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Television Media

Homer Becomes Omar 840

geekster writes "With Omar as Homer, and Badr substituted for Bart, The Simpsons is now playing on Arab television. But in order not to risk offending an Arab audience, the characters in Al Shamshoon, as the show is now called, have modified some of their most distinguishable traits." And you thought internationalization was hard for software!
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Homer Becomes Omar

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  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:10PM (#13838871) Homepage Journal
    [comic book guy voice]Worst...Adaptation...EVER![/comic book guy voice]

    Come on, you all were thinking it, Homer without the H or beer or hot dogs or bacon- eeeew.
    • by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) <fidelcatsro&gmail,com> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:24PM (#13839040) Journal
      No TV and No Beer makes homer Something Something
      Go crazy
      Don't mind if I do ...

      God I hate it when people rip out the core of something because it may be offensive ..What a bunch of Melon farmers*

      *Melon Farmers is a reference to the BBC TV cut of "Repo Man" where the words Mother-fucker were replaced by Melon farmer
      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:45PM (#13839242) Homepage
        God I hate it when people rip out the core of something because it may be offensive ..What a bunch of Melon farmers*

        *Melon Farmers is a reference to the BBC TV cut of "Repo Man" where the words Mother-fucker were replaced by Melon farmer

        I've heard TBS edit such things as "Melon-Funnin'" when it was the -ing variant as opposed to the -ers variant.

        Melon-Funnin' just sounds like it should be illegal to me.

        • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:51PM (#13839296)
          The real burning question regarding an arabic simpons edit: Who's working at the Kwik-E-Mart?

          I mean, I'm sure guys like Apu working at convenience stores is a much less common sight in Syria than it is in the American midwest. Would they even get the joke over there?
          • by Spetiam ( 671180 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @05:04PM (#13839413) Journal
            I'm interested to see what they do about Krusty, who's Jewish.

            Remember that episode where Sideshow Bob programs Bart, while wearing a suicide bomber's belt, to hug Krusty and blow him up? In the original version: ...yet another "kill Krusty" scheme, this time by hypnotizing Bart into becoming a suicide bomber and killing Krusty on the show. However, at the last minute, Krusty makes an on-air apology to Sideshow Bob for all the pain he's caused him, causing Sideshow Bob to have a change of heart. Sideshow Bob warns everybody that Bart is a bomb, prompting Krusty's monkey to swoop in and throw the bomb away [] (the only people hurt are the evil network executives, whose body parts merge into a T-1000 like monster).

            With "Badr" as the new protagonist, what happens in that episode now?

            Did I just give away the ending?
          • by El Torico ( 732160 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @05:24PM (#13839615)
            Actually, in the Persian (or Arabian) Gulf States, nearly all of the convenience stores (known as cold stores) are run by Indians, so they can keep Apu.

          • Warning spoiler
            Apu was kidnapped at age 4 from his family in bangladesh and forced in to slave labor as a "professional" camel jockey in Qatar. After out grow the profession he was kicked to the curb where he was hired by a wealthy Arab merchant and works an 18 hour shift at the Kwik-E-Mart, soon he'll be able to afford a ticket home if his till doesn't keep coming up short and he sells his extra cornea and kidney; as his room and board only take 16 hours of work a day.
      • by Ambient Sheep ( 458624 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:50PM (#13839289)
        Melon Farmers is a reference to the BBC TV cut of "Repo Man" where the words Mother-fucker were replaced by Melon farmer

        I believe the alterations were made by Alex Cox, the director, himself, in response to the BBC's request for cuts so that it could be shown. So he decided to go completely and humorously over-the-top in censoring his own film, partly to make a point, one suspects.

        See []

      • by VoiceOfRaisin ( 554019 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:56PM (#13839337)
        Melon Farmers is a reference to the BBC TV cut of "Repo Man" where the words Mother-fucker were replaced by Melon farmer

        On Canadian television, "mother fucker" is often censored to "*blank* fucker". yes, they cut out mother and leave the fucker. Im totally serious.
      • by gordon_schumway ( 154192 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @05:31PM (#13839687)

        ...What a bunch of Melon farmers...

        This is what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps!

      • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Friday October 21, 2005 @12:11AM (#13842147)
        When the American 60's TV situation comedy "Hogan's Heroes" was finally able to be shown in Germany, there was the delicate issue of the various 'Heil Hitler' salutes done by the various Nazi officers. Delicate because this gesture is illegal (as I understand it) on television shows in the post-war German Republic.
            So, (I'm been told) whenever anyone makes a stiff arm salute, the voice-over dubbing says "Look how high the corn grows!".
            I wonder if young Germans ever insult their bosses and superiors by calling them 'corn growers' as an oblique reference to their acting like fascist assholes.
    • Aw, don't have a camel, man!
  • D'oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Misanthrope ( 49269 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:11PM (#13838888)
    D'oh has now been changed to lâ ilâha illâ allâh
  • by It doesn't come easy ( 695416 ) * on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:11PM (#13838891) Journal
    Taking Homer and stripping out all of the Americanisms isn't going to make it funny to people with a mideast cultural sense of humor (it would probably be funnier if they just left the Americanisms in). Homer is a success in America because we are laughing at ourselves. I would bet Omar could be as much of a success if the show could present the same kind of local irreverent humor about life there like it does for life in the US.
  • by LittleGuernica ( 736577 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:11PM (#13838893) Homepage
    The also must be asking what evil people use nuclear power instead of that delicious arab oil! Is the nuclear power plant digitally edited into a oil refinery?
  • More deadly than Saddam, eh? Methinks that episode with either be neutered or omitted...

    Now for all the other Obligatory Simpsons Quotes. Please keep them all to this thread, lest we quell serious discussion on Slash— oh, never mind.

  • by Prophetic_Truth ( 822032 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:13PM (#13838915)
    Have to wear a Burqa?
  • Changing Homer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SillyNickName4me ( 760022 ) <> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:14PM (#13838918) Homepage
    Even more damning was the response of Al Jean, executive producer of The Simpsons. He said: "If Homer doesn't drink and eat bacon and generally act like a pig, which I guess is also against Islam, then it's not Homer."

    Sums it up quite nicely I think.. not having seen this of course.
  • Apu? (Score:4, Funny)

    by OneByteOff ( 817710 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:15PM (#13838939)
    So instead of Apu the Quik-E Mart guy you have... Joe... The Scumy cashier at the Adult Bookstore... Omar : Yes I'd like some lube, gay porn magazines, vibrating finger rings, Goatse DVD 2 and some Illegal fireworks.. Joe : Sir, we don't have any fucking illegal fireworks... *whispers* right this way... */whispers*
  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:15PM (#13838941)
    "Arabisation is going to boom in these next few years," she told the Wall Street Journal. "We're such an impressionable people and we aspire so much to be like the West, that we take on anything that we believe is a symbol or a manifestation of Western culture."

    Oh bother. Why can't you just keep your own cultural identity instead of trying to be the same as us? Homogenizing the world just makes it a more boring place.
    • by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:30PM (#13839099) Homepage Journal
      Why can't you just keep your own cultural identity instead of trying to be the same as us?

      Fark that! I can't wait to start downloading subtitled copies of the arab-language Simpsons.

      Heck, if this new Simpsons catches on, maybe certain societies will start to accept that self-ridicule can be both constructive and funny.

      You can't keep a human culture under glass, sterile and preserved for all eternity. Cultures grow and evolve -- the strongest ones have no problem taking in new ideas and putting their own spin on them.
    • Homogenizing the world just makes it a more boring place.

      That's why they're Homer -genizing it!

    • by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:33PM (#13839133) Homepage Journal
      War throughout history has been one of the most effective disseminators of culture. The most pussiant example may be the conquests of Alexander and the subsequent spreading of Hellenic culture. Alexander, a student of Aristotle, (interestingly neither seems to have had much, if anything to say about the other) spread Hellenic culture and, likely, instigated the trade that would come to travel the Silk Road. The Silk Road is the first broadband link between east and west.

      The recent violence of Sept. 11 and the Iraq war has had an immense impact on the psyche of both peoples. This will translate into a deeper knowledge of each other and, hopefully, more understanding.

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Knowledge of one's enemies transmutes to some extent in a sharing of cultures. Violence, as the ultimate virus, might be seen as injecting plasmids into each sides cultural DNA.

