[4F11] Homer Phobia

Homer Phobia                                              Written by Ron Hauge
                                                  Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Production code: 4F11                       Original Airdate on FOX: 16-Feb-97
Capsule revision A, 18-Oct-97

"TV Guide" Synopsis {jmb}

The Simpsons make friends with a kitsch collector. But the fact that he's gay makes Homer fearful of his potential influence on Bart.

Title sequence

Couch :- On a MacIntosh computer screen, an empty couch lies within an "America Onlink" window. The pointer is dragged and clicked on "Load Family", which starts downloading artwork. "Please wait..." instructs the program, as the first item out of five is fetched. The Simpsons theme stays on hold as the process bar fills up at snail pace. The pointer is then dragged on "Exit", with several frustrated clicks, to no avail.

Did you notice...

... this is the first couch gag where no family members show up? ... Homer's jar of pennies is stamped with a 32 cent stamp? Dale G. Abersold: ... the "Fudd" ad at Cockamamie's? Matthew Anscher: ... the Sha-Boom-Ka-Boom Cafe was shaped like a mushroom cloud? ... the sparks coming out of Annual Gift Man's mouth? Frederic Briere: ... Cockamanie's takes MasterCard? James R. Curry: ... the gas bill conveniently works out to exactly $900.00? ... there is no state shown on the Gas Company address, or the Simpsons home address on the top of the repair bill? ... one of the crackers in Marge's platter has a different smile to the others, more of a V shape? ... Homer is mistaken, Smithers isn't straight, and he's certainly been in OFF's house? ... Marge takes a photograph of a landmark in her own town? ... Homer refuses food? ... the two Duff lorries which pass on the bridge as Homer sits bart down? ... the smashed window in the steel mill? ... Moe says "It's suicide again for me" indicating he's tried to kill himself before? Joshua Fruhlinger: ... Homer, Barney, and Moe run in fear from the reindeer, even though they have easy access to firearms? Jason Hancock: ... the "Astro Blast" video game in the store? ... the 8-ball and snow globe on the female cashier's desk? ... John considers Maggie three-tenths of a child? ... Homer drinks black coffee and eats a chocolate doughnut? ... Bart has to choose between Hostess Cup Cakes(tm) and Sno Balls(tm)? ... Moe's now has a Laramie High Tar cigarette ad? ... Moe and Barney don't ride home with John? Joe Klemm: ... the national park in Springfield has Astroterf? Haynes Lee: ... Simpsons have a natural gas dryer? ... Cockamamie's is a sexual innuendo? ... John's coffee mug is shaped like the Olmec head? ... clock in Cockamamie's same as in Simpsons garage in [9F18]? ... the TV Guide has Jackie O's New York address on it? Ondre Lombard: ... Marge would rather sell what she thought was a Civil War figurine instead of first opting to sell the expensive Ixtapolapoquetl? ... Maggie shakes the can of cheese before eating it? ... no one wears seatbelts in John's car? ... there is a butt-line drawn on Roscoe's rear? ... the double entendre of "Is it okay to come out now, Mr. Gay Man?" ... how irresponsible it is of Marge to drive in a car with Maggie without having Maggie properly seat-belted? Dallas Pesola: ... Springfield 'Hollywood' letters in the hills? ... Homer calls John a "buttinski". Get it? Butt-In-Ski? ... Homer's gun was smoking in one of the hunting fireside frames? ... John's horn played "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"? ... Helen Lovejoy's "cuffs and the collar don't match" (allegedly)? Meaning her hair is dyed blonde? John Plasket: ... the TV guide owned by Jackie Onassis costs $8500? ... said TV Guide resembles the madness at the Jackie Onassis auction? Sean O'Neal: ... Bart owns other clothes? ... not only is Todd playing with Bart, he's GAMBLING? ... the "I Fell for Dole" button? ... when John shows off his bowling shirt, Homer looks right at the "Homer" nametag, yet says nothing? Mark Aaron Richey: ... the Krusty signholder? ... the pink flamingo beside John? ... the trolls that look like Homer with green hair? ... Homer and Bart are watching bowling when John comes in? ... Homer has bear slippers? ... the women in the billboard manage to have a pillow fight while holding lighted cigarettes (isn't that kind of dangerous)? ... Homer apparently shoots a smily face into a tree? ... the fuel of the fire is a tire? Cole Rieger: ... John doesn't notice Homer as the man from the back of shirt? Benjamin J. Robinson: ... it's the sneaker (#12) that causes the dryer to jam? [ironic, since it was the only item you'd expect to find in a dryer --ed] ... the guys leave their campfire while it's still burning? Donni Saphire-Bernstein: ... Skinner, a possible "Homer Sexual" as we recall, is featured in the beginning of the scene in the antique shop? Liam J. Scanlam: ... this is the first episode written by Ron Hauge? ... the zapper gun John had was Rexma's Atomic Disembobulator? ... Ron Hauge was both writer and story editor in this episode?

Voice credits {dga}

- Starring - Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Steel Mill Worker #1, Barney) - Julie Kavner (Marge) - Nancy Cartwright (Bart, "Cockamamie's" salesgirl) - Yeardley Smith (Lisa) - Hank Azaria (Steel Mill Worker #2, Steel Mill Worker #3, Steel Mill Worker #4, Moe, Annual Gift Man) - Harry Shearer (Skinner, Smithers, Roscoe) - Special Guest Voice - John Waters (John) - Also Starring - Pamela Hayden (Milhouse)

Movie (and other) references

+ America On-line (AOL) - "America On-Link" name and logo similar + Bob Dole's Presidential campaign {bjr} - "I fell for Dole" button refers to the fall Dole took from a platform while campaigning + Eisenhower's presidential campaign {hl} - "I Like Ike" was the slogan of his campaign + The infamous "potatoe" Quayle incident {hl} - "Quayle Can't Fayle" [see 7F01 for details] + "Forbidden Planet", 1956 sci-fi classic starring Leslie Nielsen {ma} - The poster of "Clank, Clank, You're Dead!" looks like that of this film + "Laverne and Shirley" and "Mork and Mindy", two spinoff series from "Happy Days" {hl} - "Laverne and Shirley" is mentionned on the TV Guide - John says that Jackie "thought Mindy lived with `Mark'" + "Pink Flamingos" (1972 cult classic film) {ma} - The pink flamingo in Cockamamie's "Bull Run", the first major American Civil War battle - "That'll make your bull run" + "Over the Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz" - John's car horn plays this song - Tokusatsu/anime {ol} - In Japan, most creatures and characters have names that are often descriptions of them like "Annual Gift Man." Boston Marathon {hl} {sp} - Rosie Ruiz won the marathon, but was later disqualified for allegedly cheating + "Sha-boom, Sha-boom" - ? {hl} - Sha-Boom, Ka-Boom Cafe + "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" - Betty Everett (1964) {dp} - Played while Bart dances with a wig + "Hairspray", movie directed by John Waters {dga} - Bart's wig resembles Ricki Lake's bouffant + "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" - C&C Music Factory {dp} - Played at the steel mill / over the credits + "It's Raining Men" - The Weather Girls (1983) - "when it starts raining naked ladies" [See 2F08 for details] "Billy Jack", 1971 movie {hl} - A father tells his son to shoot fenced-in wild horses

