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Apuu
Thank you. Come again.
~ Apu's famous quote
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (play /əˈpuː nəˌhɑːsəˌpiːməˈpɛtəlɒn/) is a character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Hank Azaria and first appeared in the episode "The Telltale Head". Apu is the proprietor of the Kwik-E-Mart, a popular convenience store in Springfield, and a good friend of Homer Simpson and his family. He is also an Indian immigrant.

Role in The Simpsons

Biography

Apu is a naturalised U.S. citizen and holds a Ph.D. degree in computer science. He graduated first in his class of seven million at 'Caltech' — Calcutta Technical Institute — going on to earn his doctorate at the Springfield Heights Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T.). Apu began working at the Kwik-E-Mart during his college years to pay off his student loan, but stayed afterward as he had come to enjoy his job and the friends he had made. He remained an illegal immigrant until Mayor Quimby proposed a municipal law to expel all undocumented aliens. Apu responded by purchasing a forged birth certificate from the Springfield Mafia that listed his parents as U.S. citizens Herb and Judy Nahasapeemapetilon, but when he realized he was forsaking his origins, he abandoned this plan and instead successfully managed to pass his citizenship test with help from Lisa and Homer Simpson. Thus, he refers to himself as a "semi-legal immigrant". During 1985, Apu was a member of the barbershop quartet The Be Sharps along with Homer Simpson, Barney Gumble, and Seymour Skinner. Upon the advice of the band manager Nigel, Apu took the stage name Apu de Beaumarchais (a reference to Beaumarchais, author of The Barber of Seville). Apu is also a vegan (as revealed in "Lisa the Vegetarian"), and is rumored to be a big fan of the Cheap Trick song, "Dream Police" even though he knows the words imperfectly.

Family

In the episode "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons", Apu enjoys a brief period as Springfield's leading ladies' man after being spontaneously drawn into a bachelor auction. He spends the days following the auction on a whirlwind of dates. These come to a sudden halt when his mother announces it is time for his arranged marriage to a woman named Manjula, whom he had not seen in years. Apu tries to wriggle out of the arrangement at first but is won over when he meets Manjula face-to-face, and the two decide to give the marriage a try (Manjula notes nonchalantly that they can always get a divorce). Later the two actually do fall in love. In the episode "Eight Misbehavin'", Manjula receives too many doses of fertility drugs from herself, Apu, and the well-meaning, but unsynchronized, Simpsons. This leads to her giving birth to octuplets: Anoop, Uma, Nabendu, Poonam, Priya, Sandeep, Sashi, and Gheet. During the episode "Bart-Mangled Banner", when the town changes its name to Libertyville to be patriotic, Apu changes his children's names to Lincoln, Freedom, Condoleezza, Coke, Pepsi, Manifest Destiny, Apple Pie, and Superman.

Apu and Manjula have a mostly happy marriage, despite understandable marital problems caused by Apu's workaholic nature and long hours, and the strain of caring for eight children. A further strain came up when Apu was unfaithful to Manjula, and one of his punishments was to legally change his name to Slime Q. Slimedog. He and his family are devout Hindus.

Sanjay, Apu's brother, helps run the Kwik-E-Mart. Sanjay has a daughter named Pahasatira, and a son named Jamshed. They all share the Nahasapeemapetilon surname. Apu has another younger brother, who is only mentioned in "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons". When Apu's and Manjula's parents were first arranging their marriage, Apu was shown on a chart as the oldest of three. Apu also has a cousin living in India named Kavi, who was the voice of Angel Espinosa, who helped Homer while he was in India. He works for several American companies taking service calls using American, cowboy, and Jamaican accents.

Other appearances

Apu is a playable character in The Simpsons Hit & Run video game. His quest in the game is to redeem himself for unknowingly selling the tainted Buzz Cola that has driven the residents of Springfield insane. Apu also makes an appearance in The Simpsons Road Rage as a passenger. You can also play him if you unlock him.

Character

Apu first appeared in the season one episode "The Telltale Head". While creating the character, the writers decided they would not make him ethnic. They felt it would be too offensive and stereotypical and did not want to offend viewers. However, at a table read for an episode, Hank Azaria's reading of the line "Hello, Mr. Homer" received a huge laugh from the writers, so the concept stayed. Azaria took Apu's voice from the many Indian convenience store workers in Los Angeles whom he had interacted with when he first moved to the area. He also loosely based it on Peter Sellers' character Hrundi V. Bakshi from the film The Party, whom Azaria thinks has a similar personality to Apu. Apu's first name is an homage to the main character in the Apu trilogy directed by Satyajit Ray. His surname is Nahasapeemapetilon, and it was first used in the episode "A Streetcar Named Marge". It is a morphophonological blend of the name Pahasadee Napetilon, the full name of a schoolmate of Simpsons writer Jeff Martin. In the season seven episode "Lisa the Vegetarian" it is revealed that Apu is vegan.

Apu married Manjula in the episode "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons". Rich Appel first constructed the idea for Apu's marriage. Andrea Martin provided the voice of Apu's mother in the episode, recording her part in New York. She wanted to get the voice perfect, so in between takes she listened to tapes of Hank Azaria reading lines for Apu, to make sure her voice could realistically be Apu's mother's.

Reception

Apu is one of the most prominent South Asian characters on prime-time television in the United States. Hank Azaria has won three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance. Winning in 1998 for his performance as Apu, and again in 2001 for "Worst Episode Ever" and 2003 for "Moe Baby Blues" for voicing several characters, including Apu.

Apu's image has been widely licensed, on items ranging from board games to auto air fresheners. In July 2007, convenience store chain 7-Eleven converted 11 of its stores in the United States and one in Canada into Kwik-E-Marts to celebrate the release of The Simpsons Movie. There was a mild controversy when the promotion offended members of the Indian-American community who felt that Apu is a caricature that plays on too many negative stereotypes. Despite this, 7-Eleven reported that many of its Indian employees reacted positively to the idea, although it was noted that it was "not a 100 percent endorsement".

Quotes

Laminated. You monster!
~ Apu after finding out that his contract has been laminated when he tried to tear it up in "Eight Misbehavin'"

Gallery

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