I remember a trip to Los Angeles back in July 2007. The world was eagerly awaiting the premiere of The Simpsons Movie when they pulled the ultimate marketing stunt: 11 7-Eleven locations in the US and Canada were temporarily transformed into Springfield’s fictional Kwik-E-Mart.
My friends and I found one of the 11 locations and excitedly lined up to get in. Most of us in line were adults, so you could easily guess what age group makes up their core fan base.
It was fun purchasing items that looked like they came straight from the cartoon, such as the Squishee and Homer’s favorite pink frosted donut. The store was also decorated with posters and signs that parodied Apu’s stereotypical personality. Speaking of Apu, they even hired Indian-Americans to take charge of the register. Well, that was the year 2007, so we might get a different reaction from the Twitterverse of 2021.
In 2020, Hank Azaria announced he will no longer provide the voice for the convenience-store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, whose thick accent and cheapskate ways have led to critics calling that character a racist stereotype. Apu’s last notable speaking appearance was in October 2017. Since then, no lines have been given to the famous Kwik-E-Mart clerk.
The Simpsons has come a long way. On April 19, 1987, it started as a series of animated shorts by Life In Hell cartoonist Matt Groening on the Fox sketch comedy series, The Tracey Ullman Show. The Simpsons soon debuted as an independent series on December 17, 1989, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Scroll below for more photos I saved from that fun day in 2007.
Now tell me: What’s your favorite Simpsons episode? Mine is Season 24, Episode 7 (The Day the Earth Stood Cool) when the whole town was invaded by annoying hipsters.