Previous episode references

- Bart more-or-less gay references {hl} - [9F02] Gave Lisa advice on how to win beauty pageant - [9F13] Would have dressed up like Lisa to go to Krusty show as Ralph Wiggum's date - [9F20] Imagined himself dressed up like woman to knock out prison warden - [2F18] Wore skirt to match socks - Non-Smithers Gay References {hl} - [7F02] Homer has a gay male secretary - [7F15] Bart's "Homer Sexual" phone prank - [8F16] Homer's three simple words: "I am gay" - [8F18] Bart says Boswell of the "Worst Dressed" lists is "such a bitch" - [9F04] Patty loses the last of her heterosexuality after seeing Homer naked - [9F07] Homer says someone from "Leave it To Beaver" were gay - [9F13] Homer's six simple words: "I'm not gay, but I'll learn" - [9F22] McBain tells some off-color homosexual jokes - [9F22] Selma hates Patty for always leaving the toilet seat up - [1F12] Lisa made family march in gay rights parade - [1F14] Carl thinks that Homer said that he and Flanders are gay - [1F18] Bart instructs Skinner to make pass at his commanding officer - [2F07] Homer accidently leafs through a Robert Mapplethorpe book - [2F08] Homer finds himself in a lesbian bar - [2F09] Grampa is president of Gay and Lesbian Alliance - [2F11] Kent Brockman lists who is gay - [2F14] Homer pronounces Uruguay "U-R-Gay" - [2F31] Homer tricks Sherman into telling Patty & Selma that MacGyver's gay - [3F15] Troy McClure tells Selma he's not gay but wished he was - [3F16] Amendment-to-be threatens to tell that Ted Kennedy is gay - [3F20] Homer says the "we're here, we're queer" chant - [3F22] Lisa says Gore Vidal has kissed more boys than she ever will - [3F24] Homer phones up a GBM (gay black male) he finds in the personal ads - [4F02] Kodos and Kang disguised as Clinton/Dole clones constantly hold hands to exchange long protein strings - [4F06] Patty photographed walking out of burlesque house - [4F11] Well, d'uh! - Crossdressing References {hl} - [7F08] Homer wears Marge's Sunday dress mowing lawn after bet with Flanders - [7F08] Flanders wears Maude's Sunday dress mowing lawn. Reminisces about wearing dresses during his fraternity days - [8F18] Flanders reminisces about playing Blanche Dubois in "Streetcar Named Desire" during his fraternity days - [9F09] Barney gives Homer a bikini thinking he's getting a sex-change operation - [9F12] Woman who looks like Homer driving station wagon - [9F16] Grampa reminisces about being saloon barmaid - [9F18] Grampa reminisces about being German cabaret singer - [9F20] Homer wears Marge's wedding dress - [9F22] Grampa turns into woman after missing medication - [1F07] Homer imagines Barney in a bikini during "unsexy thoughts" - [1F14] Homer imagines himself with Marge's hair - [1F16] Milhouse dresses up like girl for audition - [2F05] Bart does ballet and "dances like a girl" - [2F12] Plastic surgeon gives Krusty a boob job - [2F18] Bart wears skirt to match socks - [2F20] Skinner caught putting on mother's makeup - [2F21] Homer wears Marge's underwear but only as a "comfort thing" - [2F31] Chief Wiggums looks forward to chance to wear makeup when making movie - [2F31] Dr. Hibbert dresses up like Frankfurter from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" - [3F17] Bart, Milhouse, Martin and Nelson wear wigs - [3F19] Burns obstructs J. Edgar Hoover probe - [3F19] Burns dresses up like Marge - [3G01] Photograph of J. Edgar Hoover in dress - [4F11] Bart wears wig while singing to the Shoo-Shoo song - [SC#14] Overpriced novelty items are sold {jh} - [MG48] Homer watching a bowling tournament {ol} - [7G08] A mechanical Santa goes "Ho, ho, ho" {jh} - [7G09] Homer and Bart go hunting {ljs} - [7G13] Homer says "Geez Louise" (cf. Marge says "Geez Louise") {ol} - [7F02] Homer is friends with a man he doesn't know is gay - [7F06] Homer is badly injured while trying to teach Bart a lesson {ljs} - [7F15] The "Homer Sexual" line is similar to the title {jp} - [7F22] Homer eating his pillow {ol} - [8F04] "Dead Eye" BB guns are seen {jh} - [8F23] The Simpsons' dryer wobbling out of control - [9F08], [3F31] The only other couch gags more than 4 seconds long {ljs} - [1F20] Homer embarrassing himself by choking Bart in the eyes of company {ol} - [2F08] Raining Men {hl} - [2F08], [3F14] A gay or lesbian nightclub is seen {jh} - [2F22] Bart wears a wig {jh} - [3F02] Crazy crap on the walls {jh} - [3F03] Lisa's vegetarianism is mentioned - [3F09] Skinner acting finicky buying something at flea market {hl} - [3F10] The "Pin Pals" shirts - [3F14] A man walks around in a gay facility wearing just a bikini {ljs} - [3F14] Smithers is seen with another man besides Burns {ljs} - [3F17] Bart in a wig {ol} - [3F18] Maggie is associated with cheese spray is some way {ljs} - [3F31] Johnny Reb {jp} - [4F01] Homophobia on The Simpsons ("You kissed a girl! That is SO gay!") {ol} - [4F03] The Simpsons at a mall store with a lot of useless junk {ol}

Freeze frame fun

Couch opening {hl}

  | O                       The Simpsons                         - |
  |             _______________________________________________    |
  |  America    |                                              |   |
  |  Onlink     |                                              |   |
  |             |   _____________________________________      |   |
  |  --------   |  |    Adding artwork. Please wait...   |     |   |
  | |  LOAD  |  |  |                                     |     |   |
  | | FAMILY |  |  |  *******..........................  |     |   |
  |  --------   |  |       Receiving item 1 of 5         |     |   |
  |  --------   |   -------------------------------------      |   |
  | |  EXIT  |  |                                              |   |
  |  --------    ----------------------------------------------    |

Balls in the lottery {jh}

    1 and 2 - baseballs
    3, 4, 5, and 6 - tennis balls
    7, 8, and 9 - oranges
    10 - apple
    11 - cantaloupe
    12 - pink shoe

Kids attending the Jackpot {mar}

   - Bart, Milhouse, Lewis, Ralph, Richard, Todd and someone else

Gas bill


   Homer Simpson
   742 Evergreen Terrace
   Springfield, USA

   ||    R e p a i r   B i l l         ||
   ||                                  ||
   || [???] .................... [???] ||
   || [???] .................... [???] ||
   || [???] .................... [???] ||
   || [???] .................... [???] ||
   ||                                  ||
   || Total .................. $900.00 ||
   | .................................. |
   | ......[fine print legalese]....... |
   | .................................. |
   ..........[other legalese]............

