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«The Simpsons Return to Brazil»

Subtitled in Portuguese by the Simpsons Project. The Simpsons are pretty well liked down here. Our Chilean-Brazilian niece specifically demanded Bart-themed garb for Xmas.

Brazilians were, however,  awfully incensed by the Simpsons episode from a prior season in which the eternally 10-year-old spiky-haired brat and his family lampoon Brazilian traditions, from the corrupt cops and dangerous criminals to an absurd plague of monkeys in the streets.

(The Tijuca forest is home to shy little peanut-begging simians, but that is it. The Planet of the (Great) Apes does not start here.)

My favorite moment in the previous episode is when Marge knocks at the door of a “samba school” (escola de samba) only to be confronted with what seems to be an Argentine pimp teaching tango.

Homer and Bart horrifying beach goers with their bubble butts as they promenaded along the calçadão of Copacabana Beach was pretty funny, too.

Learn the Language

In this episode from the most recent season, another previous episode is used, that in which Homer whistles matches for Lisa’s soccer time. Because he has the integrity to red card his own daughter, FIFA invites him in as an outsider.

Along the way, Marge takes up Portuguese in order to “avoid the disaster of our last visit to Brazil” (9:42).

The steward: “Everyone thinks they can learn our language on the plane. Do you know how disrespectful that is?”

The family attends the Group F open round match of the  World Cup, whistled by Homer.

Inside the stadium, pumped up Brazilian fans belt the traditional olé olé olé. The opening round is against Luxembourg, «whose entire population has shown up for the Cup». Flopping — feigned injury — is satirized by the match announcers.

Somehow, Homer is recruited to referee the match. He refers to the game as “human foosball.” As the opening match winds down “with an unsurmountable 1-0 lead,” the announcers wonder how Homer got his shorts on over his big, fat ass.

The family eats at a restaurant with some nice, traditional bossa nova music in the background. Marge has trouble ordering.

MARGE: Eu gostaria de … de … hold on …

HOMER leaves the restaurant to get some air.

Ah, Brazil, I knew I couldn’t stay afraid of you forever. The only thing that keeps me from living here is that fish that swims up your pee stream”

Homer is approached with an offer to take a bribe.

HOMER: “You don’t know the new me of the last several days at all.”

EVIL GUY: “We will get to him. We have our ways.”

Montage of Homer distributing yellow and red cards and cash changing hands. Recife and Manaus and are featured, along with Brasília and Rio. Homer throws the cash hidden in his pillowcase out the window. The money falls into the guitar case of a street musician.

In Brasilia, the “bribe cam” shows the crooks on the big screen, with the TV announcer saying, “looks like we have some action on the Bribe Cam!”

Xuxa, Globo’s sexy edutainment children’s star for decades, is once again held up to ridicule — deserved.

Marge goes to practice her Portuguese again at an ATM (14:09). She gets into a verbal sparring match with the next guy in line, who asks why she does not simply use the English language app.

Homer refers to Rio as “the naughtiest city since San Francisco turned all nerdy.” I didn’t get that joke. As Homer steps out for a midnight jolt of cachaça (the script explains what it is this time), he stops to eat off a used room-service tray outside an adjacent room.

MAN IN ADJACENT ROOM: What the hell are you doing?

HOMER: It’s okay, I’m an American

MAN: Oh, okay

Sitting morosely in a corner bar — botequim — Homer is approached to fix the greatest game of all: the Cup Final.

In general this episode should make Brazilians happier than the last. Comments praise the show for unmasking the “whistle mafia” of crooked officiated, which is a real, actual thing that happens.

The head evil guy reveals that he also traffics in pirate DVDs.

ANNOUNCER: Will the final match be a German blitzkrieg or a Brazilian waxing?

Homer is offered a million dollars to cause Brazil to win. And the denouement unfurls from there.

All in all, it is a relatively weak episode, but it is interesting to guess how the producers might have gone about presenting Brazil in a better light and lampooning arrogant American tourists. Many of the comments have to do with the generic fake foreign gangster accent used for the Brazilian version of Fat Tony, king of the Cup mafia.