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7-Eleven promotes <i>The Simpsons Movie</i>

They are not exactly the typical American family. But after nearly 20 years on television, the dysfunctional animated family The Simpsons is making its big screen debut. To promote the film, 12 7-Eleven convenience stores in the U.S. have been transformed into the fictional Kwik-E-Mart made famous on the show. VOA's Rebecca Ward has a whimsical look at this unique movie promotion.

Don't adjust your sets. You can see a real-life Kwik-E-Mart -- if only temporarily. We are not in the Simpson's hometown of Springfield, though. A convenience store -- usually called 7-Eleven -- is actually in Bladensburg, Maryland just outside Washington. Nevertheless, Apu will gladly sell you a bag of "Sprinkilicious" donuts.

"I like The Simpsons," said a woman customer. “But I heard about it from my uncle and he said there was one in Bladensburg, so, I thought I would check it out.”

Business is always brisk at convenience stores. Where else can you find fresh bread, milk, cat food and iced drinks? But 7-Eleven District Manager Joy Pico says, lately, business has been brisker than usual.

"It's a very successful program,” says Pico. “Customers, especially in the afternoon, the traffic has increased tremendously. They're wrapped all around the store and we're just all trying to have some fun here."

Somehow, I think Homer Simpson would approve. And not just because of the donuts.

The Simpsons is the longest-running, animated, primetime television show in the United States. So after 18 years, Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie finally hit the big time.

The Simpsons Movie opens in the U.S. later this month.

You may think all this hype about a cartoon show is a little sophomoric. Okay, maybe it is. But there is a little Bart - or even Homer - in all of us.

"I tried one of the donuts and I'm going to drink one of the colas,” says a customer. “And if we could get some Duff beer, I'd try that too."

D'oh - there may not be any Duff Beer. But there are donuts. MMMMMmmmm, Donuts.