“So, each episode of the Simpsons is dubbed into two different versions for French markets. There’s a Quebec French version, and a France French version.
Fans of the Quebec dub hate the European dub, and vice versa.
In the France dub, the Simpsons all speak in typical Parisian accents. A few other characters have regionalized accents, like the Van Houtens who speak with a Belgian accent, but it’s mostly Parisian, and they don’t try to regionalize the US-specific jokes.
In the Quebec dub, the Simpsons family speaks with a thick working-class dialect of Montreal French called joual. They also do something the France dub doesn’t do: they regionalize the scripts, subbing in Quebecois politicians or places for the more US-centric references.
Here’s an example of the Quebec French Simpsons dub localizing references: this is a scene you might know, but they added a local twist. (I’ve done my best to provide translated subtitles.)
Now, something I always wonder when I watch movies or TV where the plot revolves around a character speaking a second language: how do they handle dubbing it into that second language? This is where we get to the Quebec Simpsons’ masterpiece.
Classic episode, season 1’s “The Crepes of Wrath”, Bart goes to France and foils an antifreeze wine scam by learning French. There’s no way to dub around it being some other language Bart learns, it’s very clearly France. Seems impossible to translate into French, right?
In the Quebec dub, Bart starts speaking to the French police officer in Quebecois slang, and can’t be understood. (Bart: “I thought they spoke French in France”). It’s only when he learns to talk like a stereotypical Parisian that he can get through to the cop. Perfection.