The Simpsons’ Albanian Spy

Before I learned that I would live in Albania for two years, I was like perhaps many Americans of my generation in that my only knowledge of Albania was based on one episode of  The Simpsons. Re-watching, I wanted to share some of my favorite parts of this hilarious episode .

Brief intro: Comrade Homer and Principle Skinner are both ready to be rid of the troublesome Bart. They decide to send him to France as an exchange student while the Simpsons family will host a student from Albania.

"Wait a minute Skinner, how do we know some principle in France isn’t pulling the same scam you are?" "You woulnt be getting a French boy. Youd be getting an Albanian." "All white with pink eyes?"

“Wait a minute Skinner, how do we know some principle in France isn’t pulling the same scam you are?”
Skinner: “You wouldnt be getting a French boy. You’d be getting an Albanian.”
Homer: “All white with pink eyes?”

"mirupafshim" Albanian Exchange student says goodbye to his parents in Tirana.

“mirupafshim” Albanian Exchange student says goodbye to his parents in Tirana. The sign in the back says “welcome to Albania.”

I hadn’t remembered that they actually speak Albanian in this episode… or kind of speak Albanian. They say “I will miss you”, “write us frequently”, and finally “mirupafshim” (goodbye). Some of it is incoherent because the speakers are not Albanian speakers.  Watching this episode as a little kid was actually the very first time I would hear an Albanian word. Little did I know that one day I would be speaking this language all day long.

Lisa: “You know in Albania the unit of currency is called the Leke” Homer: “You gotta be kidding  hehe the leke” Lisa: “The natonal flag is a two headed eagle on a red field” Homer: “Give me the old stars and stripes” Lisa: “And the main export is furious political thought.” Homer: “Political what?”

Lisa: “You know in Albania the unit of currency is called the Leke”
Homer: “You gotta be kidding hehe the leke”
Lisa: “The national flag is a two headed eagle on a red field”
Homer: “Give me the old stars and stripes”
Lisa: “And the main export is furious political thought.”
Homer: “Political what?”

This is perhaps a reference to the fact that former dictator Enver Hoxha wrote volumes upon volumes of his political thoughts. Or perhaps a reference to the fact Albania remained the most communist of all communist countries even at the time of this episode’s airing in 1990.

4_backwards_neighbirs

Here is the only mention of Adil’s last name which is, almost predictably, HOXHA. notice the flag is still the communist version with a star. Also notice how poorly the double headed eagle is drawn. Try drawing it yourself sometime, it is hard.

“although I am officially required to hate you, I want you to know I do not feel it in my heart”

“although I am officially required to hate you, I want you to know I do not feel it in my heart”

Homer: “please please kids, stop fighting. Maybe Lisa is right that America is the land of oppurtuinty. Maybe Adil hasa point about the machinery of capitalism being oiled with the blood of the workers”

Homer: “please please kids, stop fighting. Maybe Lisa is right that America is the land of opportunity. Maybe Adil has a point about the machinery of capitalism being oiled with the blood of the workers”

So it turns out Adil is a spy and he has Homre take him to the nuclear power plant where he takes a lot of pictures.

So it turns out Adil is a spy and he has Homer take him to the nuclear power plant where he takes a lot of pictures.

The question is, what would Albania in 1990 do with information about nuclear power? At this point the communist government had all but fallen apart and people didn’t even have food to eat. I’ll forgive the Simpsons’ writers because its a pretty clever story, regardless.

8_albanian_satellite

Adil relays the nuclear information back to Albania using an Albanian satellite. That’s right folks, an Albanian satellite.

So in the end, Adil is caught for spying, Bart is reunited with his family after being more or less enslaved at a winery, and Homer promises to send Adil those civil defense plans he wanted 🙂

As a fan of the Simpsons who lives in Albania, this episode will always be special to me.  Regardless of how much of the language or culture or history of Albania I learn, nothing can change the fact that my life’s first hint of Albania was this irreverent episode of the Simpsons. And I wouldnt have had it any other way!

read more at the wikipedia page for this episode, “Crepes of Wrath.”

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7 responses to “The Simpsons’ Albanian Spy

  1. Pingback: Albania and The Simpsons | Ride the Wave·

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  3. Pingback: Reading Digest: Variety (The Newspaper) Edition | Dead Homer Society·

  4. C’kemi!

    I ended moving to Albania in part due to this episode, which I only saw when it was first broadcast. Thank you for the excellent description of the experience of reviewing it, edhe kalfsh mire.

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