Homer's retirement fund / jar of pennies {hl}

                            [32c stamp]

     Springfield Gas Co.
     P.O. Box 2323
     Springfield USA

Springfield Mall Stores {hl}

  - One Size Fits All Lingerie
  - Simply Shoes
  - Cockamamie's (Antique store)
  - Springfield Hunting Supplies

Buttons in display case {hl} {mar}

  - "Harrison"  (on top of a medal, can't read the writing)
  - "I Fell for Dole"
  - "[can't read] for Ford"
  - "Quayle Can't Fayle"
  - "I Like Ike"  (Eisenhower)
  - "I Still Like Ike"  (w/ his picture)
  - "Click with Dick"  (w/ Richard Nixon's picture)
  - "Carter"  (on a peanut)

The almost-complete "Cockamanie's" collection {bjr}

When the family walks into the store

      - First bookshelf:  football, piqata kind of thing, Tonka-type
         steam-shovel, Godzilla toy, piggy bank, box (like the kind that
         might hold a board game) with a seagull on it, Uncle Sam wall
         decoration, pink flamingo

      - Second bookshelf:  statue of a man on a horse, Easter Island
         head, deep-sea diver helmet, toy robot, lampshade (black and
         white spots), old-fangled radio, black-and-yellow figurine (who
         looks a bit like the Bumblebee Man), another toy robot,
         stoplight, cola bottle, fish wall decoration, flower wall

      - Elsewhere:  ceiling lamp (the kind with the cylindrical shade
         that was bowed out in the middle), Astro Blast arcade game

As Skinner looks at the campaign buttons

      - On the wall:  Banana poster, "Drink Moxie" poster, "Fudd"
         poster, "Happy Cat" clock

      - In case:  50's era table radio, toy spaceships, magic 8-ball
         (well, this was really on the case, rather than in it)

As Skinner walks away

      cuckoo clock, rolling toy phone, slot machine, troll dolls, Tonka
      steam-shovel, robot, rockets, Rex Mars Atomic Discombobulator
      board game, Godzilla

As Lisa looks around

      - On our left:  diving helmet, lamp shade (both from the opening
         shot), funky sunglass collection, traffic light

      - On our right:  box with something that reminds me of an owl's
         head on it, desk lamp, another clock, gooseneck lamp (with
         goose head- shaped shade), bowling pin, gumball machine, pay
         phone, record player, pyramid lamp (didn't Patty and Selma own
         one of these?)

      - On the wall, near the ceiling:  Route 66 sign, Buzz Cola
         advertisement with leggy model, ad with a baseball player,
         another ad with a brontosaurus

As the kids discover the robot

      "At the hop" sign (shaped like a record), wall dial thermometer,
      license plates, toddler bike, trash can with flowers on it,
      bowling pin lamp, "Clank, Clank, You're Dead" movie poster

As Marge sees the TV guide

      - Along the wall:  pogo lamp (the kind where a pole was held in
         place by friction along the ceiling and floor, with lights
         suspended from the pole), seat made from the trunk of a '57
         Chevy, mobile, Marilyn Monroe poster (the pose where she holds
         her skirt down)

      - On the shelf behind Marge:  model diner, tractor, big pink mouse,
         model motorcycle, old radio, Buzz Cola blimp, tabletop jukebox
         controller, jar shaped like an ice cream float, model carousel,
         model of a old-fashioned gas pump, kiddie car, figurines

When John makes his entrance

      - Behind John:  flying eyeball sign, futuristic television

      - In the case:  pumpkin-shaped jar, Faberge egg

When Marge presents the figurine

      many of the things seen earlier, plus Buzz Cola napkin and straw

As a disappointed Marge picks up her figurine

      - Along wall:  many of the things seen earlier, plus "Ojo de Dios"
         wall hanging, different kind of pogo lamp with cylindrical

When Homer says no kid is worth a $50 board game

      many of the things seen when Skinner tries to find a button, plus
      Rat Fink-esque hot rod toy, robot toy in box, cowboy clock, piggy

When Homer says a grown man shouldn't like campy stuff

      - Bottom shelf:  red wagon, lunch boxes

As John explains what camp is

      toy guitar, toy dog, "Dead Eye" BB gun, clapping monkey with

   Whew!  We're done!

The movie poster {bjr}


              [robot     ... WITH
              carrying        THE
               woman]        HEART
       CLANK                 OF A
         CLANK              MONSTER!

           YOU'RE          DEAD

TV Guide {hl}

   "Laverne and Shirley. Too daring for TV?"

Selections from Homer's record collection {bjr}

   - The New Christy Minstrels (I think this is an actual album cover,
      by the way)
   - Ballads of the Green Berets, by SSgt. Barry Sadler
   - Loony Luau
   - The Wedding of Lynda Byrd Johnson

Outside the Sha-Boom, Ka-Boom Cafe

      LITTLE BOY   3.95
        FAT MAN   12.95

Final scene {hl}

         OF AMERICA


Animation, continuity, and other goofs

* "Laverne and Shirley" was well established when "Mork and Mindy" hit the airwaves. A TV Guide with the latter show as a crossword clue wouldn't be questioning Laverne and Shirley's ability to stay on the air. {bjr} = Homer's name only appears above the left pocket on the Pin Pals shirt after it's revealed to be a Pin Pals shirt. {ljs} * Homer's shirt would definitely not fit John. {bw} * How come John never recognized Homer by the bowling shirt he was wearing? {ol} = When Homer walks into the kitchen, the doughnuts on the platter are all brown, and there are four. When Homer goes to get a doughnut, only one is brown and there are only three. {ol} = When Homer takes a chocolate doughnut, there are still as many doughnuts on the platter as there were before he took the doughnut. {ol} = When homer learns that his friend is gay he is wearing some sort of pajamas, but when the show returns from commercial he is wearing his usuall blue pants and white shirt. {bm} + Despite Homer's comment, a gay person (i.e., Waylon Smithers) was in the Simpson house in 7F18. {jh} [Of course, Homer might not have figured that out yet, but Marge should've --ed] + Marge seemed a bit homophobic in 3F22 when Lisa said Gore Vidal's kissed more boys than she ever will. - Marge Bart, and Lisa manage to "Ooooh" at the plumbing store after they've closed their mouths. {mar} = During Homer's speech to John in the kitchen, the clock suddenly jump about 10 minutes backwards. {jrc} = The Santa robot is a lot smaller in the reindeer lot. {hl} = Near the end, Homer has bruises from the reindeer. But, in the final sequence, they are gone. {jp}


