Jewish Journal

‘The Simpsons’ head to the Holy Land

by Brad A. Greenberg

March 26, 2010 | 5:11 pm

After the long wait, it’s finally here.

I mentioned in September that Sacha Baron Cohen would be appearing in a Jerusalem-bound episode of “The Simpsons” this season, and this Sunday Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie will visit the Holy Land. The GeekHeeb has a synopsis of the episode. Would you guess that Homer believes he’s the Messiah? Here’s an excerpt:

In addition to his role in the episode, Baron Cohen, who lived for a year in Israel with the Habonim Dror Shnat, joined the writers for an hour to pitch jokes for the show.

“He would ad lib just amazingly,” Jean said of the “Borat” actor. “As funny an actor as I’ve ever worked with. He’s just brilliant.”

In one scene, tour guide Jacob (Baron Cohen), presses the Simpsons for positive marks on a comment card. When Marge accuses him of being “pushy,” he snaps back, “Try living next to Syria for two months and see how laid back you are.”

Ned Flanders, the Simpson’s neighbor who has taken it upon himself to redeem Homer, is the one who invited the Simpsons on a Christian tour of the Holy Land.

“[Flanders] feels that when Homer sees the sacred sites that he’ll become a good person,” Jean said in a phone interview.

When the family visits the Western Wall, Bart reads some of the notes and responds: “Nope, not gonna happen.” At the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Homer’s behavior gets Flanders banned for life.

But it is the Israeli hotel’s opulent breakfast buffet that appeals most to Homer.

In the end, Jean said, “Homer tries to unite the faiths through a message of peace and chicken, because everybody eats chicken, no matter what religion they’re in.”

Watch the episode Sunday at 8.

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