April 17, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Much Apu About Nothing”

In which Apu is nearly scapegoated out of the country.

Man, a politician using illegal immigration as a scapegoat issue to distract people from bigger, unrelated issues involving taxes and whatnot?  Maybe that was plausible in 1996.  But that was twenty years ago.

Wait, that was twenty years ago?  OK, let’s roll with it.

Point is, it’s 2016.  No one could get away with that sort of nonsense claiming one group is somehow making America less than great.  That’s just silly.

A bear is wandering around Evergreen Terrace.  It doesn’t seem to be hurting anybody.  It’s mostly just wrecking mailboxes and watching people run away from it.  Sure, Homer is willing to risk a mauling when he sees there’s no beer in the house and the bear is in his front lawn, but this is Homer we’re talking about.  Shortly after Homer lands, without his pants, right in front of the mostly confused bear, the police ride up to shoot it with a tranquilizer.  They hit Barney instead, and he likes it.  The second shot hits the bear, knocking Barney and the bear right out.  Chief Wiggum has his guys book the bear on one count of being a bear, while Barney is booked as an accessory.

Now that the people are fighting mad, they go to city hall.  Helen Lovejoy wants to know if someone would please think of the children.  So, the mayor starts a very thorough Bear Patrol that includes what look like stealth planes.  One newspaper headline late in the episode mentions a bombing campaign.  For the bear patrol, the city instated a five dollar bear tax, which Homer claims is the largest tax increase in history and Lisa says is the smallest.  And the bears won’t pay the bear tax, even though Homer pays the Homer Tax (or, as Lisa says, the Home-Owners Tax).

New mob, new claim, won’t someone think of the children.  Yadda yadda yadda.  The Mayor doesn’t know if they’re getting louder or dumber (dumber says an aide), so he scapegoats a convenient group, namely illegal immigrants.  Still we want to know if someone would think of the children, and Moe seems particularly indignant, what with his English getting worse and worse.

Say, can a town or city really deport illegals?  Oh well.  It’s on the ballot as Proposition 24.  And it looks popular.

But where does that leave Apu?  He’s an illegal who stayed after his student visa expired.  He had a job and a student loan to pay off.  He’d left India, his parents, and a very small girl who was apparently his arranged bride named Manjula…hey, wait a minute…

Point is, he was studying under Professor Frink at the Springfield Heights Institute of Technology.  You know, good old S.H.I…hey, wait a minute…

It looks like immigrants all over town are being picked on.  Uter’s a legal exchange student, but that doesn’t stop the kids at the school or Principal Skinner from picking on him, and Groundskeeper Willy’s attempts to stand up for the lad lead to nothing when Skinner says the children wish to pick on someone their own size.

Apu tries buying fake IDs from Fat Tony, and this time the credits do list him as Joe Mantegna.  But his attempts to pretend to be American merely make him ashamed.  Now that Homer, who isn’t registered, is on Apu’s side, there must be something he can do.  Marge is the only member of the family who can vote, and she’s against the Proposition as it is.  Fortunately, after Grampa rambles about his own experience as a 19th century immigrant living inside the Statue of Liberty’s head (yeah, probably not true), Lisa realizes a general amnesty declared during Apu’s illegal period means he can take the citizenship test and stay in the country.  Yeah, Homer’s tutoring doesn’t help at all, but Apu forgets it all before the test and sails through, along side other test-takers like Luigi, Bumblebee Man, Dr. Nick, and…wait, MOE?!?

So, Apu gets to stay, and Homer’s impassioned speech at a barbecue in his backyard seems to rile people up against Prop 24.  And then Prop 24 wins by a landslide because there weren’t that many people in Homer’s yard.  Apu gets to stay, though, and even blows off jury duty…wait, wasn’t Apu on the Freddy Quimby jury back in “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”?  It’s almost like continuity doesn’t matter on this show…

Ah well, a happy ending for all.  No one got deported.  Except for Groundskeeper Willy.  He’ll be back.