[Due to the highly controversial nature of this episode, I decided to forgo any space contraint, and include every publishable review that was submitted. --ed] Dale G. Abersold: I may not know good social satire, but I do know what makes me laugh my butt off, and that's what "Homer's Phobia" did for me. I thought Homer's reaction to homosexuality was well within character: he was bumbling and ignorant, but not malicious. The only jarring note for me was presenting the Simpson family as a "camp" artifact: aren't they just the "average nuclear-age family"? (A-) Greg Bigoni: Well, I have to admit that it unnerved me a bit to see Homer being such a jerk, but his raves were much funnier when I watched the show for a second time on videotape. His attitude was also nicely balanced out by the rest of the family. One of my favorite things about this show was that Lisa was gentle in her disagreements with Homer, rather than becoming the annoying, preachy Lisa that we've seen before. John Waters was also the best-cast guest star the show has featured since Kirk Douglas. Several viewers doubtlessly found the show very politically incorrect, but I think that's always been the charm of "The Simpsons"... even though the ending was a little dumb. "Is it safe to come out, Mr. Gay Man?" (A-) Jennifer M. Blaske: I was pretty bored during most of this episode, especially the second half. It was basically a one-joke show - making fun of stereotypes about gays and people's reactions to gays - and personally I just don't find that funny, at least not for twenty minutes straight. The ending was very predictable. This will possibly be one, like "Two Bad Neighbors," that I will skip in syndication. (D+) Jesse Burgheimer: A funny episode, lots of great gags. The end seemed a little too pat, but I think you need to think about it in terms of what Matt Groening said about the end of "Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington" -- sometimes pat Simpsons endings are really spoofs of typical pat TV endings. The line that completely broke me up was "Dad, why did you take me to a gay steel mill?" A hysterical capper to a funny scene. (A-) Alex Byrnes: I thought this was one of the funniest episodes this season! I also thought that it would be a little offensive to the gay community. I thought that the show jumped to quickly from what was happenning in acts 1 and 2 to Homer, Moe, and Barney taking Bart hunting. I also thought that how John save the group was a little hokey, but Bart's line, "It's Santa all right, and he is kicking ass!" was funny. The best part of the whole episode was when Bart was dancing with that huge, black wig on his head! It was a little disjointed but some of the gags saved it (i.e.: the whole steel mill scene). (B+) Vince Chan: This is not good. The second episode that has met my disapproval this season. (The other is 4F12) This episode was only a bit funny, not the material that could make you squirt milk out of your nose. What got me the most was that the whole epsiode was all just pointless gay bashing! This episode did however, answer the age old question, "What is on the Simpsons kitchen curtains?". The writers aren't putting as much effort into their work as they use to. (C) Chris Courtois: "Homer's Phobia" was quite a pleasant surprise. My phobia was we'd be subjected to either a 3F03-style PC rant or a numbingly obvious "Star Trek" style "message" episode. Instead we got something that's been missing for awhile called satire, where the points were shown to us instead of spelled out with platitude laden speeches. Homer's attempts to straighten out Bart were hilarious in their absurdity. And John Waters did a great job, surprising considering he's known for being a writer/director and not a actor (although he is a great public speaker). There were a few rough spots, like the abrupt transitions to talking about John's being gay (seemed like they weren't sure how to bring up the message aspect of the episode), and the Smithers gag felt tacked on and obligatory. But overall, this was one of the more solid and more enjoyable episodes of the season. (A-) Steve Frayne: I don't know that this one will go down as one of the greatest but it sure was funny. The way Homer reacted to the idea that Jon might be gay was terrific as it can be seen in so many people today. All the stereotyping was just hilarious and the gay steel mill left me dying of laughter. (B) Timothy Goddard: Another encouraging episode. It was pretty funny, yet at the same time rather sad to witness Homer's homophobia, and subsequent paranoia concerning Bart's sexual orientation. However, Homer did "learn his lesson" in an ending which was, thankfully, not terribly preachy. (B+) Jason Hancock: I just did not care for this one. The couch gag was hilarious (and easy to relate to, as a former AOL user), but it was all downhill after that. Besides, Homer as a homophobe irritated me. This definitely could have used a subplot. (C) Ryan Johnson: Mabey I was giddy again but this was actually a pretty solid episode aside from the steel mill tour and party. The ending was a bit weak, but it seemed to work. I notice that the writers are taking shots at everyone these days =) Vegetarians from incest? It was funny, but they'll screw up one of these days and offend a large group of people eventually at the rate the rate they're going (although I can't speak for gays or steelworkers at this point). (B) Margaret Jones: I found this episode to be humourless, predictable, and very disappointing. And how did Marge "know" the gay man's sexual orientation just from his interests? At least IMHO, this only served to perpetuate the stereotypes our society has about homosexuals. It would have been far more plausible for Homer to have found out by the man's telling him directly. (D+) Mark Kinash: Very funny. Although the thing with the reindeer left something to be desired. Also, a few too many gay stereotypes. Funniest parts included Bart dancing to "In his kiss" and the steelworkers "We work hard, we play hard". Ha! (A) Joe Klemm: The episode lacked some scenes that would have spiced the episode up. Yet, it had some funny moments like the AOL couch gag and the gay steel workers dancing to "Gonna Make You Sweat". (B) Haynes Lee: The best of a mediocre line of 4F episodes. Should also prove to be the most controversial episode ever. (A+) Ondre Lombard: "Homer's Phobia" is that controversy Simpsons needs. It was hilarious, care-free fare. Act three was real flat, however, and needed a lot of work. I was ROTFL at the Steel Mill scene and Bart in that wig. I have to say I haven't laughed so hard at a Simpsons episode since 3F22. John was a fun character, and that could never be ruined by Homer's homophobia. Still not as good as anything written by Jon Vitti in season 4, but good for what the writers are capable of in this day and age. (B) Blaine Moller: Good episode. A lot of good gags and a good story line made this one a well rounded show. I'm sure some so called simpson fans are sitting at home with there VCR's on slo-mo pointing out all the flaws as we speak, but despite the critisism this season has really been good. (B+) Sean O'Neal: This was indescribably horrible. Just when I was beginning to get optimistic from last week's inside joke-themed "Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie," along comes an episode full of lame, "In Living Color"-style routines about homosexuals. Did Ron Hauge win a "Write a Simpsons Episode" contest or something? This was the first episode where I've ever hated any character, and here I had three to choose from : Homer, in super-doltish Al Bundy mode; Moe, who had nothing but lame bile and not one good line; and John Waters, who is the last person I would choose to do a voiceover. His "hoo!"s had me muting the TV halfway through. Simpsons episodes are about memorable lines, and this one had absolutely none. Please, get Ron Hauge a writing partner. (F) Nate Patrin: Wow, this one was weird. I mean, weird. It wasn't all the gay refs that felt odd ("The Anvil" was still funny, even if it was coming from a mile away), but the kitsch-o-rama that pervaded the whole thing. But then, I s'pose an ep with John Waters has to be kitschy. The pacing was alright, the jokes were not laugh-out-loud funny but still amusing- especially the "Clank Clank You're Dead" robot and the mushroom cloud cafe, not to mention the couch gag- and the flow of the story was pretty good. Not a classic, but I ain't taping over it, that's for sure. (B) Werner Peeters: It's always a bit dangerous when they try to include a message in an episode, because sometimes they make it too preachy. This episode however worked over the whole line: Homer's bigoted despise of homosexuals, and the stupid reactions (going out hunting with Moe and Barney!) are really in the line of character of Homey! Of course the obligatory Smithers is gay-reference was there, and the homosexual steel workers had me chacking up! (A) Mark Aaron Richey: I was extremly worried that this episode would turn out to be a shrill "message" episode, where most of the humor would be knocked aside for the "gays are people, too" message. Granted, it's an important lesson far too few people seem to realize (political discussion over), but one that I couldn't see successfully being intergrated into the show without preaching (the last time they tried that was the self-rightous [3F03] "Lisa the Vegetarian"). I shouldn't have worried. Homophobia was lampooned mercilessly, and there were plenty of laughs to be found. Homer's homophobia, while a bit on the extreme side (which was needed for plot purposes), I didn't find out of character, and his fears that Bart would turn into one of "them" simply by hanging around John seemed exactly like the thought process of someone ignorant. Homer managed to redeem himself as he hilariously (and painfully) learned his lesson. An excellent job by John Waters as John, and one of the best jobs in a while from Nancy Cartwright. (A) Benjamin J. Robinson: A curious mix of what I like and what I hate about today's "Simpsons" episodes. Some of the characterizations (Bart especially) are right on, John Waters has a good guest spot as a kitschy store owner, and the premise is the daring sort of material "The Simpsons" is known for tackling. Homer's over-the-top reaction blunts much of the promise the episode has, though, and the last two acts aren't all that funny. (C+) Matt Rose: Another great couch opening (there have been a lot of good ones this year) but it was downhill from there. That had to be the most annoying Homer has ever been. It was totally out of character for him to be that way. "Three simple words: I am gay". Remember this? And on top of this there was little to laugh at, except for the couch gag and some of Bart's actions and words. And the involvement of Smithers was good too.(GET THE MESSAGE YET?) They can't all be great. (C-) Donni Saphire-Bernstein: I liked this episode a lot. Although it had some irritating minor flaws, the overall flow and nonstop jokes made it quite worthwhile. Homer's vocal homophobia did bother me, as he has previously (perhaps unwittingly) demonstrated some effeminate characteristics himself, but it stitched itself together well in the end. Homer's brain appeared to be as homophobic as he was, which is somewhat disappointing, seeing as how it has shown better judgement than him many times in the past ;). The steelworker bit was hilarious. the hawaiin shirt bit was funny. BTW, how come Marge is so tolerant now? In past episodes, she's been prudish and ignorant, especially in Bart After Dark. (B) Liam J. Scanlam: This was a great episode. "Homer's Phobia" was full of heady goodness and John Waters was great. (Although I thought he was an old man) The scene at the gay steel mill was a ROTFL, even though I sat on the couch during the entire episode and the couch gag was funny. It proves Ron Hauge worthy of the Simpsons writing crew and as the best. It slightly surpasses "Burns, Baby Burns" as the season favorite. (A+) Andy Signore: It's without a doubt an instant classic! Homer is so the man, it's not even funny, two words, "Hello? China?". What made this episode so great was how smart it was. The little subliminal messages (ie: Homer- "Where'd you get that shirt?" Bart - "Out of the closet"). It played with the topic of homosexaulity so close to the edge, and yet at no point did it make the viewer feel uncomfortable like some of the other gay themed shows on TV. This time and so many times before, it dealt with a hot topic in our society. They showed how we tend to deal with the topic and then rip our way of dealing with it to shreads. Whats so amazing is that they did it without being preachy. They just showed how idiotic our way of dealing with gays is. Hilarious, smart, and somewhat touching, Homer's Phobia is easily one of my all time favorites. (A+) Aaron Varhola: The best this season, and one of the better ones of the past four. I was a bit leery of Homer's transformation from ignorant about gays to homophobic, but a second viewing showed it to be better done than I thought. Ron Hauge slipped a lot of nice details into the story as well; Bart showed good playfulness in taunting Homer, and Marge and Lisa showed the time-tested maxim that the best way to attract a woman is to be a flaming homosexual. :) Excellent social commentary; Homer dislikes gays, but doesn't know a thing about them, and no "moment of sh*t". (A) Yours Truly: When I first watched this episode, it left me disappointed to see Homer behave in such a stereotypical way. It was only much later, through a second viewing, that I realized how mistaken I was. Ultimately, atop of the brilliant gags and one-liners inserted in this episode, what would win me was, in fact, Homer's character. (Start of Act II notwithstanding.) He was a father trying to protect his son, with what little knowledge he had, from what he considered could end up hurting both of them; he may have been wrong, but his intentions were right. Paradoxically, he was not acting out of hate, but out of love, which makes him one of the few two-dimensional homophobic characters I have ever seen. (A-) AVERAGE GRADE: B (3.07) NIELSEN RATING: 15.26 (Ranked 26th out of 107) {ol}

