Worker and Parasite! (Seriously)

The Simpsons are popular the world over.  Now they’re getting localized in Georgia (the country, not the American state):

Georgian animators are hoping a local television makeover of The Simpsons will mimic the American animated series’ two decades of success. But the show, The Samsonadzes, walks a thin line between originality and flat-out imitation of the world’s best-known cartoon family.


Launched six weeks ago on Imedi TV, The Samsonadzes feature the bulging eyes, mustard-toned skin, four-fingered hands and character movements reminiscent of their American counterparts. The series’ opening shot — a camera zooming down through the clouds into a candy-colored anonymous town — is more than a little reminiscent of the presentation of The Simpsons hometown of Springfield.

But story differences exist. The Samsonadzes are a nuclear family in the Georgian sense: the father (Gela), mother (Dodo), daughter (Shorena) and son (Gia) live with Gela’s parents, a frequent occurrence in family-centric Georgia. While Gela shares Homer Simpson’s limited intelligence — the first episode featured his finding a job as a bank’s copy machine attendant — Dodo is a sexier, more aggressive take on quiet Marge Simpson.

Georgia’s Caucasus mountain range and the family’s crazed parrot Koke — not Bart Simpson on a skateboard — take center stage in The Samsonadzes opening frames. Ramishvili said that the openings resemblance to The Simpsons is deliberate. "The first reaction is the most important. That is why," he said of The Samsonadzes introduction.

Neither Ramishvili nor Imedi TV discussed licensing issues with 20th Century Fox, the current owners of the The Simpsons’ copyright. Ramishvili says that he does not see any need for a license since The Samsonadzes are a family comedy, a universal genre that Fox cannot copyright. "If we were making The Simpsons, with the same personalities, that would be different," Ramishvili said.

A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Screw FOX if they try and stop these guys.  This is awesome.  The video link to the first episode in that quote wasn’t working earlier, but it does seem to be working now and if you click on it you can see the opening sequence.  (If it isn’t working you can catch at least some of the opening sequence at the 2:30 mark of this news style report.)  The story goes on from there to detail some of the differences between the two. 

Here are the only two things I found on YouTube that show the Samsonadzes.  First a dance promo that gives you a good look at all the characters:

Second, this trailer-like video that shows some of an episode and involves “Tomb Raider”:

Excelsior to Georgia and the Samsonadzes. 

(Yes I know that Georgia is not part of Eastern Europe.  No I do not care.  It’s still a former Communist country and that’s close enough.)

7 Responses to “Worker and Parasite! (Seriously)”

  1. 1 P. Piggly Hogswine
    10 December 2009 at 8:01 am

    Good Lord, that promo was painful to watch. But it tops anything I’ve seen the last few years from the show it’s ripped off. I did burst out laughing when the character that was supposed to look like Bart strolled out.

  2. 2 Celia
    10 December 2009 at 12:14 pm

    All the other people are normal skin colour, but the Samsonadzes are yellow. Perhaps there’s a perfectly good explanation for this (besides “ripping off The Simpsons”, maybe) but I don’t speak the language. I was kind of disappointed at how the mother is so blatantly modelled after Marge, and the son looks odd, but I quite like the grandparents and the little bird. The father looks like Ricky Gervais, but I think that’s just the beard and hair.

    Anyway, even though it looked conspicuously silly, I support and and all attempts to capture what The Simpsons once had. Of course, it might end up being as sphincter-gratingly unfunny as UK animated sitcom failure Stressed Eric. But these are the risks one takes.

  3. 10 December 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Jesus, it looks like it was made by someone with little money, half a brain and a shitload of drugs. They could have just about gotten away with it if the clothes of the faux-Marge/Lisa/Bart didn’t look the same as those of their American counterparts. But then there’s also the yellow skin and the very name “Samsonadzes.” To hell with it. The whole thing reminds me not only of Worker & Parasite, but also (if we’re talking about the concept of the cheap knock-off), Flaming Meaux, Famous Moe’s, and Radiation Dude. At least now, Family Guy fans will have more ammo to use against those who accuse the show of being a Simpsons rip-off (“You wanna see a REAL Simpsons rip-off…?”).

  4. 11 December 2009 at 6:52 pm

    The parrot reminds me of Ozmodiar, not Maggie. And the daughter is more like the “Lisa” from The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour than like Lisa Simpson.

    • 5 Charlie Sweatpants
      11 December 2009 at 8:00 pm

      “And the daughter is more like the “Lisa” from The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour than like Lisa Simpson.”

      I noticed that, I guess they needed a little more CGI T&A in the FMR SSR.

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