The Simpsons these days?

Of the countess side characters that have featured in The Simpsons‘ 34-season run, local storekeeper Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is undoubtedly one of the most iconic. Forever willing to put in the hard yards at the Kwik-E-Mart, though forced to put up with Homer’s nonsense, Apu’s presence on the show tends to be understated and low-key but is always welcomed. Why then, has the popular animation appeared to have lost interest in Apu entirely?

Why is Apu rarely in The Simpsons?

To put it simply – times have changed, and culture has developed massively since Apu first entered our screens back in February 1990.

While he was adored by many, Apu’s 27-year tenure on the show was constantly soundtracked by the quiet murmur of discontent from various individuals who found him to be crass and racially insensitive.

It was consistently argued that the fact he owned a convenience store played into lazy stereotypes often attributed to Asian communities, a point that comedian Hari Kondabolu stressed in his 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu, which delved into how Apu’s lengthy stint on prime time TV had affected race relations in the US.

So when Apu’s voice actor Hank Azaria told the world how he intended to retire from the role in January 2020, The Simpsons producers accepted his decision, and the 59-year-old has not been heard voicing him since.

Why did Hank Azaria ditch the role?

Having listened to the concerns of the likes of Kondabolu, as well as his own with self-doubt about his role as Apu for a number of years, Azaria ultimately decided to give up the gig.

“We all made the decision together,” Azaria told the world back in 2020. ” We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”

Hank Azaria arrives for the World Premie...
Photo credit should read RICH SCHMITT/AFP via Getty Images

In September 2020, Azaria also stepped down from the role of black character Carl Carlson for similar reasons and was replaced by Alex Désert.

Though he has dropped his two biggest characters, Azaria does still voice a number of minor characters, such as Comic Book Guy, Lou, and Dr. Nick.

Was Azaria officially replaced as Apu?

At the time of writing in July 2023, The Simpsons have not replaced Azaria with a new voice actor to play Apu.

The last time the character was heard on the show was back in 2017 in the season 29 premiere, The Serfsons, and he has not been voiced since.

Though you may have spotted him in the background, it would appear that Apu is not viewed as an active character anymore, and in terms of dialogue, he left when Azaria did.

Unlike their cartoon counterparts in Family Guy, who replaced Cleveland Brown with an actor of color in similar circumstances, The Simpsons seem to be content with leaving Apu in the past.

Related Topics

Gaming Trailers

More Like This
Toy Blast Animation | Item Stories
Latest Trailers
Matchpoint – Tennis Championships | Announcement Trailer