Tuesday, March 17, 2009
“In the Name of the Grandfather“, the fourteenth episode of the twentieth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons will today become the first episode of the show to premiere in Europe. It will air at 7:30 PM on Sky1 in the United Kingdom and Ireland and be paired with “Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes“. The special broadcast is part of FOX’s year-long “Best. 20 Years. Ever.” celebration which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the show. To promote the broadcast, executive producers Al Jean and James L. Brooks, as well as Nancy Cartwright visited Ireland and are scheduled to participate in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. The episode was screened at the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin on March 16. The American debut of the episode will be March 22, 2009.
In the episode, the Simpson family travels to Ireland so Grampa can visit a pub where he once had the best night of his life. Guest stars scheduled for the episode include Colm Meaney as Tom O’Flanagan, Kathy Ireland as herself, Glen Hansard as a street musician and Markéta Irglová as an Eastern European woman.
|We wanted it to be an affectionate love letter to Ireland.|
Executive producer Al Jean stated the episode is intended to be “an affectionate love letter to Ireland” because many of the writers have Irish roots. The episode will feature Irish landmarks including Giant’s Causeway, the Blarney Castle and the Guinness Brewery.
Previous episodes of the show where the Simpson family visits other countries have been controversial. For example, the Simpsons visited Australia in “Bart vs. Australia” and Brazil in “Blame it on Lisa“, and both episodes generated controversy and negative reaction in the visited countries.
The Rio de Janeiro tourist board claimed that the city was portrayed as having rampant street crime, kidnappings, slums, and monkey and rat infestations; and threatened FOX with legal action. When asked whether he thought this episode would generate similar controversies, Al Jean replied “I’m Irish American and I know Irish people have an excellent sense of humor so we weren’t very worried.”