15 Oct 2005
In the UAE, “The Simpsons” has been dubbed into Arabic and “arabicized:”
“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.
It seems to be getting a lukewarm reception at best, with many fans now unhappy:
But there’s no guarantee of success. Many Arab blogs and Internet chat sessions have become consumed with how unfunny “Al Shamshoon” is. “They’ve ruined it! Oh yes they have, sob. … Why? Why, why oh why?!!!!” wrote a blogger, “Noors,” from Oman.
Some longtime “Simpson” fans who are Arabs are incensed over the Arabized version. “This is just beyond the pale,” wrote As’ad AbuKhalil, a professor at California State University, Stanislaus, whose blog, angryarab blogspot, often touches on politics and the media. After viewing a promotional segment of “Al Shamshoon,” Prof. AbuKhalil wrote, “It was just painful. … The guy who played Homer Simpson was one of the most unfunny people I ever watched. Just drop the project, and air reruns of Tony Danza’s show instead.”