How do you translate a comedy chock-full of cultural references? Badly, it would appear. From D’oh! Arabized Simpsons Aren’t Getting Many Laughs:
When an Arab satellite TV network, MBC, decided to introduce ‘The Simpsons’ to the Middle East, they knew the family would have to make some fundamental lifestyle changes.
‘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, 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.
An Arabized ‘Simpsons’ — called ‘Al Shamshoon’ — made its debut in the Arab world earlier this month, in time for Ramadan, a time of high TV viewership.