Comments and other observations

Give us a censorship story...

Haynes Lee forwards us a BBC interview with executive producers Josh
   Weinstein & Bill Oakley:

   Usually we can negotiate with the network. We have to say "ok we
   won't have Bart say pissed if you let us say this". And so forth. We
   have one show coming up next year where Homer is forced to confront
   his own homophobia by a character played by the movie director John
   Waters. Homer reacts in a predictably Homer/homophobic way. That show
   had probably the most censor notes of any show we've ever had - two
   solid pages of single spaced notes. We were able to negotiate them
   down to just a few which are probably reasonable, and then we changed
   a few lines. But most of the edge of the show was still there.

WebTV without a TV

Jason Hancock:  America Online, or AOL, is the nation's largest Internet
   Service Provider. Before it went to a flat rate last December, it
   charged $2.95 an hour after the first five hours. Unfortunately,
   large chunks of that time can be spent simply downloading "artwork,"
   as the couch gag illustrated -- and large bills can be the result,
   especially if you had a slow modem or were stuck with a slow access
   number. (This was the main reason why I decided to leave AOL at this
   time last year, as my bills reached over $100 a month.) Of course,
   now that AOL has a $19.95 per month flat rate, its main problem has
   been busy signals due to the growing number of members.

Mark Aaron Richey:  America's most popular Internet provider (mainly
   because it's one of the few national Internet providers), AOL offers
   real-time chat and other stuff you can't get on the real Internet
   (the chat rooms are the only special features I remember from my
   brief time on AOL a year and a half ago). The drawback was they
   charged $2.95 per hour. However, in December, they switched to a flat
   monthly fee (like just about every other service provider), only to
   find that nobody could get on anymore, and earning the new nicknames
   "America Onhold" and "America Offline".

