Lifetime of Simpsons

S27 E12 – Much Apu About Something

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When you’ve watched such an ungodly number of Simpsons as I have, you really start to notice the bizarre patterns that the show picks up. Such as characters that get a surprising number of episodes about them. Apu is one such character. I’m not sure why so very many episodes that revolve around Apu exist, but it’s also weird to see how for years we had an Apu episode a season, and then suddenly we almost never hear from him. I don’t know why these trends exist, but we’ve been in a serious Apu draught. Luckily today’s episode will quench that! And it’s fine!

The episode begins as a very strange commercial, warning the American people that most national monuments are lame, and not worthy of visiting. But where should they go visit instead? Why Springfield of course! Especially because they’re going to be building a brand new Jebediah Springfield statue that will be technologically advanced and very interactive. Yep, that’s what Springfield thinks will draw in tourists.

And I don’t think it’s going to work, because the only people we see excited about the statue are Springfield citizens. But, they’re very excited. The Simpsons eagerly attend a special Founder’s Day parade that year where the statue will be revealed. They get downtown to check out the parade, and have to stop by the Kwik-E-Mart to pick up some parade supplies at outrageously gouged prices. But, Apu’s making out okay, so he doesn’t mind.

The family then get to the parade, and see that the statue is incredibly disappointing. It doesn’t look anything like it did in the ad, and everyone hates it. But, they’re pretty immediately distracted by seeing that the Springfield Police Department have a brand-spanking new tank! Which they clearly need. However, that tank gets quickly shown up when the volunteer fire department shows up, using their truck to stage an impromptu water-show.

But, Bart decides to spice things up by hopping on to the fire truck and firing a jet of water at Chief Wiggum. This really pisses off Chief Wiggum, because he thinks that the fire-fighters are stealing his spotlight. So, logically, makes Eddie and Lou declare war on the fire department, and tries to ram the fire-truck with the tank. Unfortunately, the fire-fighters think fast and spray some foam on the ground, causing the tank to lose traction and go spinning out of control. The crowds of citizens run out of the way of the wild tank and watch as it slams straight into the Kwik-E-Mart, destroying it.

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Bart obviously didn’t intend for such an insane thing to happen, and there’s a big problem. Homer caught it all on his GoPro. So, Homer has irrefutable proof that Bart caused the Kwik-E-Mart to be destroying, through the transitive property at least, and now he has power over Bart. He uses that power to make Bart promise to never pull a prank ever again. Bart agrees to this, no matter how much it hurts him.

Once that’s taken care of the Simpsons race to the hospital, where Apu and Sanjay are being hospitalized for their wounds from the destruction. They chat with the brothers, and see that they’ve both very irritated. And, much to Apu’s horror, Sanjay announces that he’s done with the Kwik-E-Mart, and will be retiring. Apu tries to talk him out of it, but Sanjay says that his son Jamshed, or Jay as he likes to be called now, will be taking his shares of the Kwik-E-Mart and running the store with Apu.

Apu doesn’t like this idea, but he agrees, and after several months of recuperating he gets out of the hospital and heads to the Kwik-E-Mart. He’s worried about what shape it’ll be in after being completely rebuilt, but he’s absolutely shocked at what it looks like. Because it sure isn’t the Kwik-E-Mart anymore. Jay has transformed it into the Quick and Fresh, an upscale hipster bodega. And Apu is not pleased.

But, Apu doesn’t really get a say. It turns out that Apu once had a real problem with a gambling addiction, and used lotto scratchers like crazy. He kept putting himself in debt, and to buy himself out he’d just give Sanjay more and more control of the franchise. And, now, Jay is the majority owner of the franchise, so whatever he says goes. And he wants the Kwik-E-Mart to become something very new and different, and Apu just has to deal with it.

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Meanwhile we see that Bart is actually fulfilling his promise to Homer not to pull pranks any more. He’s trying to be good now, and even passes up golden prank opportunities like dropping a hive of bees onto a sunbathing Superintendent Chalmers. Milhouse is a little horrified by this, and even tries to tempt Bart by showing him Principal Skinner on a cherry picker right next to Springfield Gorge. But, Bart passes over the opportunity, and decides that Milhouse will be the new bad boy of Springfield.

Apu has been trying his best to get used to his new life in the Quick and Fresh, and he absolutely hates it. He becomes bitter about his new job, and Homer decides to try and cheer him up. Apu, Manjula, Homer, and Marge then go out to Luigi’s to try and have a nice evening. Unfortunately, Jay also shows up with some of his friends, and a drunk Apu can’t hold his tongue. He goes and yells at his nephew, and the two get into a massive fight. He even calls Apu a massive stereotype. Which, you know, yeah.

And this fight proves to be the final straw. Because Apu now becomes a bitter and jaded mess at the Quick and Fresh, leaving Jay no choice but to fire his uncle. Apu is completely defeated at this point, and of course ends up finding his way to Moe so that he can begin his trip to rock bottom in the correct fashion. However, the Barflies get talking with Apu, and decide that they want to help him. And, the only idea they have is to use Bart to prank Jay in some way that will destroy him.

Homer isn’t really on board with this, because he’s enjoying the new and improved Bart. But, after several beers he heads home and drunkenly wakes Bart up, floating the idea that he goes back to his bad ways. Bart is a little shocked, and Homer realizes what a terrible plan this is, and tries to walk it back. But, when Bart starts thinking of the idea to go back to his pranking ways, he can’t get it out of his head, and becomes evil Bart once again.

Bart and Milhouse then come up with a plan to destroy the Quick and Fresh. Because everything inside is organic he decides to cut the power to the building so the lack of refrigeration will cause everything to spoil. And it works. The power shuts down, all of the food spoils, and all the customers flee, ruining Jay. But, when Bart turns the power back on things go wrong, and the Quick and Fresh ends up starting a fire. The volunteer firefighters arrive to help, but because they used all of their water earlier in the episode, they’re unable to help, and the Quick and Fresh is destroyed. Apu comes to help his nephew, and in the wreckage they find one final lotto scratcher. Apu scratches it, and ends up winning enough money to rebuild the Kwik-E-Mart, as it was, and puts everything back to normal.

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As far as Apu episodes go this one wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t one of the worst. I like Apu as a character. He’s obviously rather problematic, and I really look forward to checking out that new documentary about him and South Asian representation, The Problem With Apu, but overall he’s a character I like quite a bit. And, I think the idea of having Apu grapple with the idea that people don’t really like or use crappy convenience stores that much anymore is a good one. I just think having most of the episode being based around Apu fighting with his millennial nephew who hates everything he stands for is a weird choice. Plus, as a dork, it bugs me that last time we saw Jamshed he was a toddler, and now he gets to be a college graduate while Maggie is still a toddler. But that’s dumb, I just needed to get it off my chest. As it stands, this is a decent Apu episode, it just kind of feels like one that I’ll quickly be forgetting, especially because no one ends up learning anything, and nothing in Apu’s life has changed.

Take Away: Apparently, it’s perfectly fine to fear and hate the future. Because gambling will save you.

 

“Much Apu About Something” was written by Michael Price and directed by Bob Anderson, 2016.

 

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