Posted by Adam Wills
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which jumped into the fray after “South Park’s” creators were threatened for once again poking fun at Muhammad, is slamming a Comedy Central series created by Jews for daring to joke about Jews and Israel.
The ADL fired off a letter to Comedy Central over a video game and clips tied to “The Drawn Together Movie,” which the channel released one month ago on DVD, and says that both “play into and encourage offensive anti-Semitic and anti-Israel stereotypes.”
The game in the “Drawn Together” section of the Web site, based on an animated series that previously ran on Comedy Central, features a character called Jew Producer, and a robot called “the Intelligent Smart Robot Animation Eraser Lady” (I.S.R.A.E.L.), which murders children and wreaks destruction.
In a letter sent earlier in the week to Comedy Central’s Executive Vice President Tony Fox, Abraham Foxman, national director of ADL, said: “We agree with complaints that this video game and other video clips and trailers featuring the “Jew Producer” character play into and encourage offensive anti-Semitic and anti-Israel stereotypes. While that may not have been the intent, the fact that your site caters to and potentially influences such a wide audience, including children and young adults, is especially troubling to us.”
The section should also include clear labeling, or be placed behind an age-verification wall, and mature-content warnings should be consistently provided, the letter said.
“Given these concerns, we believe that the appropriate response would be to immediately remove these videos and the game from your site or—at the very least—to put the clips from the show behind a wall so that young children will no longer have access to them,” the letter concluded.
ADL’s offices were closed for Shavuot today, and Foxman could not be reached for comment.
Earlier this week someone contacted The Journal asking us to investigate “why the [Comedy Central] website is carrying such game on its site” as well as “what else to they have planned for Jews and Israel on their website.”
First, the Jewish creators of “Drawn Together,” Matt Silverstein and Dave Jesser (a former yeshiva student), like to be offensive on a variety of levels. They pride themselves on it.
GeekHeeb interviewed Silverstein last month, just prior to the release of “The Drawn Together Movie,” and he said the film’s Jewish- and Israel-oriented gags—including the robot I.S.R.A.E.L.—have nothing to do with politics or hate against Jews or Israel.
“I think Dave [Jesser] did it a little bit to piss off his dad. That’s what all comedy is. You either want to piss off your parents or get their love. This particular joke [the robot I.S.R.A.E.L.] was to piss off his dad. It did crack us up, but there’s no political message. That’s actually the message of the movie: we’re not trying to make a point, we’re just trying our best to be funny … with mixed results, but we are trying,” he said.
As far as the Jew Producer is concerned, the character debuted in the finale of “Drawn Together’s” first season—back in December 2004. Five years ago! The ADL is just getting around to being offended about this?! (Personally, I find the character hilarious, and there’s a great Shabbat gag centered around him in the film.)
“The Drawn Together Movie” can be gross, overtly sexual and profoundly disturbing. The film’s Jewish/Israel humor can be uncomfortable at times to stalwart supporters of the Jewish state, but the jokes are no worse than Jewish/Israeli ones featured in “Family Guy” or “South Park.”
Those who actually bother to watch the “Drawn Together” film—rather than just looking at the clips online and playing the video game—will understand that I.S.R.A.E.L. isn’t murdering children as much as it is erasing cartoon characters (thus: Intelligent Smart Robot ANIMATION ERASER Lady). The film is animated, and the “Drawn Together” characters are all fully aware that they are, in fact, animated. (Heck, PETA didn’t even bother firing off a letter to Comedy Central about the opening scene, in which the “Drawn Together” cast stomps kittens!)
I.S.R.A.E.L. is a personification the creators use to lampoon the Jewish state in the movie, but it’s not actually Israel; it’s an animated robot with a persecution complex.
While I haven’t played the video game to the end (my bosses would not look kindly on my using company time that way), there’s nothing overtly anti-Semitic or anti-Israel in its content. A robot fires its eraser missiles at cartoon people – none of whom look vaguely Palestinian – and various animals use defecation as a means of attack. That’s it. The beginning of the game features a clip from the film that introduces you to the I.S.R.A.E.L. character, and taken out of context it’s easy to see how a few people who haven’t watched the film might be offended, but in a knee-jerk way.
On the issue of Comedy Central putting up an age-appropriate warning on its Web site ... its go-to audience is in the 18-34 male demographic. Comedy Central does not feature shows aimed at children. Its live programming includes shows like “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report,” “The Sarah Silverman Program” and stand-up performances by raunchy comedians. On the animated front, the channel has “South Park” and “Ugly Americans” (a GeekHeeb fav), neither of which are intended for children.