Writer Watch

Dale G. Abersold:  This is the first episode written by Ron Hauge, who
   has previously written for such Nickelodeon shows as "Ren & Stimpy"
   and "Kablam!" His next episode is "The Canine Mutiny" [4F16].

Cult favorites

Dale G. Abersold:  John Waters is a cult film director whose films have
   featured filth, depravity, and Divine, the morbidly obese
   transvestite actor. Among his titles are "Mondo Trasho," "Pink
   Flamingos," and "Polyester" (the only movie ever filmed in
   Smell-O-Rama). His more recent efforts have been the mainstream
   "Hairspray" (a movie in which Marge's hairstyle would be
   inconspicuous) and "Serial Mom."

Mark Aaron Richey:  For most of his career, his films were decidedly
   strange and violent. He got his start making 8 and 16 millimeter
   films with friends, and eventualy got to the point where his films
   were hitting the midnight circuit, and then on to regular runs in
   specialty theaters. His first major film was "Pink Flamingos", a 1972
   film about a contest to determine "the filthiest person alive". The
   film (which is due for a 25th anniversery re-release later this
   year), concluded with Divine, a transvisite who was one of Waters's
   best friends and a regular in his films until his 1988 death, eating
   real live dog gifts. His 1981 film "Polyester" was the first to
   recieve a regular release, and moviegoers were given a "scratch-off"
   card with certain smells that would come into play as the movie
   progressed (I'll leave it up to your imagination as to what those
   smells were). In 1988, Waters went mainstream (at least for him) with
   "Hairspray", a comedy starring the then-unknown Ricki Lake as an
   overweight early 60's teenager who lands a spot on the local teen
   dance show. His next two films, "Cry-Baby", a musical about teen
   delinquents in the 50's, and "Serial Mom", a comedy about a sweet
   wife and mother who has a nasty homicide habit, were not commericial
   successes, despite actual real stars in the films (the former had
   Johnny Depp, the latter had Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterson, and
   both had the now-known Ricki Lake). In case you are curious, yes,
   John Waters in real life is gay.

Aaron Varhola:  Other posters have commented on John Waters's film
   career; he also collects kitsch like that in real life. I remember
   several years ago, he was a guest on Letterman, and showed Dave some
   disgusting items he picked up in stores, including (I am not making
   this up) a roll of chocolate candies called "Dingleberries". (Waters
   is one of the few true classic Letterman guests because of his
   ability to utterly embarass Dave every time he is on the show).

The Story of Lupe Velez

Benjamin J. Robinson:  "The Simpsons" just expects you to know who Lupe
   Velez is. "Frasier," which referenced the same person (in the
   premiere episode, I believe) was kind enough to provide an
   explanation. Lupe Velez was an actress in Hollywood's early years.
   Despondent over the lack of recognition she was getting, Velez
   decided to end it all. She had a final meal, arranged her bedroom
   just so, overdosed on pills, and waited for the inevitable.
   Unfortunately, something she ate didn't agree with her, and she ran
   into the bathroom to throw up. There, with her head in the commode,
   is how Lupe Velez passed away. It was hardly what she planned, but
   she certainly got recognized for it.

Leisha Sibley:  Lupe Velez was a starlet in the 1940's, who was best
   known for the title role in the "Mexican Spitfire" series of films. I
   believe she was married to Johnny Weismuller ("Tarzan"), and was
   infamous for getting drunk in public, having multiple affairs and
   constantly forgetting to wear panties. Anyway, she got pregnant by
   someone other than her husband and attempted suicide by taking
   sleeping pills. What actually killed her was a violent reaction to
   the pills, leading to her drowning in her own toilet when she tried
   to get up and vomit. It's a very lurid story, which l originally read
   in Hollywood Babylon, and l wouldn't be surprised if that's where
   "John" got his information, too.

Some come out of the closet, and some others get back in...

Whereas Homer seems very keen at pointing out "clues" about Bart, it's
   funny how he chooses to ignore or forget those he exhibited himself
   throughout all those years...

   - [7F02]  Never minded about his male secretary, Karl, being gay. Of
             course, he didn't even realize this fact, but being kissed
             by a man might have lit up a few lights.

   - [7F08]  Failing to be the father of a boy who wins the putting
             tournament, mows his neighbor's laws in his wife Sunday

   - [8F14]  Kisses Chief Wiggum when returned Maggie safe and sound.

   - [8F16]  Homer contributes to Edna's letter: "P.S. I am gay."

   - [9F08]  Sings "Girls Just Want to Have Fun".

   - [9F13]  His simple advice to Lisa: "Six simple words:  I'm not gay,
             but I'll learn."

   - [9F16]  During negociations with Burns, thinks his boss is coming
             onto him, and declares himself "flattered, maybe even a
             little curious".

   - [9F20]  When fresh out of clean clothes, resorts to Marge's wedding

   - [1F12]  Marched with his family in a gay parade.  {jr}

   - [1F14]  Imagines himself wearing a Marge wig, and taking his wife's
             role. ("Heh heh, I don't need her at all any more.") Later
             kisses Ned.

   - [2F08]  Favorite song is "It's Raining Men"  {dm}

   - [2F08]  Stands in a lesbian bar without any remorse.  {jr}

   - [2F09]  His father is the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance
             "for some reason".

   - [2F21]  "Marge, you being a cop makes you the man...which makes me
             the woman. I have no interest in that, besides occasionally
             wearing the underwear -- which, as we discussed, is
             strictly a comfort thing."

Let's keep it clean, boys!

There's no single episode of which all alt.tv.simpsons denizen will have
   the same opinion. The episode you like is the episode someone else
   hates, and vice versa. Follow the "Worst ever", "all-time classic",
   "stop whining about characters and enjoy the jokes", "you have no
   idea what The Simpsons is about" and other usual threads.

   Nonetheless, there's nothing like as controversial a subject as
   homophobia to stir up the eternal flames. Here are two reviews, at
   the extreme opposite of each other. Both were written by otherwise
   "sane" people -- as long as you think of us Simpsons fans as sane :)
   -- and showcase the variety of opinion you can expect from a.t.s., as
   well as the casual loss of temper and name-calling.  [My dearest
   apologies to the authors for dragging them in the mud like this. :)]

Graham KGW:  Man, I'm sure there'll be a million Purists up here in a
   couple of minutes bitching like mad about the incontinuity of
   characters or something on this episode, but let me just say that I
   thought it was the funniest episode I've seen in a really long time.
   It was so great, non-stop comedy, little to no crappy sentiment, and
   great jokes. Congrats, writers, on a job well done. I'm still
   laughing... prove me wrong, guys. Prove to me that this kind of stuff
   isn't over your head. I'm talking to you, Boswell, Varhola,
   Lepenguin, etc... (A+)

Damien Ryall:  If I called Matt Groening a fag for producing this trash,
   maybe he would realize how awful it really is! If I could, I would
   have bashed Homer's thick skull in with a sledge hammer halfway
   through the second act! Since when is Homer afraid of homosexuals,
   after 'Homer the Smithers' you would think he didn't care. When the
   hunting business came up I wanted to turn off the television. By the
   end, I wished that I had. (Z) (You can't get any lower than that)

The Eternal Threads

Is Smithers Gay?

