After 20 years of poking fun at American culture, the Simpsons are scheduled to land at Ben-Gurion Airport to target Israel.
The episode set in the Holy Land, titled “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed,” is scheduled to air on Sunday, March 28, coinciding with both Passover eve and Palm Sunday.
The plot involves Homer developing Jerusalem Syndrome (becoming mentally unbalanced after arriving in the Jerusalem) and Marge interacting with an aggressive Israeli tour guide, voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen of “Borat” and “Bruno” fame.
“[The tour guide is] trying to get Marge to give him good grades on the comment card, and she goes, ‘You people are pushy,’ and he goes, ‘What do you mean, you people? You try having Syria for a neighbor! What do you have — Canada?’ ” the show’s producer, Al Jean, told Entertainment Weekly. “It’ll be a show that all faiths can come together and be offended by.”
Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov welcomed the visit of America’s famous cartoon family, whose journeys will be focused on Jerusalem.
“The series is released to millions of children around the world, and releasing a special part about Israel will without a doubt create an improvement in the reputation of Israel in the world and will encourage people to come and visit and enjoy Israel,” Meseznikov’s press secretary, Amnon Liebermann, said. “We hope initiatives like this will continue.”
In the episode, Ned Flanders invites the Simpsons to join him on a church trip to Jerusalem, hoping that such a journey will help redeem Homer. However, Homer is unappreciative of the culture until a tour guide starts taking him around.
“The Simpsons” is the longest-running comedy on U.S. television, with more than 450 episodes. Jewish references have figured prominently on the show, including Krusty the Clown, born Herschel Shmoikel Pinkus Yerucham Krustofski. Krusty’s father is an Orthodox rabbi, voiced by comedian Jackie Mason.
Last December, the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, congratulated “The Simpsons” on its 20th anniversary and praised the way the show often weaves religious and philosophical arguments into the episodes.
Rumors of the Simp-sons’ visit started last March and were confirmed in September. The first images from the episode, showing the Simpsons at the Western Wall, were released this week.
“The Christians, the Jews and Muslims are united in that they all get mad at Homer. It’s the only thing they can agree on,” Jean said.
“The Simpsons” episode “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed” is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday, March 28, on KTVU Channel 2.