7 Reactions To Simpsons Holidays… From The Countries They Visited
For a lower middle-class American family, The Simpsons sure know how to trot the globe. They’ve driven sports cars through Italy, saved diamond-mining chimps in Tanzania, and found themselves custodians of a cursed monkey paw in Morocco, and all before Bart left the fourth grade. How did they get on, though? Oh, we don’t mean how they coped with their new surroundings and cultural challenges; more, how the citizens of their chosen destinations coped with them.
Not very well, in some cases. Here are our favourite Simpsons holiday reactions, from the countries they visited.
Ireland (yay!) – ‘In The Name Of The Grandfather’
Homer agrees to take Grampa to O’Flanagan’s pub for a last beer, little realising that O’Flanagan’s is actually in Ireland. When the family arrive, they’re disappointed to find that Ireland is quite a bit more high tech than the stereotypes let on, and Homer and Grampa attempt to reinvigorate O’Flanagan’s trade by repealing the smoking ban.
How Ireland felt about it
We’re good sports. The episode was received relatively favourably, with Shane Hegarty of The Irish Times saying ‘even as it revelled in stereotypes, it used them to continue the running joke about how Ireland doesn’t conform to America’s views of it.’ The Sindo were less impressed, though, mournfully stating that ‘The Simpsons came to Ireland and all we got was some lousy rehashed jokes and a feeling that the whole thing was a bit of a waste of time.’ Credit where credit’s due, Sindo! They managed to hit Blarney and the Giant’s Causeway in the same day!
Brazil – ‘Blame It On Lisa’
Lisa convinces the family to travel to Rio de Janeiro when an orphan boy she sponsors there goes missing. Disaster strikes when Homer is kidnapped on arrival.
How Brazil felt about it
Miffed is not the world. Brazil was furious at the over-the-top portrayal of Brazilian culture and the emphasis placed on crime in ‘Blame It On Lisa’, so much so that Rio’s tourist board threatened to sue Fox. Executive producer James L. Brooks issued a public apology, while showrunner Al Jean expressed sorrow that the Brazilian people were such stuffed-shirts about the whole thing: ‘Every other place has had a good sense of humour’.
China – ‘Goo Goo Gai Pan’
Selma decides to adopt a baby girl from China, but as she is required to be married in order to be considered an eligible candidate, she pretends Homer is her husband. The whole family goes to China to complete the process, with Marge as their ‘nanny’, where they poke fun at Chairman Mao and Tiananmen Square. Edgy!
How China felt about it
Fucked if we know. The episode was banned in China.
Australia – ‘Bart vs. Australia’
After Bart makes an expensive collect call to Oz, assuming the identity of a member of the ‘International Drainage Commission’, Australia indicts him for fraud. The family is forced to travel to Australia to apologise.
How Australia felt about it
Very Brazilian, as it happens. James Joyce (not that one) of The Newcastle Herald said of the episode: ‘It embarrassed and degraded our country as well as making us look like total idiots’, while Simpsons writer Mike Reiss claimed that the episode was condemned in Australian parliament. We guess all that running away from poisonous snakes and murderous cephalopods and such has made the Aussies very cranky.
England – ‘The Regina Monologues’
Another Grampa-led traipse across the Atlantic now, as Abe convinces the family to choose London as a holiday destination so he can reunite with an old flame. But plans for a relaxing break are scuppered when Homer crashes into Queen Elizabeth II’s carriage and is sentenced to death.
How England felt about it
They were more upset with guest voice Tony Blair, who was roundly walloped by fans for taking part in such fripperies when his country was at war and, y’know, everyone hated him. And this after eight months of negotiations and script changes; imagine how it would have been received if Blair had gone ahead with the original plan and given the Simpsons a gift of a corgi, a joke dismissed by the prime minister’s office over fears the public would make the connection between the lap dog and Blair’s perceived relationship with the US administration.
France – ‘The Devil Wears Nada’
When Carl is promoted to supervisor at the power plant, he takes Homer on as his PA, but long hours and extensive travelling don’t suit Homer at all. During a business trip to France, Carl tells the beleaguered Homer that he intends to stay on indefinitely because he’s been seeing an insatiable French beauty. It turns out she’s Carla Bruni, wife of President Sarkozy, and Homer threatens to spill the beans unless Carl releases him from his stressful duties.
How France felt about it
Trés bon. Carla Bruni reportedly found her unauthorised cameo amusing, and clips from the episode were big hits (literally) on French cyberspace. Sure you know the French. They love a bit of attention.
Japan – ‘Thirty Minutes over Tokyo’
The family nab a cut-price holiday by opting for last-minute flights, and end up in Tokyo, but due to a series of money-draining misadventures they are forced to win passage back home via a stereotypically bonkers Japanese game show.
How Japan felt about it
See China. Sheesh, Japan, you used to be cool.