Nearly 8 million Americans tuned in to the 23rd season premiere of The Simpsons Sunday night. While it began as a typical episode with the main character Homer befriending a new co-worker Wayne, the focus quickly shifted to the former Soviet Union as Wayne was a former CIA agent who worked in Ukraine.
Titled "The Falcon and the D'ohman", the episode transports viewers to Ukraine to meet Viktor, a stocky man wearing a suit and gold chain necklaces. Is this cartoon character meant to mock Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych?
Surrounded by armed bodyguards, Viktor receives an email from American pop singer Beyonce that confirms she will perform at his daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party. Beyonce did actually perform at the opening of the Donbass Arena in 2009 for billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, a close friend of the President.
The show also pokes fun at the President's poor spelling skills and his tendency to keep his wife, Lyudmila Yanukovych, largely out of public view.
"I love The Simpsons. Viktor’s image represents Ukraine’s stereotype in the West with authorities and a president having criminal connections," said Serhiy Taran, director of the Kyiv-based International Democracy Institute.
Other references to Ukrainian culture occur during one scene where viewers are taken into a Ukrainian diaspora neighborhood called "Little Ukraine." Laughable locations line the street such as "Tsarbucks" coffee shop, "Insane in the Ukraine" hospital, "Cossacks Fifth Avenue" boutique and a "Hot to Trotsky’s" ice skating rink.
The Simpsons is broadcast in Ukraine but a channel representative couldn't comment on when the premiere episode would be aired.
Here's a quick clip!
Source: Kyiv Post, Photo: Wikisimpsons