Monday, October 17, 2005



On Friday the Wall St. Journal reported that The Simpsons is being translated into Arabic and sanitized for Middle Eastern audiences:

"Omar Shamshoon," as he is called on the show, looks like the same Homer Simpson, but he has given up beer and bacon, which are both against Islam, and he no longer hangs out at "seedy bars with bums and lowlifes." In Arabia [sic], Homer's beer is soda, and his hot dogs are barbequed Egyptian beef sausages. And the donut-shaped snacks he gobbles are the traditional Arab cookies called kahk.

Bart Simpson is now called "Badr."

The Simpsons is debuting now because Middle Eastern TV viewership spikes during Ramadan, and Saudi-owned MBC would like to get Al-Shamshoon off to a good start. But some observers quoted in the WSJ article are worried that Springfield's first family just won't translate:

One blogger wrote, "'Hi-diddly-ho, neighbors!' How the h— are they going to translate that? Or this great quote: Mr. Burns: Oooh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys! Nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese."

But it could work. After all, South Park was translated for Kuwaiti TV, according to Tunisian blogger SubZero Blue, who was skeptical of the whole project back in September. (He also sounds a tad resentful that the Egyptian dialect will be used for Al-Shamshoon.)

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