Recap / The Simpsons S 7 E 23 Much Apu About Nothing
Episode - 3F20
First Aired - 5/5/1996

Anti-illegal immigrant fever sweeps town after taxes get raised over bear extermination, and Apu faces deportation unless Homer and co. can help him pass his citizenship exam.


  • Bait-and-Switch: After Apu reveals that he, too, is an illegal immigrant, Homer (one of the major proponents of the anti-immigration bill) has an empathetic expression and admits, "I got so swept up in the scapegoating and fun of Proposition 24 I never stopped to think it might affect someone I cared about. You know what, Apu?.... I'm really, really gonna miss you." And proceeds to staple an "I want you OUT" poster next to him.
    • Later, during the party held to celebrate Apu's recently-gained American citizenship, Homer makes a speech that convinces the attendees to vote against Proposition 24. It still passes with a landslide.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Parodied. The appearance of a bear invokes a city-wide panic across Springfield that sets the plot into motion, but the actual bear did no harm by itself and never once showed aggression.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Apu gets his American citizenship, but the anti-immigration proposition is still passed and Groundskeeper Willie is deported.
  • Body Wipe: Use this near the beginning where Homer tries to get beer from the fridge. "Let's all calm down. Everyone's going to be just fine. As long as I have enough beers."
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Manjula first appeared as a little girl in Apu's flashback, in which Apu tells her that he is sorry that their arranged marriage will not happen, before he travels to the U.S. She comes back in "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" where Apu finds that he can't escape his arranged marriage with her.
  • Democracy Is Bad: Stated by Homer after a proposition is passed that requires all illegal immigrants to be deported.
  • Description Cut: In the end, Marge is happy that things worked out for everyone. The next scene shows Groundskeeper Willie being deported.
  • Entitled Bastard: The Springfielders want round-the-clock anti-bear security across the city, but don't want to actually pay for it.
  • False Cause/Insane Troll Logic: an isolated bear attack leads the mayor to fund a massive Bear Patrol scheme. Homer claims that the lack of bears proves the Bear Patrol works, at which point Lisa points out that you might as well say that a rock keeps tigers away, since she's holding the rock, and she can't see any tigers. Homer's response? "Lisa, I want to buy your rock."
    • The town quickly accepts that immigrants are the reason why their taxes are so high, even though the reason for the increase in taxes was because of the bear patrol they wanted so much.
  • Fantastic Racism: Everyone in Springfield has this toward bears.
  • Foreshadowing: In the flashback of Apu leaving India, he says goodbye to a girl named Manjula, and apologizes that their arranged marriage won't come to pass. A couple seasons later...
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Apu attended the Springfield Heights Institute of Technology.
  • Guilt by Association Gag: A rather dark one. The people of Springfield originally said they were just going to get rid of illegal immigrants. Instead, they tried to get rid of immigrants period.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Panic over bears (actually a bear) leads to backlashing against immigrants.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Apu, after he shamelessly rejects his heritage, buys a fake passport and fears deportation.
  • Hidden Depths: Apu is revealed to have a master's degree in computer science as well as an extensive knowledge of U.S. history.
  • Honor Before Reason: Apu tries to save himself from deportation by buying a fake passport and "acting American", but drops the charade when he feels like he's betrayed his heritage.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Homer went to bed after telling Apu sleeping was for the weak.
    • Moe is vehemently opposed to illegal immigrants, but is later seen taking the citizenship test in disguise.
    • Not to mention Moe criticizing immigrants for not learning to speak English properly while mispronouncing the word immigrant, and Barney's following string of drunken gibberish.
  • Jerkass: When Uter the foreign exchange student is picked on by other kids for being a foreigner, Principal Skinner sides with them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When the angry mob descends on Quimby a second time due to the raised taxes necessary to pay for the Bear Patrol that they demanded (and which they refuse to give up). It's hard not to sympathize with him when he says "Are these morons getting dumber, or just louder?"