Haynes Lee:  It seems like John broke a date with Smithers using the
   excuse that he was seeing his sick mother.

Loose Ends

Daniel Sheiner:  It would be nice if some time in the future, they
   display a similar couch scene which is loading #2... and of course
   some more furious clicking. Perhaps a reboot of the computer...

Haynes Lee:  According to the Urban Legends FAQ, there are no legal
   limits on how much of your debts you can pay in coins in the US,
   though some Treasury PR flack did imply otherwise for pennies and
   nickels, and there have been legal limits on how much coin a creditor
   must accept. For some strange reason, Canadian law is much clearer on
   this topic, stating that a quanity over 25 pennies is not legal

Joe Klemm:  A price of around $8,000 for a TV Guide Jackie Kennedy once
   owned may be a reference to an auction that happened last summer. All
   the stuff that were bid on were stuff that the Kennedys once owned.

Mark Aaron Richey:  Laverne & Shirley-Promently featured on Jackie O's
   TV Guide, this late 70's spin-off of "Happy Days" had Penny Marshall
   (yes, the Babysitter Bandit) and Cindy Williams undergoing wacky,
   slapstick adventures in 1950's Baltimore.

Steve Shiue:  The humor of the old Batman live action show (Adam West,
   Eartha Kitt as Cat Woman, Julie Newmar as Batgirl etc.) was pure
   camp. (Easier to give examples than to explain the concept.) Also,
   the John Waters film "Hairspray" if you've seen it, which achieved
   quite a bit of mainstream popularity. Debbie Harry and Sonny Bono as
   suburban parents? The Corny Collins dance show?

Benjamin J. Robinson:  If you picked "corn" as the vegetable on Marge
   Simpson's kitchen curtain, you won! Plus, you're better educated than
   the folks who put together Fox's "Simpsons" web site -- supposedly,
   they claimed the mystery vegetables were carrots. D'oh!

Joshua Fruhlinger:  It is quite appropriate that, immediately after
   Homer says "I like my gays flaming," John honks is horn which plays
   "Somewhere over the rainbow" from Wizard of Oz. In some circles,
   obsession with Judy Garland is consider as much a pointer of gay
   sexual identity, as, well, Abba. (See Smithers and "Waterloo" in
   "Mother Simpson.")

Bob Beecher:  A change from the script was the tune that John's car horn
   played right after that line! In the show that aired, it played,
   "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"; but in the script, it called for "Don't
   Cry For Me, Argentina".

Carol Anne:  Homer remarks that he likes his "homosexuals flaming." In
   case you didn't know it, in the New York city area, "homo" has been
   reduced to "'mo." (ie, he's a real 'mo). So homer is really talking
   about "flmaing 'mos", and that's where the next scene took place.

Mark Aaron Richey:  Fat Man & Little Boy, the names of the specials at
   the restaurant, just happen to be the names of the atomic bombs we
   dropped on Japan to end World War II (it's also the name of a rather
   dull movie starring Paul Newman about the building of the bombs).

Mark Aaron Richey:  Wow, Moe knows Cabinet Members.  Or at least former
   cabinet members. Warren Christopher is the former secretary of state
   under President Clinton.

Benjamin J. Robinson:  Moe sarcastically thanks Warren Christopher for
   the current lack of armed conflict. Actually, he should be thanking
   Madeline Albright, who replaced Christopher a short while ago.

To those who claimed the ending was predictable, Dave Traubert replies,
   tongue-in-cheek: The minute I saw the TV guide, I knew that they were
   going to get attacked by reindeer and have to be saved my a Japenese,
   rocket-launching Santa. :)

Partial lyrics to "Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" {ol}

      Does he love me I wanna know
      How can I tell if he loves me so?
      (Is it in his eyes?)
      Oh no, you'll be deceived
      (Is it in his eyes?)
      Oh no, you make-believe

      If you wanna know if he loves you so
      It's in his kiss
      That's where it is
      (Oh yeah)

      (Or is it in his face?)
      Oh no, it's just his charm
      (In his one embrace?)
      Oh no, that's just his arm

      If you wanna know if he loves you so
      It's in his kiss
      (That's where it is)