  • Doki Doki Panic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oxen ( 879661 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:16PM (#13838947)
    This reminds me of the Doki Doki Panic/smb2 incident. Super Mario 2 was originally a Fuji Television promotion starring an arabian family called Doki Doki Panic. The people at Nintendo USA thought the Japanese version of SMB2 was too difficult, so they changed the Arabian characters in Doki Doki Panic to Mario and his friends. It's a really interesting story. Check out more here. []
  • by Otter ( 3800 )
    It's an improvement on the current TV situation there, which is Everybody Loves Raymond and Law and Order on even more relentlessly than they are in the US. At least here we have shows about building custom motorcycles to round out the last 8 hours of the day.
  • What will Apu sound like now? Like Homer?
  • by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:19PM (#13838983)
    Lisa is stoned to death when Badr steals her burka while playing in a park and Omar is pummeled when he is found with contraband spare ribs and a copy of Maxim
  • by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:20PM (#13838996) Homepage
    You do realize he's not an arab, right? Right?
    • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:48PM (#13839266)

      Rev. Lovejoy: The lesson is that all of God's children can come together and help their fellow man, whether they be (motions to Flanders) Christian, (motions to Krusty), Jewish, or (motions to Apu).....Miscellaneous!
      Apu (annoyed): Hindu. HINDU! There are 600 million of us, you know.
      Rev. Lovejoy: Oh, that's super!

      Paraphrased, but you get the idea.
  • ...Or maybe the second time, when all "obligatory Simpsons quote" is Ontopic.

    What's become of the cross screen adaptation for the Simpsons Movie? Has Brooks or Groaning [spelling funny] let any tidbits slip about it yet?
  • Why did they even bother?
  • Does anyone know if there are video clips and/or screen captures of this foreign show? I am curious on how this show looked. I wasn't able to find any when I last searched when I heard about it a few weeks ago.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:26PM (#13839057)
    There's a movie in France called "Les visiteurs" (the visitors). It's a hilarious movie about some middle-age french aristocrat and his servant time-travelling into our age and messing things up right and left. The movie is very funny... in France, because it relies almost exclusively on twists of the French language, and on French cultural references. I heard this movie was adapted to the US market and did a perfect flop there.

    Well I believe it'll be the same for Omar Simpson: the original Homer is funny because it deforms and amplifies flaws in the US society. It's reasonably funny in many western countries, because the american culture is kind of universal, and even when it's dubbed, it's not too hard to understand half of the jokes (many very US-centric jokes are lost in France, Sweden or Spain though, particularly those involving famous personalities known only to the US public).

    But in countries far from westerm values, and not as developed, with different and sometimes stricter sets of moral values, adapting the Simpsons to suit these people will suck the marrow out of the bone. It'll the arab version of the US "the visitors" flop. Either give them the full unabridged, ashamedly US version of Homer and let half of them love it and the other half hate it, or give them Omar and let all of them hate it.
    • by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:58PM (#13839353)
      It's reasonably funny in many western countries, because the american culture is kind of universal, and even when it's dubbed, it's not too hard to understand half of the jokes (many very US-centric jokes are lost in France, Sweden or Spain though, particularly those involving famous personalities known only to the US public).

      First of all, in Sweden The Simpsons is not dubbed, it's subtitled like just about every other foreign (non-swedish, it's sad that I feel the need to add this) show.

      Also, while there probably are a few US-centric jokes that most viewers don't get you'd probably be surprised at how many of these "famous personalities known only to the US public" are actually if not famous in Sweden then at least well-known enough that quite a lot of the viewers get the jokes. Hell, there are enough people in Sweden who know enough about bad US movies and tv shows from the 80's to make Family guy popular... So once again, you'd be surprised at just how much we know of american culture.


  • by St. Vitus ( 26355 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:34PM (#13839138)
    "Don't have a camel, man!"
  • by halivar ( 535827 ) <{bfelger} {at} {}> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:51PM (#13839297)
    I, for one, welcome our new American overlords.

    Okay, I'm sorry. That was insensitive and I should never have pressed the submit button.
  • also of note (Score:4, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .erauqssemitelcric.> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:54PM (#13839314) Homepage Journal
    albert brooks is making to make a movie called "looking for comedy in the muslim world" []

    In "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World," he plays a comedian sent by the State Department to India and Pakistan with a couple of minders to find out what makes Muslims laugh, so everyone can get along better in the post-9/11 world.

    He says he got the idea before U.S. President George W. Bush appointed close adviser Karen Hughes to be undersecretary of state for public diplomacy charged with countering the negative U.S. image among Muslims.

