Simpsons' lampoon of Sarkozy sudden French web hit

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The Independent Online

Thousands of French Internet users flooded video sharing websites Friday to enjoy a lampoon of their glamourous first couple, almost a week after they appeared on the US show the Simpsons.

Cartoon charicatures of President Nicolas Sarkozy and first lady Carla Bruni starred in an episode of the Fox network animated show in the United States on November 15 in an episode entitled "The Devil Wears Nada".

Their cameos passed largely unnoticed in France until Friday, when news websites started linking to pirated clips of the episode, creating a buzz which saw more than 117,000 fans linking to the DailyMotion site alone.

In the show, bungling paterfamilias Homer Simpson and his colleague Carl Carlson visit Paris and bump into Bruni, a cigarette-smoking femme fatale in a stylish ballgown, at a high society reception.

After a brief exchange of pleasantries the Bruni character throws herself into Carl's arms and declares: "I want to make love, right now."

Later, after Carl threatens to have Homer sacked, the hero declares: "You know that woman you've been playing 'hide the baguette' with? That's the first lady of France, Carla Bruni!

"If you fire me I'll call President Sarkozy and he'll be all over you like Truffaut on Hitchcock," Homer warns, in a dig at French cinema's supposed debt to American models.

When Carl doubts the threat, Homer calls Sarkozy's office and we see the French leader at his desk with a portion of camembert and his sultry wife. "You're getting cosy with Sarkozy," he says as he answers the phone.

This is not the first time that the Simpsons has mocked the French - the show famously popularised the taunt "cheese-eating surrender monkey" - or leading world figures.

But while Britain's former prime minister Tony Blair and Fox owner Rupert Murdoch recorded their own voices for their appearances and escaped with a gentle ribbing, the harsher Sarkozy parody appeared without their consent.

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