Americans have a blind spot when it comes to animation, equating it with “cartoons” and figuring it must be intended for kids. Those of us who watch anime from Japan and programs on Cartoon Network’s late-night Adult Swim know that there is a side of animation intended only for adults. “Drawn Together” is one of those programs, and the rating it carries on the DVD packaging as well as on its broadcast episodes reflect that.
It’s up to parents to monitor what their children:
• watch on television
• record on the family DVR/VCR
• add to the Netflix queue
• read, play and watch online
• play on video game systems
Because if parents aren’t monitoring what their children watch/play/read, what good is putting the game and clips behind an age-verification wall? Does the ADL honestly think that would serve as a deterrent for computer-literate teens and pre-teens? Consider that clips from the film and the television show are widely available on YouTube and similar sites.
Monitoring what your kids are exposed to is critical. My wife and I have taken to previewing episodes of “The Big Bang Theory,” our 14-year-old son’s favorite show, because the sexual content is on the upswing. He’s frustrated when he has to skip an episode, but he can go back when he’s old enough and watch the ones he missed. Similarly, if your kids are begging to watch “Drawn Together” or play the game, that’s a wonderful opportunity to have a conversation about what is and is not appropriate in your home.
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April 28, 2010 | 4:00 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
The Boy Scouts of America—known for getting kids outside and active—has added a new “academics” pin and belt loop for one of the most sedentary indoor activities around: video games.
According to a Scouts spokesperson, the awards’ introduction was intended to raise awareness of video games as a family activity, including ensuring age-appropriate gaming and effective scheduling so it doesn’t conflict with schoolwork. Added in December—along with other academics honors: good manners, nutrition, pet care and family travel—the video game awards can be earned by Tiger Cubs, Cub and Webelos scouts, but the scouts must work with parents or adult partners to complete requirements.
To earn the belt loop, scouts must:
• Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
• With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
• Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.
For the “academics” pin, scouts must earn the belt loop and complete five of the following:
• With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
• Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
• Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
• Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
• List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
• Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
• Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
• Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer’s warranty.
• With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.
The Scouts say the new awards acknowledge the realities of 21st century youth and is intended to help families manage gaming effectively.
“When it comes down to these things, a lot of the dads are doing it,” Scouts PR manager Renee Fairrer told PC Magazine. “A little boy wants to do what his dad does, but we apply appropriate knowledge and safeguards.”
April 19, 2010 | 1:09 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
“Drawn Together” returns Tuesday (4/20 … yeah, Comedy Central knows its audience) with the DVD release of “The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!” The film serves as a kind of finale for the series, which was cancelled in November 2007. But the creators hope it could usher in a return—films, at least—if the network sees support from the fan base.
For three seasons, Dave Jeser and Matt Silverstein’s mash-up of reality TV parody and knock-off cartoon characters (Toot Braunstein = Betty Boop) pushed the boundaries of good taste with explicit dialogue, gratuitous violence, kinky sex and black humor that made light of such issues as abortion, spousal abuse and anti-Semitism.
Freed of ratings concerns, the pair serve up an animated film packed with adult language, nudity, a 3D lesbian threesome, necrophilia and animal cruelty (kitten-stomping)—all of which is there simply because Jeser and Silverstein find it all hilarious. “The Drawn Together Movie” also spends time skewering other animated franchises: “The Flintstones,” “Looney Tunes,” “The Smurfs” and “South Park,” which becomes the “Suck My Taint Show.”
The movie picks up shortly after the series’ cancellation. Foxxy Love (a mystery-solving, “Josie and the Pussycats”-like character) notices the housemates can suddenly cuss without being censored. But when the network head learns the Jew Producer never erased the “Drawn Together” gang after cancellation, a robot—I.S.R.A.E.L. (Intelligent Smart Robot Animation Eraser Lady … think: ED-209 from “RoboCop,” but with breasts) – is sent in to finish the job.
I.S.R.A.E.L., voiced by “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, is a personification the creators use to lampoon the Jewish state (e.g., Jew Son: “Dad, I.S.R.A.E.L. forcibly removed me from the only home I’ve ever known”). But Silverstein says their motives weren’t political.
“I think Dave did it a little bit to piss off his dad,” Silverstein said in a phone interview from New York. “That’s what all comedy is. You either want to piss off your parents or get their love. This particular joke was to piss off his dad. It did crack us up, but there’s no political message. That’s actually the message of the movie: we’re not trying to make a point, we’re just trying our best to be funny … with mixed results, but we are trying.”
