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'The Simpsons' - 'The Greatest Story Ever D'Ohed' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 29th 2010 3:05AM
'The Simpsons' - 'The Greatest Story ever Doh'd'(S21E16) It's always tricky to try and mix comedy with Jerusalem. Unless you're willing to throw caution to the wind and risk offending various religious groups and individuals, you almost always wind up with something that's bland and lame. For 'The Simpsons,' cutting edge and risque seems to be a thing long in their past, and the latter product is what we got.

Everything from Sacha Baron Cohen's aggressive tour guide to the jokes and the storyline in general didn't work this week. I'm not sure if it's because the writer, Kevin Curran, was trying too hard not to offend Muslims, Jews or Christians, but he wound up wringing every bit of humor out of the episode.

Normally, at least one or two jokes can hit, even in a bad episode of 'The Simpsons,' but this one actually got painful to continue sitting through.

There is a chance the Jewish community might have been offended by Krusty loping into the Gaza Strip Club when Lisa explained to him that Jews don't believe in Hell. I'm not saying offending religious groups is the way to go. It's just that the Holy Land is such a sensitive area for so many groups, that people tend to either go straight for the shock factor, or pull so far back they skip being funny altogether.

I found myself wondering who thought of this concept and why the producers thought it was worth pursuing as an episode. There was really nothing offered in the episode, no good character moments for anyone, and no laughs. The tour guide was annoying, and his one-trick humor wore thin within the first few lines (though that is kind of Cohen's thing). Bart got to fight it out with his security detail, a little girl, in a scene that had no laughs.

In fact, that entire sequence was devoid of humor. The prayers in the wall weren't funny. Bart suddenly having his skateboard and skating along the wall with the girl in pursuit, after Homer choked him, wasn't funny or even all that clever. I don't expect 'The Simpsons' to have that sharp edge of wit it used to in its earlier, more subversive days, but I do expect it to be able to create situations for humor from time to time; even if it's gentle humor.

The 'Transformers' parody film: stupid. The Fiddler on the Roof being reminded he was hired to clean the gutters: mildly humorous, but wasn't he Russian? Everyone coming down with Jerusalem Syndrome: predictable. About the only attempt at a moment for the episode was Homer's speech that Muslims, Jews and Christians should seek out their commonalities rather than their differences. "Peace and chicken." At least that's something we can all agree on.

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Does anyone know the song at the end when the credit rolls? It sounds very familiar. :(

May 04 2011 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fsaladj's comment

the song is called Havenu Shalom Aleichem it's a traditional song sung on Friday night at the beginning of Shabbat.

May 02 2012 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hi there, does anybody know the title of the song played when the airplane lands and the wheels of the plane crush something... thx

June 01 2010 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm a Muslim, and I didn't find the episode particularly offensive. I just found the humor predictable and tired. I don't think there was a single joke that made me laugh aloud. In the 143rd episode spectacular (I can't remember the exact number), Troy McClure is asked something like "Is it just me, or does Homer get stupider every year." After 20 seasons, I think Homer has become unbearably stupid. Homer 10 years ago would never have honestly thought that Porky Pig was buried in Jerusalem. No one could ever say "oh, I make the same mistake all the time" to that. And that's what has made Homer so much less endearing and less funny than before.

April 01 2010 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was a pretty lame episode, the only time I laughed out loud was Homer's line "Porky Pig!?" when answering Ned's question.


March 31 2010 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
OK DeSign

it was a great episode, maybe cuz i'm Israeli i understand more of the jokes but yeah, it was funny!

March 30 2010 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a religious Jew and very longtime Simpsons fan, I actually thought this episode was very good compared to many episodes of the recent seasons. I just thought Cohen's impersonation of a typical pushy Israeli was way too over-the-top and too little funny.

I certainly was not offended by anything in this episode--and honestly I was hoping to be. Their travels to Australia, the UK, Brazil, Japan, Africa were all much funnier, probably because, as indicated in this article, the writers were much less worried about offending those lands' residents.

Maybe being familiar with Israelis and Israeli culture helped me enjoy this episode more than other people (yes, Israelis do insist Israel is the safest country in the world, there are strange types of drinks, and krav maga is a real fighting technique).

Again, could have been much better, but in my mind it was better than what this timeless series has recently given us.

March 29 2010 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You forgot the one thing that was funny in this episode:
Homer's sarcastic comparison of Israel to Las Vegas.

March 29 2010 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was hilarious when Krusty went into the Gaza Strip Club.

way too PC on this review.

March 29 2010 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment

i'm a jew, and thought that was funny. reinforces the point that Krusty has, shall we say, "loose morals"

March 30 2010 at 3:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The chicken bit was the only thing close to funny. The rest was painful as you said ... God, what a contrast with last week episode :x

March 29 2010 at 4:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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