"Thank you, come again!"
Fans of The Simpsons can now visit the world’s first ever permanent replica of the Kwik-E-Mart.
Having opened last week and located in Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, the recreated convenience store from Springfield is designed just as it’s seen in the cartoon – and also allows visitors the chance to buy squishees, Heat Lamp Hot Dogs and Lard Lad Donut as well as Simpsons memorabilia.
“Broadway at the Beach is like no other location,” Mark Cornell, developer from SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment told WBTW. “It really draws a lot of foot traffic walking around and I really think that it’s the perfect first place. I think the Simpsons would come to Myrtle Beach for a vacation.”
He added: “A 64-year-old grandmother, her son and daughter-in-law, and their three children,” Cornell said. “They were all sort of arguing about who were stronger fans, but to see three generations walk through the door that all love The Simpsons, how can you say that about anything else?”
The store is also next door to a ‘Simpsons’-themed cinema called the ‘Aztec Theater’ just like in the show – which is expected to open later this year and offer a ‘4D Simpsons movie experience’.
The Kwik-E-Mart is of course, the store belonging to the character Apu. Apu has been the subject of much debate over the last year, with many viewers finding his depiction of Indian culture as problematic, stereotypical and racist.
“I love Apu. I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad”, said Simpsons creator Matt Groening in response. “But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky. I love the character. I love the show.”
Groening also denied accusations that the character promotes stereotypes, and instead explained how Apu was inspired by his love for Asian culture.
“Back in the day, I named the character after the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray. I love Indian culture and Indian film and Indian music”, he explained.
“I thought that the name was a signal that we had, at least, a scholarly intention. I thought maybe a kid was going to grow up and find out what the name came from and go watch the Apu Trilogy, which are the greatest films, basically, in the history of cinema.”
While it was also reported recently that another Simpsons movie was in the works alongside a Family Guy film, Fox executives recently spoke out on the chances of the show ending any time soon.
Earlier this year, the show became the longest running prime time scripted series in history, after the iconic TV show aired its 636th episode. It will be entering its 30th season this autumn.
While it’s been on the Fox network since its beginnings, the network will soon be separating from 20th Century Fox, who are merging with Disney. This means that Fox will have to license new seasons of the show direct from Disney in the future.