Another Jewish gag in the film—the Jew Producer tries to get his goyishe neighbor to answer his mobile phone on Shabbat (“[God will] appreciate my cleverness in getting around His laws”)—is influenced by the pair’s Jewish upbringing near Teaneck, N.J.
“[Dave] got kicked out of yeshiva. He was making faces in a classroom, and a rabbi saw him. Dave ran away, and a rabbi chased after him and almost hurt himself. So Dave was told to leave because he endangered the life of a rabbi,” said Silverstein, who had a bar mitzvah specifically so he could get a videocamera.
Comedy Central has no plans for the series following the release of the “The Drawn Together Movie,” said Silverstein, who has since worked on Mike Judge’s “The Goode Family” and “The Cleveland Show,” a “Family Guy” spin-off. But he is hopeful that “Drawn Together” could have a future if the film does well.
“We actually started talking storylines and stuff, and that’s always dangerous because we know we’re just going to get hurt in the end,” he said. “So we’ve been lucky that we’ve been working with some really talented people on some really cool things. The future? I dunno. But if it was more ‘Drawn Together,’ hell, I’d love that.”
(Trailer is intended for audiences 18 and over ... you have been warned)
April 15, 2010 | 11:49 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
“Kick-Ass” features no radioactive spiders, no superhuman powers. Instead, director Matthew Vaughn (“Stardust”) delivers an ultra-violent comedy about a New York teen determined to become a superhero (and get the girl), only to find himself sucked into an unfolding fight between an ex-cop-turned-vigilante and the drug kingpin who ruined his life.
Adapted from the Icon/Marvel comic of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.—which was filmed as the monthly series was still unfolding, much like “Akira” —“Kick-Ass” satisfies cravings for graphic comic violence (think: John Woo, Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino) with multiple rounds fired, knives thrown and limbs severed or pierced. In other words: guys, leave your girlfriend/wife home, see it with your buddies, share laughs over inside references to comic books/movies, and spend the rest of the night repeating the film’s eminently quotable dialogue.
“How come nobody’s ever tried to be a superhero?” is the central question that eats at our hero, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), and launches him into his quest to do something about the petty criminals who pick on him and his friends. After being pummeled, stabbed and hit by a car on his first day out as Kick-Ass, Lizewski is left with a body full of metal holding his bones together (“Hey, I look like Wolverine”) and peripheral nerve damage, so he can barely feel the impact when he takes a hit.
Desensitized Dave once again dons his Kick-Ass costume (a wetsuit) and his intervention in a gang brawl turns him into a YouTube phenomenon. But his viral popularity also leads to a case of mistaken identity when drug kingpin Frank D’Amico believes Kick-Ass to be the costumed crusader killing off his men and stealing his product.
Instead, that would be Big Daddy (aka Damon Macready, played by Nic Cage), the vigilante with a gosh-golly demeanor and an apartment covered floor to ceiling in firearms, who’s been plotting revenge against D’Amico – the man who set him up years earlier.
But it’s Chloe Grace Moretz as Big Daddy’s foul-mouthed sidekick, Hit-Girl—his 11-year-old daughter Mindy, the Robin to his Batman—who steals the movie with her shocking/hilariously endearing vulgarities and a gusto that takes Natalie Portman’s Mathilda Lando from “Leon” and cranks it up to 11.
(Warning: Hit-Girl video preview is 18 and over.)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (“Superbad,” “Role Models”) stars as Chris D’Amico, the comic-book-geek son of the drug kingpin, who desperately wants friends and his father’s attention. With the family business in danger, Chris dons a cape to become Red Mist, earning the heroes’ trust while leading them into a trap.
Despite the film revolving around high school students suffering through John Hughes-like indignities, “Kick-Ass” rightly deserves its R rating. And not for just for Hit-Girl’s mouth. “Kick-Ass” features sex, nudity, drug use and some disturbing violence. (Even Moretz says kids should not see this film.)
If you’re in the 18-45 male demographic, you’re golden. “Kick-Ass” does exactly that, and will likely hold you over until “Iron Man 2” hits theaters on May 7.
April 15, 2010 | 5:00 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Comic Con International’s contract with San Diego is set to expire in 2012, and Anaheim has joined cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas hoping to lure the Hollywood-heavy con away from the San Diego Convention Center. This weekend, April 16-18, the home to the Happiest Place on Earth is giving its Anaheim Convention Center a test run with what’s being described as the first Anaheim Comic Con, organized by Wizard World, which produces the comic book news magazine Wizard.
