WARNING – what follows is a walkthrough of the March 28 “Simpsons” episode “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed” – i.e., the Simpsons visit Israel. Numerous spoilers ahead. You have been warned!
When Homer interrupts Ned Flanders’ Bible study group with his naked Slosh ’n’ Splash shenanigans, the Simpsons’ pious neighbor vows to redeem Homer by inviting the family along on a church trip to Israel (Homer: “Take my family to a war zone on a bus filled with religious lame-os in a country with no pork in a desert with no casinos? Oooh, where do I sign up?”).
The family flies Israeli Air to Ben-Gurion Airport (a sign reads: Welcome to Israel: Your American Tax Dollars at Work), where Homer is hog-tied by Israeli security for claiming that potato pancakes (lakes) aren’t as good as American pancakes.
On the way to the hotel—The Wailing Waldorf—we see a shot of Bagel Boy, a Chasidic spin on Springfield’s donut store statue Lard Lad. It’s at the hotel we meet Israeli tour guide Jacob (voice by Sacha Baron Cohen) and his elementary-school-aged niece, Dorit (voiced by “New Soul” singer Yael Naim).
When Marge asks Jacob for any safety tips while visiting Israel, he says: “What are you talking about? Israel is the safest country in the world. The only danger here is dehydration. Drink water. Don’t die. It looks bad on me. Go on. Shut your face. Let’s go.” (Jacob yells out “yallah,” Arabic for “hurry up,” throughout the episode.)
Before they can leave, Homer (who dresses in a red-white-and-blue outfit featuring “U.S.A.” on his hat and shirt) discovers the hotel’s breakfast buffet and talks the group into visiting the stations of the omelet bar instead of the Stations of the Cross.
On Mount Zion at King David’s Tomb, a Russian immigrant walks by the group and listens in. Jacob tears into “Mr. Listen for Free,” yelling (in Hebrew): “What the hell? Don’t tell me what to do! I’m going to slap you! And then I’m going to slap you again! Go to hell! You took this from the kibbutz, Kibbutz Dan! My mother, don’t tell me that!”
At the Western Wall, Jacob explains about the pieces of paper in the cracks, saying that it’s believed the Lord will grant those people’s prayers. Bart pulls out notes and reads them: “Sad. Sad. Never gonna happen. Sad. Maybe if you were Brad Pitt.”
“Hey boy, we’re supposed to be acting religiousy,” Homer says. “What are you up to?”
Bart responds: “Reading prayers and ignoring them, just like God.”
While getting strangled by Homer after reading his prayer, Bart writes one of his own (“Give my dad another heart attack”). Bart escapes via skateboarding along the top of the Western Wall, and Dorit, who provides security for the tour, chases him through chicken-filled streets. The pursuit ends in a krav maga-karate showdown. At the end of the fight, Dorit whips out her smartphone and shows Bart his mug shot, which includes his aliases: Sart Bimpson, Sergeant Spitwad, Mucous Membrane, Mommy’s Special Little Guy.
At the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jacob explains that they’re about to enter “the tomb of your lord, or as he’s know here: the man in the underpants. Beautiful tachtonim [underwear]. Oh, and what abs. He was a real good looking one. Nice hair. Conditioner? I think so.”
Inside the church, Homer falls asleep on Jesus’ tomb.
“Homer, this is the most sacred spot in Christendom,” Flanders says, “not your backyard hammock.”
Homer: “I’m sorry. It’s just that these tours are so exhausting. You’re jet-lagged, you’re walking around all day, it’s so hard to sleep knowing Marge and the kids are all stuck in one small room. It’s so nice and cool in the Tomb of the Unknown Savior.”
Flanders: “Unknown?! This is the tomb of the most famous man who ever lived.”
Homer: “Porky Pig?”
Frustrated by Homer, Flanders loses his temper and gets himself banned for life from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He declares Homer is not worth savings and walks off. Thinking Flanders has wandered into the desert (in Jerusalem?!), Homer grabs a camel and heads east. Instead, Flanders is still in the Old City and catches a film: “The Reformers,” a Jewish spoof on “Transformers.”
In the Negev, Homer abandons his camel during a sandstorm to the strains of the “Lawrence of Arabia” theme. He makes his way to the Dead Sea, where he drinks from its salty waters. In a vision, a pickle, tomato and carrot—a la “VeggieTales”—visit Homer, naming him the messiah.
Once rescued, Homer—decked out in a toga on his hotel room bed—is declared to be suffering from Jerusalem syndrome, according to Dr. Hibbert.
“Ah yes, Jerusalem syndrome. The name given to religious delusions or psychoses that occur when people visit Jerusalem,” Lisa says.
Bart responds, “Have you ever notice that Dad always gets the disease they write about in the in-flight magazine?”
Homer escapes from the room and dives from a ledge—“Messiah, away!”—into a truck loaded with certified, pre-owned yarmulkes, before making his way to the Dome of the Rock.
Jacob escorts the Simpsons to the Dome of the Rock, where he says, “OK, this shrine contains the rock on which Abraham was going to sacrifice his son. And Muslims believe something, too. To find out, hire a Muslim tour guide—that’s a barrel of laughs.”
Before Marge enters the Dome of the Rock, Jacob asks her to fill out a comment card and reminds her to fill out the back. “You people are so pushy,” she says.
“What, Israeli people are pushy?” Jacob yells back. “How about you experience a couple of genocides and see how laid back you are? We were purged from Spain—thrown out of there. They allow everybody in Spain. But for us Jews: no flamenco, get out. I’m pushy? Please. You, stay there, surrounded by your great enemy, Canada. Try Syria for two months, then we see who’s pushy.”
Standing on the Rock of Abraham and Isaac, Homer declares the interfaith crowd surrounding him to be ChrisMuJews and he tries to unite everyone through a message of “peace and chicken,” since all three Abrahamic faiths eat chicken.
Stealing Homer’s thunder, Agnes Skinner and Dr. Hibbert declare themselves the messiah. On the flight home, the entire church tour – save the other Simpsons and Flanders—has succumbed to Jerusalem syndrome.
During the credits, we hear a longer tirade from Jacob about Spain: “Why don’t you try having your people thrown out of Spain. Spain! No tapas. I love eating tapas. I love the tiny portions. You don’t get too full, but you have a whole variety of flavors. Not for me. Every day hummus and pita. Occassionally once a week a little bit of falafel.”
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