This is a reference to the urban legend that Velez was found dead with her head in the toilet the night of her suicide in Ted Danson on Cheers. The episode featured the gay character of John voiced by John Waters and confronted the reality of homosexuals existing in the world with a slyness — and sense of humour — that was typically absent from other representations at the time, which were often approached with caution, desperate not to show anything too gay. As evidence, "Homer's Phobia" was shown to the judge to prove that The Simpsons promoted homosexuality, and thus should not be aired again on the channel. The normal procedure is for an episode's script to be sent to the censor and then faxed back with a list of lines and words that should be substituted. But more subversive than that is the way the episode tears down notions of masculinity, and a particular American brand of it. This makes Homer uneasy, and he begins to fear Bart is gay. There, Homer would attempt to prove his heterosexuality by having a human tractor pulling contest with some of the steel mill workers. But all that meant was that he had to live in terror until Laura Petrie went on a game show and publicly humiliated him for doing something that so many real-life actors have done successfully for decades.
At this point he just feared being replaced as Mr. The next morning, Homer tells Marge that he likes John and suggests they invite him and "his wife" over for a drink some time. Place established characters into conversation with the mores of the day. But later, episodes in the fifth and seventh season helped situate him as both a person with real ideas and traits outside of his race and, as an immigrant during the rising tides of s right-wing paranoia, a person subject to changing political tides. I also like to think that since we last saw him, Karl has become successful on his own terms at whatever he wants; but back in , he was succeeding by proxy through Homer. We generally tried hard to avoid bad sitcom habits anyway. His excuse on the claim: If more people believed that gay people deserve to be treated as equal to the rest of humanity, the world would be a lovely place! And boy did the George Meyer Rule apply to any sitcom character who tried to make his life better by buying a hairpiece. For instance, you can still go on eBay and buy all manner of racist kitchenware and greeting cards made by people who thought they were being funny. However, this episode came back with two pages of notes about almost every single line in the show. This is the sort of thing The Simpsons , during what we can acknowledge as its best years, did particularly well: Burns was his only reason to exist, while even Principal Skinner had a richly drawn if, yes, cartoonish inner life. The pair concluded by saying "this is a side of the show we'd not seen before, nor particularly wanted to see. In its original broadcast, "Homer's Phobia" finished tied for 47th place in the weekly ratings for the week of February 10—16, , with a Nielsen rating of 8. Recommended Reading It Gets Queerer: Homer accepts John, more or less, and tells Bart, who is still unaware of his father's concerns, that any way he lives his life is fine with him. This makes Homer uneasy, and he begins to fear Bart is gay. He sang a song about his thwarted love for his boss, nuclear-plant magnate Mr. After Lisa informs Bart that Homer thinks he is gay, Bart is stunned. The new censors sent back merely one line: Granted, it was hard to figure out quite how this ought to have been handled. The rest of the Simpson family continue to enjoy John's company, especially Bart, who starts wearing Hawaiian shirts and dancing in a woman's wig. This backfires when the reindeer attack them. Homer then escorts him to see a steel mill to show Bart a manly environment; however, the entire workforce is gay, and during their breaks, they turn the steel mill into a gay disco. Homer's attitude towards John changes completely, and he turns against him, refusing to join his tour of Springfield. Homer meets John, the antiques dealer, who explains that much of the merchandise is there because of its camp value.
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