Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter


Baron Cohen Leads Simpsons Through Holy Land

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Israel has survived a great many things – and last night, the country survived the arrival of the Simpsons, as that long-running show aired “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed.”
To get the Simpsons to Israel, it took a Flanders – Homer’s religious Christian neighbor who was going to the Holy Land with his Bible study group. Homer was less than enthused: “Hmm, let me think: take my family to a war zone, on a bus with religious lame-o’s, in a country with no pork, in a desert with no casino…” but Marge was so touched by Flanders’ offer that she decided they were going.
The show deployed a barrage of sight gags, including the Israel Airlines plane running over a glass as it landed (“mazal tov!” I shouted while the airport crew shouted “l’chayim!”), a hotel named the “Wailing Waldorf,” a gutter cleaner who’s fiddling on the roof, and an airport strip club called “The Gaza Strip.”
As someone who’s been to Israel over a dozen times and has family there, I found a few of the moments a bit uncomfortable – the sign over baggage claim, “Israel: Your American tax dollars at work” in particular caused a cringe, especially in light of recent relations between Israel and the Obama Administration. The relativity of sanctity – well parodied by many a cartoon in the past – is pointed out when the guide talks about Jesus as “the man in the underpants,” going on to ramble about how beautiful his underwear was (that’s in Hebrew), and how Jesus had both great abs and hair (“conditioner, I think so,” the guide muses).
Purists might point out inconsistencies between the reality of Israel and how the sites are presented in the episode. For instance, there’s no way that the whole trip – men and women together – could have been that close to the Western Wall all together, because the Wall plaza is gender-separated. And the idea of uniting Jews, Christians and Muslims at the Dome of the Rock…well, it’s probably never been tried before for a reason.
I don’t really want to be overly picky in analyzing an episode of the Simpsons. But big props to the Simpsons team for the following highlights:

  • NOT using “Hava Nagila” as the music for the plane’s arrival. “Heveinu Shalom Aleichem” is much better, both thematically and because it’s not as overused and cliche.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen as the tour guide was key – the man is funny, speaks Hebrew and knows Israeli accents. His “everyman” tour guide was so true-to-life (and really, the accent so spot on) that he had me at shalom. A little much? The “please, shut your face” that punctuates the guide’s presentations to the group.
  • Although Flanders makes fun of Homer for taking pictures of funny soda cans (“Diet Brisket Soda”), the reality of visiting Israel is that there are many funny products to photograph.
  • It was an interesting choice to focus on Homer and his family, as well as Flanders and his faith, instead of Krusty, the token Jew of Springfield.

This show has been around for a long time – not as long as the Bible, but many comedy scribes and cartoonists find inspiration in the Simpsons the way others find inspiration in sacred texts. Which may prompt a larger discussion of what sacred is, and where inspiration comes from.
I’m curious how Christian and Muslim viewers felt about this episode. Anyone want to weigh in?
Wishing Jewish readers a meaningful Passover.



  • jestrfyl

    I missed it!! But you can bet I will seek it out for a viewing. I have a collection of Simpsons material that I have used for youth retreats and portions of Confirmation Class. This would be a welcome addition.

  • Rayna

    KRAV MAGA – “NO GROIN NO KRAV MAGA”
    LOVED IT

  • http://PatentLawNY.com Feigin, NJ Patent Lawyer

    I haven’t watched the Simpsons in a good 10 years, but this was as good as their classic episodes.

  • http://www.idftraining.com.au/index.php?view=page&pageId=6 Krav Maga Melbourne

    that’s our favorite episode!
    check out our new clip on youtube and let us know what you think!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWHQqarw8Rc

Previous Posts

Behind The Scenes of THE IDENTICAL
There's one more week left to check out the IDENTITY SERIES, a half-hour television show featuring prominent Christian leaders encouraging viewers about the importance of following God call's on their life. Among those appearing in the series are best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado;  Lifec

posted 9:39:35pm Aug. 30, 2014 | read full post »

D'oh for ALS
Yay! Even Homer Simpson joined the popular “Ice Bucket Challenge” to support the ALS Associations research efforts. The marketing has more than worked it created a phenomenon. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS affects the nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and muscles through the bod

posted 11:19:33am Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Horror Flick Details Biblical End Times
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3pyDaNoY6s[/youtube] Faith based films have become a buzzword in Hollywood lately said writer and director Casey La Scala of “Donnie Darko,” and “A Walk to Remember.” La Scala new film is a horror flick based on biblical accounts of end times c

posted 4:26:27pm Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Identity Series: Embrace Your Place
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dyst6VUv2iY [/youtube] Director of Equip and Empower Ministries, Christine Caine, pushes believers to embrace the place that God designed especially for them in this episode of the IDENTITY series sponsored by the upcoming film THE IDENTICAL. "There's a div

posted 9:42:59am Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Rocking New Exclusive Clip from "The Identical"
Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd star in The Identical as the adoptive parents of a young man who dreams of a singing career -- not a life as a pastor like his father. What young Ryan Wade doesn't know, though, is that he has a twin brother who is the biggest rock-and-roll star in the world -- a fact his

posted 3:54:42pm Aug. 25, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.