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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Simpsons - in Arabic

A funnier story from Al Bawaba:

he American animated television series, "The Simpsons," is now finally available in the Arab world. simpsonsThe show, renamed “Al Shamshoon”, will be accessible to all viewers in the Middle East, as the show will be dubbed in Arabic for the first time. Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC), a Saudi-owned satellite TV network will air the Arabized version.

The show's main character, Homer, is renamed Omar, while his wily son Bart also adopts a new Arabic name - Badr. Similar changes to fit an Arab audience, including dubbing, will reportedly attempt to win over young audiences across the Middle East.

Such a strategy, though potentially successful as some 60 percent of the region is below the age of 20, may or may not fare well according to some.

Despite hopes on the part of MBC that the series will be as much of a hit in the Arab world and its youth as it has been for years in the US, many are skeptical since much of the series is based on expressly American humor and experience.

Nadia Rahman, a professor at the Zayed University Media Center in the United Arab Emirates told reporters regarding the experiment that "Translating the show linguistically, as well as culturally, as well as socially so that it appeals to the audience that's watching it here, I think there's a lot of details that one has to pay attention to.” simpson

According to ABC News, Rahman added some questions which might be potentially problematic: "How does the mother dress? How does the sister dress?".

In response to these concerns, the Middle Eastern version of the series will also have significant content changes, including removing any references or use of alcohol or other elements which may be offensive to Muslim viewers.

Other examples of such changes include the replacement of American hot dogs with Egyptian beef sausages, and donuts with Arab "kahk" pastries.

I'll try to avoid the cheap shot jokes (like the "Maggie dresses up in a bomb belt for Eid - but Homer was too lazy to buy fake grenades and dressed her in the real ones!") and just wonder - if you take the beer out of Homer/Omar's life, how many minutes are left per episode?

Unfortunately, this sickening cartoon (linked to by Amshinover) is probably far more popular among some Arab children than the infidel Simpsons will ever be.