The Anaheim con, which has already attracted more than 200 guests ranging from comic book artists and writers to actors and directors, will also include much of what you’ve come to expect: gaming tournaments, costume contests … you know the drill. Tickets run $25 (advance), $30 (at the door) for one day; $25 (advance), $50 (door) for a three-day weekend ticket.
The not-to-miss panels featuring Jewish guests (on Saturday, no less!):
10:30am - 11am
STAN LEE/AVI ARAD Q&A
Film LEGENDS Stan Lee and Avi Arad sit down for a combined Q&A and answer all your questions and chat with each other!
11am - 12pm
STAN LEE Q&A
Meet Stan Lee! He’ll answer your questions, and has 2 special announcements to make!
1pm - 2pm
EMPIRE STRIKES BACK 30TH ANNIVERSARY Q&A
Join Empire Director Irvin Kershner and Lando Calrissian himself, Billy Dee Williams, as they discuss filming the best of the Star Wars films.
2pm - 3pm
ILYA SALKIND SUPERMAN COMMENTARY
Meet the Producer of Superman 1, 2 and 3 as he talks about what it was like to make the world believe that a man could fly.
3pm - 4pm
WILLIAM SHATNER Q&A
Meet iconic legend William Shatner as he talks about his amazing career!
7pm - 8pm
THE DRAWN TOGETHER MOVIE: THE MOVIE
Come watch the movie before it even gets released!! And stick around after the screening to join creators Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser as they discuss their new film and host a Q&A with fans.
Other Jewish guests you can expect to see: Steven Adler (Guns n’ Roses – Friday only), Ed Asner (“Up”), Steven Bauer (“Scarface”), Charles Fleischer (comedian/voice of Roger Rabbit), Stuart J. Levy (founder, Toykopop), Brent Spiner (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) and Mindy Sterling (“Austin Powers”), among others.
April 9, 2010 | 8:00 am
Posted by Adam Wills
When Jason Sarrow attended his first Renaissance Pleasure Faire in 1987, he felt an instant connection with the shire’s street performers. As a stage actor from New York, he lost himself in the historical recreation unfolding around him and he wanted a role.
Looking back more than 20 years later, Sarrow didn’t expect Ren Faire, which kicks off April 10 in Irwindale, would become such an important force in his own life.
“Little did I know I would still be with it,” said Sarrow, who played a peasant, sheriff and mystic. He is best known among current “playtrons” (costumed guests) as a juggling teacher and crystal dealer.
As producer of the documentary “Faire: An American Renaissance,” as well as a featured commentator, Sarrow presents an insightful history of a counterculture that found meaning in the recreation of Elizabethan history—bawdy bodices, flagons and all.
Directed by Doug Jacobson, “Faire” features wistful recollections and footage from halcyon days filled with sex and drugs, which eventually gave way to today’s reality of AA meetings and family-friendly entertainment. Told from the viewpoint of longtime performers and craftspeople, the doc brims with Faire politics, from conservative standards conflicting with the show’s 1960s ethos to changes that clash with period authenticity (climbing walls in Elizabethan England?!). Although the film documents the dissension, it doesn’t venture outside of its close-knit circle to include dissenting voices. SoCal Faire’s current management, Renaissance Entertainment Productions, for instance, doesn’t get screen time to respond to criticism that it minimizes aspects of the Faire’s original educational mission in favor of turning a buck.
There are more than 300 Renaissance-style entertainment attractions operating currently in the United States, drawing more than 7.5 million guests each year. The movement features its own magazines (Renaissance, Faire), the SoCal Ren Faire music group Poxy Boggards had its song “I Wear No Pants” featured in a 2010 Dockers Super Bowl commercial, and Faire has been a setting for episodes of “The Simpsons” (”Lisa’s Wedding”) and “Family Guy” (”Mr Saturday Knight”).
The Renaissance Faire phenomenon began in Southern California in 1960, when Phyllis Patterson, a junior high history teacher, and her husband Ron, organized Renaissance pageants in the backyard of their Hollywood Hills home. Three years later, the Pattersons and KPFK held the first Renaissance Pleasure Faire in North Hollywood as a fundraiser for the radio station, which drew thousands of attendees. In 1966, the Pattersons moved Faire to its longtime site at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, where it remained until 1989.