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Homer was initially caught up in fever of Proposition 24, and wasn't very sympathetic when Apu told him he might be deported, but resolves to help him after his breakdown.
  • Jury Duty: After getting his citizenship, Apu receives a letter summoning him for jury duty and he happily takes it as a sign he's now an American. Then he casually tosses the letter at a wastebasket. It contradicts another episode where Apu was a juror.
  • Kick the Dog: The horrible treatment that immigrants suffer at the hands of Springfieldites. Special mention goes to the elementary school students (and Skinner) picking on Uter, a foreign exchange student who came to America legally. Even NED FLANDERS joins in!
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Let's just say its a good thing Homer was born in America and never has to take a citizenship test.
  • Literary Allusion Title: "Much Apu About Nothing" is named after William Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing.
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Apu originally emigrated to the US to attend college.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: One of the Bear Patrol's weapons? A stealth bomber.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Apu mispronounces the NY (New York) Mets as "the Nye Mets".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Moe's disguise for the citizenship test? A false mustache which drops off when he's not looking.
  • Pet the Dog: Groundskeeper Willie leaps to Uter's defense when the rest of the school starts picking on him for being an immigrant.
    Willie: "Ya want to pick on immigrants? Then pick on Willie!"
  • Rousing Speech: Homer gives one against Proposition 24.
    Homer: Most of us here were born in America. We take this country for granted. But not immigrants like Apu. While the rest of us are drinking ourselves stupid, they're driving the cabs that get us home safely. They're writing the operas that entertain us every day. They're training our tigers and kicking our extra points. These people are the glue that holds together the gears of our society. If we pass Proposition 24, we'll be losing some of the truest Americans of all. When you go to the polls tomorrow, please vote no on Proposition 24.
  • Shout-Out: The belief that picnic baskets have been stolen by a smarter than average bear.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The bear is quickly disposed of but what happens afterwards is based on people's reactions for its mere presence.
  • Think of the Children!: Helen Lovejoy does this both times when the mob approaches the mayor.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: It is the townspeople's angry response to the "Bear Crisis", and they march on town hall:
    Mayor's Aide: Sir, an unruly mob is here to see you.
    Mayor Quimby: Does it have an appointment?
    Mayor's Aide: (checks his clipboard) Yes.
    Principal Skinner: (pops his head in) I phoned ahead!
    • Later, they march again against high taxes, which were the result of having to fund the "Bear Patrol" that they were campaigning to get during the first march. Which they apparently thought would be a free service. Quimby is not entirely without the audience's sympathy when he remarks:
      Mayor Quimby: Are these morons getting dumber, or just louder?
      Mayor's Aide: Dumber, sir. They won't give up the bear patrol, but they won't pay the tax for it either.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: An anti-immigrant sign reading "I want you...OUT".
  • Unreveal Angle: Homer tries to locate Springfield on the map, he points near Chicago. Lisa corrects him, but the view of her pointing at the correct location is obscured by Bart's head.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The bear, epically. It doesn't do anything to harm people, it comes across and just walks around and sits down curiously. Yet, people go into a mass panic. The incident is what spearheads the Bear Patrol and later on starts Proposition 24 when the citizens refuse to pay taxes for it.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Pretty much invoked when Homer tries to locate Springfield on a map, and points near Chicago (note that the state capital of Illinois is named Springfield). Lisa says that that's nowhere near Springfield, and indicates the right location, which we're prevented from seeing when Bart blocks the view.
    Apu: Oh, this is so confusing. I don't even know where I'm getting kicked out of anymore.
  • Windmill Crusader: The people of Springfield form an angry mob and demand the town government do something to protect them from "constant bear attacks". All because a total of one bear wandered into town, destroyed one mailbox, and was swiftly and painlessly taken down by Animal Control. Naturally, the mayor forms a "Bear Patrol" and passes the cost onto the taxpayers.
  • X Days Since: The sign outside the federal building reads "131 years without a Civil War."