By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 15, 2002 08:50 AM

Homer and his family are making nice with the city of Rio de Janeiro after a recent episode of “The Simpsons” showed the Brazilian beach city as a rat- and monkey-infested hell, reports Reuters. “We apologize to the lovely city and people of Rio de Janeiro,” the show’s producer, James Brooks, 61, said in a statement Friday. “If that doesn’t settle the issue, Homer Simpson offers to take on the President of Brazil on ‘Fox Celebrity Boxing.'” The problem between Rio and the Fox show stemmed from a “Simpsons” episode titled “Blame It on Lisa,” a takeoff of the title of the Stanley Donen-Larry Gelbart 1984 sex comedy starring Michael Caine, “Blame It on Rio,” which, come to think of it, wasn’t well received either. (In it, Caine’s character lusted after his daughter’s girlfriend.) Regarding “The Simpsons” episode, in which Homer Simpson is robbed by street kids and then taken for a ride by an unlicensed cabbie, Rio tourism board president Jose Eduardo Guinle announced last week that he was considering legal action against the program’s producers for undermining his city’s $18 million tourism campaign. “He understands it is a satire,” Rio tourism board spokesman Sergio Cavalcanti said at the time. “What really hurt was the idea of the monkeys, the image that Rio de Janeiro was a jungle.”