“Millions of dollars came from a woman’s backyard in the Valley,” Sarrow said.
Sarrow says inspiration for the film itself came from the thinning of Faire’s first generation.
“When I noticed people were dying, the idea for the documentary was born,” he said. “It was a chronicle of our tribe’s story… I wanted to get the story from the people who were there.”
The Renaissance Faire in Agoura Hills was so close to Malibu that it became a playground for celebrities -– Bob Dylan, Cher, Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Sean Penn and Rob Lowe.
“They weren’t harassed,” Sarrow said. “They could be themselves.”
For Camryn Manheim, who first attended at age 15 in 1976, becoming a regular participant led her to study acting in high school.
“I remember walking into the Renaissance Faire having never seen anything like it, but knowing immediately that I belonged there and that was my home,” she says.
“Faire” also offers views a rare (albeit PG-13) glimpse of the legendary behind-the-scenes nightlife—once the guests left and the actors and merchants were free to cut loose. Footage includes a coffee house with belly dancing, parties and risqué performances.
“They were X-rated. They were sexy and raunchy, and nasty and dirty,” Manheim says. “And all kinds of hell ensued after that.”
But everything changed in 1989, when Arthur Whizin—a major supporter of American Jewish University (then University of Judaism)—sold his Paramount Ranch land to a home developer (after making repeated offers to sell to SoCal Faire). Footage of the developer’s backhoe tearing apart the Agoura site’s temporary buildings is a heart-rending moment—Faire cast out from its Eden in the Santa Monica Mountains, never to return.
SoCal Faire moved to Glen Helen Park in Devore in the 1990s and then to its current location: the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale. In the exodus from Agoura, SoCal Faire sacrificed core draws for its participants—after-hours parties and overnight camping—due to regulations at its new sites. Sarrow says Faire culture was never the same.
“To ask them to leave the end of the night was tragic,” he said. “It fractured our community. The nightlife is why people did the show.”
Trading Hollywood liberals for conservatives from the Inland Empire also altered the tone of Faire, according to the doc. One booth, Witch’s Wood, was moved from the entrance to the rear of the event when the San Bernardino religious community took offense, and one participant says the tarot readers were also scaled back.
“The vibe was not there,” says Suzanne Honor, a longtime Faire participant, who refers to the new attendees as the Kmart crowd: “The people who will only come if they get it for a deal. They’re not coming with money in their pocket to spend on crafts or to buy food. They’re coming to get the cheap deal.”
Renaissance Entertainment Productions, which took over the original Renaissance Pleasure Faire from the Pattersons in the 1990s, did not return a request for comment.
Several participants portrayed in “Faire” are looking to the merchant-run Northern California Faire (held September-October in Gilroy) to revive the ribald spirit of the Agoura Ren Faire. “Because we’re not catering to a family crowd at Northern Faire, we can be a little bawdier,” Honor says.
She laments that the period authenticity genie is out of the bottle with the growing inclusion of pirates (a la “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and fantasy characters (scantily clad women wearing fairy wings, guys in “World of Warcraft”-style gear), adding that this has led to a dramatic shift in the public’s expectations.
“We’re still going to dress period. We’re still going to have certain key characters running around that evoke the Renaissance,” Honor says. “Around them is going to be this maelstrom of things that aren’t period. ... It’s almost like you’re walking at Disneyland—you’ve got Renaissance World, you’ve got Pirate World and you’ve got We-Don’t-Know-Exactly-What-It-Is World, but we’re throwing it in anyway. I’d like to think we do it in a way that doesn’t tip it over into total fantasy but keeps it in that Renaissance milieu.”
April 6, 2010 | 3:36 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
The 1985 cult vampire hit, which came out the same year as “Teen Wolf,” rode the wave of teen comedies popularized in the 80s by John Hughes. And since the plot of “Fright Night”—teen gets mentored in the ways of fearless vampire hunting—paved the way for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” it’s fitting that “Buffy” scribe Marti Noxon wrote the script, which is being directed by Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”).
Noxon’s script “sticks to the concept of a teen being convinced that his new neighbor is a vampire, although no one will believe him,” THR reports.
It’ll be interesting to see who’s cast as Peter Vincent, the washed-up actor/horror film host who trains Charley in the fine art or staking (originally played by Roddy McDowall). Here’s to hoping they approach William Ragsdale of FX’s “Justified,” who played Charley in the original, to return for more than just a quick cameo.
March 26, 2010 | 5:16 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
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.”