    Brooks says most of the jokes in the movie are aimed at Americans and there are no religious references at all, even though he was allowed to film in a mosque in India.

    "I steered clear of religion in this movie. There's no mention of the Koran -- the whole point of the movie is looking for comedy, not looking for God. I was allowed to film in the biggest mosque in India and when I told the imam the plot of the movie he started to laugh."

    personally i think this is a wonderful project, it's a shame he's already having skittish reaction from hollywood execs

    if we could just laugh more, in both the muslim world, and the west, at each other, how awesome a leap into a better world would that be?
  • er... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Morinaga ( 857587 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @04:58PM (#13839355)
    Do Arab countries have...

    7-11s run by Indian guys
    Nuclear Power Plants
    Catholic or Christian churches with Evangelical stereotypes
    Comic book stores
    Nursing homes
    Tom and Jerry
    American Football, Politics, National Forests, and dive bars?

    If not, how is a majority of this humor going to translate? It's a heavy parody of American culture. I'm just not sure how that's supposed to sell.

    • Re:er... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @07:54PM (#13840798) Homepage
      It's called localisation.

      In Quebec, the Simpsons are the same episodes at what you see in the states. There has been a number of translated signs but they've been mostly subtitled. However, the dialog content is extremely localized, to a point where the same episode in french canadian and US english are actually more like two different episodes. Let me give you an example;

      There's an episode where Krusty ends up facing his daughter for the first time, wich he ignored the existence of. He explains how he meet her mother in the first Iraq war where they both served and that after a torrid night of sex, she had missed her rendez-vous point where she could have sniper-shot Sadam. They loose each-other, she gives birth and since has been very angry at Krusty. So far, same episode in Quebec and US. But when Krusty enters this little girl's apartment, he sees paintings of dead and murdered clowns painted by her mother. in Quebec, krusty exclaims "Wow... on dirait Murielle Millard sur l'acide!".

      Just thinking of that makes me laugh, still.

      It translates to "Wow, it looks like Murielle Millard on acids". That's is. nothing else. This stuff is purely localized top-culture material. you'd have to know that Murielle Millard is a top class theater actrice, a class act woman, always proper and that also had a signing and acting career earlier on. A few years ago, she held her own paintings varnishing expo in a classy arts gallery in Montréal. It made the news. Most (all?) her painting were of clowns.

      Pure comedy for grown-ups. I'm laughing again.

      That's how the Simpsons can be well localized. Even for arabs. Two arab friends where I work were laughing already at Homer's donuts becoming Omar's [insert-arab-round-cake-pastry-name-wich-I-forgot- here]. It may very well be a hit.
  • Poetic Justice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @05:03PM (#13839408)
    As a person who is not a citizen of the US .. I cringe every time I see a US adaption of classic non-US work. It seems as if the American audience can't consume anything that is not made safe for them by converting it to a local reference point. Case in point, all the British sitcoms that have been remade over the years. Trying to take something that does not naturally occur in your culture and then (figuratively) bashing it around the head to make it fit does not result in a work with the same or better quality as the original.

    So to all you people beating on the Arabic adaption of the Simpsons, all I can say is welcome to how the rest of the world sees what you do to non-US culture.
    • Re:Poetic Justice (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bani ( 467531 )
      unadulterated british sitcoms are nicely popular on american tv, eg PBS. they don't get run on the commercial networks but there are still plenty of fans who watch it in its untouched original format (excluding the PAL->NTSC conversion of course :) doctor who while not being a sitcom, has a decent enough audience in the US. there are many unadulterated british programs which run just fine on american tv.

      there are exceptions of course, all in the family [] was a remake of the british series "Till Death Do Us
  • Ayatollah (Score:3, Funny)

    by highwaytohell ( 621667 ) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @11:45PM (#13842030)
    Will Homer be wearing his Ayatolla Assaholla T-Shirt at all? Wonder how they'd react to that

    Marge and Homer go through old things in the attic in preparation for the big sale.

    Marge: Can we get rid of this Ayatollah T-shirt [it says: "Ayatolla Assaholla"]? Khomeini died years ago.

    Homer: But, Marge! It works on any Ayatollah: Ayatollah Nakhbadeh, Ayatollah Zahedi... even as we speak, Ayatollah Razmada and his cadre of fanatics are consolidating their power.

    from The Simpsons, "Two Bad Neighbors" (3F09)
    airdate: 14-Jan-96

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