Production and Cultural References
"The Sweetest Apu" was written by former Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder and directed by director Matthew Nastuk. It was first broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on May 5, 2002. After seeing Apu cheating on Manjula with the squishee girl, an extensive scene in which Homer dramatically backs out of the room, into the Simpson house and into his bed is shown. The scene was conceived by episode writer Swartzwelder. Another scene in the episode shows Apu breaking up with the Squishee lady in front of her house. Originally, police chief Clancy Wiggum would be seen in a robe inside the house, implying that other men in Springfield cheat on their wives as well, however it was dismissed because the writers thought it would look "too sad." Originally, Swartzwelder wanted the kama sutra sex position in the episode to show several arms and legs "sticking out in crazy positions," however it received a censor note and the Simpsons staff were allowed to show "less and less" of it as time progressed.
The episode features American writer and actor James Lipton, host of the television program Inside the Actors Studio, as himself. The divorce lawyer was portrayed by series regular voice actor Hank Azaria, and was based on "many lawyers that the writing staff had faced," according to current show runner Al Jean. Professor Frink's steam-powered "Super-spider" seen during the reenactment is a reference to the 1999 steampunk film Wild Wild West. One of Apu's promises to Manjula is to get a comic strip printed in The New Yorker. American photographer Richard Avedon is also mentioned in the episode.
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