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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Simpsons: culture shock

Did you see the various articles concerning the dub of the Simpsons... in Arabic?

As with any family moving to the Arab world from the West, "The Simpsons" quickly discovered they'd need to make some adaptations to their lives if they were to connect with the natives. First, they would change their names - the family now called Al-Shamshoons; the father, once Homer, now goes by Omar; his mischievous son Bart, now Badr.

There would be fundamental changes to their lifestyles as well. Omar, once a fan of tossing back a few beers with friends, now goes to the club or the ahwa (coffee shop) and sips on sodas and juice. The list goes on. Donuts have been replaced by kakh (Arabic cookies); bacon is done away with altogether as it is against Islam; and the kids, once a rowdy bunch of conniving delinquents, are still just as cunning but mind their manners with their parents a bit more.


That's nothing new in America, either. Many Japanese animated series have been turn into Americanized dubs, with changes to character names, activities, and foods. It's particularly amusing to watch the different ways different dubs deal with takoyaki. It's never called the same thing twice. Come on. Is it that hard to explain the concept of octopus dumplings?

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