People can't get enough as South Park savages The Simpsons over ongoing Apu race controversy
It's a general rule that wherever there is controversy, there is South Park.
The show's creators showed, once again, that they didn't shy away from contentious issues when they dove into The Simpsons Apu Nahasapeemapetilon dispute this week, brutally trolling the much-loved cartoon for their alleged racial stereotyping.
The Simpsons came under fire after a 2017 documentary film, The Problem with Apu, explored encounters with negative stereotypes, racial microaggressions and slurs against people of Indian and South Asian heritage disseminated through the character.
Show creator Matt Groening later dismissed the controversies claiming: "I’m proud of what we do on the show. And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended."
However, the outrage lived on. So much, in fact, that South Park has jumped into the fray.
Despite normally maintaining a friendly relationship with their rivals, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone removed the gloves and got down to business for their latest episode, much to many fans' delight - and The Simpsons wasn't their only target, with Roseanne Barr, President Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh also being roasted.
Named 'The Problem with a Poo' - a play on the title of the critical documentary - the episode focused on a character named Mr Hanky who gets into serious trouble for tweeting vile messages, an apparent nudge at President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh.
When Mr Hanky is called out on his tweets, he blames the "bad jokes" on Ambien, exactly what Roseanne Barr did when she tweeted a racist message that led to her being fired from her self-titled ABC show.
The Simpsons wasn't directly referenced until the episode's very final moments. As Mr Hankey is forced to leave town, Stan asks where he will go. His father Randy responds: "He’ll have to go to a place that accepts racist, awful beings like him. There are still places out there who don’t care about bigotry and hate."
Immediately after, the scene cuts to Springfield where Mr Hankey is greeted by Apu. "Welcome, my friend," he tells him. "Please, rest your weary feet and make yourself at home."
Afterwards, the hashtag #cancelthesimpsons appears on the screen before the credits roll, a change from the usual #cancelsouthpark.
People on social media were left gobsmacked at the episode's ending, with many claiming that shots had been fired.
One Twitter going by the username of @WorldofIsaac wrote: "Holy crap, South Park just put The Simpsons in a bodybag". He was joined by @SneakerBuddha who put: "Southpark & The Simpsons out here beefing harder than modern day rappers..."
However, others insisted that the storyline was an obvious satire of how ridiculous and PC society had become.
"Only @SouthPark can make fun of the fake Apu outrage and give a nod to The Simpsons standing strong while simultaneously appearing to trash them. Letting Apu greet a poo was key to the joke and is simply brilliant. #cancelthesimpsons" wrote @matt_eissey.
@hayleymiller01 agreed, tweeting: "um. pretty sure matt stone and trey parker are trolling people who actually want to
#cancelthesimpsons with this ending."
So, what about The Simpsons showrunners? How did they take the whole thing? Screenwriter and producer Al Jean told The Hollywood Reporter that the whole thing was obviously a joke, stating:
"It's actually in favour of us saying people are too critical. Hari Kondabolu [one of the most outspoken critics of the Apu character] tweeted he thought they agreed with him but pulled the comments showing he was wrong. All season the show has had a #cancelsouthpark hashtag so my response (which I tweeted) is: #pleasedontcancelsouthpark."
It's nice to see that the two competitors have each other's backs.