Quotes and Scene Summary {ol}

It seems Bart has found the right formula for making money, as many a Springfield kid is in the Simpsons basement, shelling out big bucks for the spectacular Super-Barto Jackpot Drawing. Tennis balls, baseballs, and the occasional apple are all stuffed into the dryer machine, today's boy's cheap alternative to a drawing machine. Come on, cantaloup! -- Milhouse, the unknown gambler, "Homer's Phobia" But all dryer has its limits, and this one starts rattling wildly out of control. Bart leans over the dryer to reach the "Off" button, but doesn't succeed. The dryer is pulling the gas conduct as far as it can go, and it quickly snaps, turning into more of a flame-thrower. The kids scale the stairs in terror. No refunds, force majeure, read the back of your tickets. -- Bart, "Homer's Phobia" After a visit from the Springfield Gas Company, Homer examines his bill $for 900, which he decides they'll have to pay for with the retirement fund. Said fund is a huge bottle of pennies that Homer has immense trouble carrying. He drops it outside and the bottle plunges through the front lawn. [to the hole] Hello? [echo] China? A little help? -- Homer, "Homer's Phobia" Marge: Well I never thought it would come to this, but I guess we'll have to sell Grandma's Civil War doll. Lisa: Oh Mom, are you sure you want to sell a family heirloom to pay the gas bill? I mean, what would your Grandma say? Marge: I'm sure she'd be proud that her descendants had piping hot tap water and plenty of warm, dry underwear. Homer: That is so true. -- Dry underwears: this century's greatest achievement, "Homer's Phobia" At the mall, the family has arrived to sell the doll to the "Cockamamie's" antique store. Skinner is looking at political campaign buttons. Skinner: Hmm. These campaign buttons are all partisan. Don't you have any neutral ones? "May the better man win?" "Let's have a good, clean election?" That sort of thing? Lady: Uh, no, but we do have some old shirt buttons. They're kinda kooky and fun! Skinner: Missy, you just talked yourself right out of a sale. -- Skinner, the more vocal consumer, "Homer's Phobia" In another part of the store, Lisa is looking at some items, when Bart shows off what he's found. Bart: [walking on pogo stilts] Hey, Lis, check it out: pogo stilts. These were banned in all 50 states. [Bart's foot slips; one pogo springs into the air and hits something] Homer: [off screen] Ow!! Ohh! What happened? -- Helpless victims of freak accidents, "Homer's Phobia" Lisa and Bart spot a huge, elementary 50s robot. Lisa: Wow! An actual robot from the movie "Clank Clank! You're Dead!" Ooh, think of how awful it would be for the poor midget inside. Bart: Aw, boo hoo. That's what they get paid for. [they walk away; the door opens, revealing a skeleton] -- Correction: what they got paid for, "Homer's Phobia" Marge and Homer look at things when Marge spots something interesting. Marge: [gasps] Oh, Homer, look! Look, a TV Guide owned by Jackie O. John: Oh, you should see the crossword puzzle. She thought that Mindy lived with "Mark." Homer: Give her a break! Her husband was killed! -- "Homer's Phobia" The clerk introduces himself as John. Marge: I have something that I'd like to sell. John: Please tell me it's your hair. Marge: [flattered, giggles] No. It's an heirloom my grandmother passed down to me. A very rare, old figurine from the Civil War. Lisa: Please don't construe our ownership of this as an endorsement of slavery. John: [eyes the doll] Hmm. Well see, here's the thing on this. It's a Johnny Reb bottle, early 1970s, one of the J & R Whiskey "Liquor Lads." Two books of green stamps, if I'm not mistaken. Marge: Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no, no. It's a very, very old figurine. John: No, it's a liquor bottle. [untwists a cap from the bottle] See? [pours himself some whiskey and drinks it] That'll make your bull run. Marge: Well... I guess it'll always be a monument to Grandma's secret drinking problem. -- "Homer's Phobia" Homer comments that although this bottle may not be worth much, it's still better than the junk this store is selling. Fifty bucks for a toy? No kid is worth that! -- Homer's value of children, "Homer's Phobia" John: But this is the Rex Mars Atomic Discombobulator. Don't you just love the graphics on this box? Homer: No. How can you love a box, or a toy or graphics? You're a grown man. John: It's camp! [Homer stares nonplussed] The tragically ludicrous? The ludicrously tragic? Homer: Oh, yeah. Like when a clown dies. John: Well, sort of. But I mean more like inflatable furniture or "Last Supper" TV trays, or even this bowling shirt. [John is wearing Homer's "Pin Pals" t-shirt] Can you believe somebody gave this to goodwill? [Marge sneaks away] -- Just because it's got your name and picture on it doesn't mean..., "Homer's Phobia" Homer: And that kinda stuff is worth money? John: Boy howdy! Homer: Man, you should come over to our place. It's full of valuable worthless crap. John: Well, if you're inviting me over... Homer: I practically insist! Shall we say five o'clock? The snacking hour? John: My heart is palpatating! Hoo hoo! -- He is wearing your shirt, anyway, "Homer's Phobia" At home, to prepare for John's visit, Marge draws smiling faces on crackers. "Pimento nose, and voila! Mommy's patented Happy-Cracker Snack Platter." The doorbell rings, and while Marge is away, Maggie grabs the can of cheese and fills her mouth with it. Marge answers the door, and John is there with a camera. He sings "Ding-dong!" along with the doorbell in a chipper way. Enter the TV room. John: Oh man, you weren't kidding about this place! Well, I just love it! [takes pictures] Homer: Do I know you? -- Short term memory, "Homer's Phobia" John surveys the house, taking pictures. John: Oh, the color scheme and the rabbit ears! And the two point three children, I mean, where's the Hi-C? Lisa: [walking in, holding a tray] Hi-C and fluffernutters! John: Oh! And pearls on a little girl! It's a fairy tale! -- If you say so, "Homer's Phobia" In the kitchen, John admires the curtains. John: Oh, I've got the exact same curtains, only in my bathroom. Didn't you just die when you found these? Marge: Not really. They just had corn on them. Kitchen... Corn... John: Oh! [slaps Marge on the arm in an "Oh You!" manner] [Marge snickers and taps John back] [Bart tries and imitate them, more-or-less punching Homer] Homer: Oww! Why you little...! [strangles Bart] Bart: Aaah! Dad! Dad! Company! Company! Homer: [stops] Oh. I'll just be another minute, John. Have a seat. [resumes strangling] -- Company rules, "Homer's Phobia" John looks at the Simpsons' vinyl collection. Homer asks him if his records have "camp" value, and John thinks they do and comments, "You yourself are worth a bundle, Homer! Why I could wrap a bow around you and slap on a price tag." Homer laughs and starts dancing with John to a record. The rest of the family watch from inside the kitchen. The kids comment on his love of Itchy & Scratchy -- and in Bart's case, of toy robots. Marge comments that Homer's "certainly taken a shine to him." To prove her right, both are laughing together in the living room. The next morning, Homer, enjoying John's company, decides one day to invite him and his wife over for drinks. But Marge doesn't think he's married. Homer: That John is the greatest guy in the world. We've gotta have him and his wife over for drinks sometime. Marge: Hmm, I don't think he's married, Homer. Homer: Oh, a swinging bachelor, eh? Well, there's lots of foxy ladies out there. Marge: Homer, didn't John seem a little... festive to you? Homer: Couldn't agree more. Happy as a clam. Marge: [insisting] He prefers the company of men! Homer: Who doesn't? Marge: Homer, listen carefully. John is a ho - mo... Homer: Right. Marge: ... sexual. Homer: [pause] Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! -- "Homer's Phobia" [End of Act One. Time: 6:29] Homer: Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod! Oh my god! I danced with a gay! Marge, Lisa, promise me you won't tell anyone. [shaking Lisa] Promise me!! Marge: You're being ridiculous. Homer: Am I, Marge? Am I? Think of the property values. Now we can never say only straight people have been in this house. -- "Homer's Phobia" Marge: I'm very sorry you feel that way, because John invited us all out for a drive today, and we're going. Homer: Woah-ho-ho, not me! And not because John's gay, but because he's a sneak. He should at least have the good taste to mince around and let everyone know that he's... that way. Marge: What on Earth are you talking about? Homer: You know me, Marge. I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals fa-laming. -- "Homer's Phobia" From outside can be heard a car horn, playing "Over the Rainbow." Of course, it's nobody else than John himself, who's brought with him the Rex Mars Atomic Discombobulator. Homer peeks out the window curtains, and John greets him with a friendly Discombobulator "zzzzzap!" Homer: I'm not setting foot outside this house until that man is gone! Bart: Oh, Dad! You are the living end! [Homer narrows his eyes at Bart] -- The first signs are always subtle, "Homer's Phobia" The whole family -- Dad excepted -- hops into John's car, complete with pine freshener and zebra-like interior. Bart is seated next to a very weird robot, which kinda looks like a cross between Santa Claus, a cash register, and that alien creature from tonight's 3am horror movie. Bart: Hey, where'd that cool creepy Santa come from? John: Japan. Except over there they call him "Annual Gift Man" and he lives on the moon. -- "Homer's Phobia" John drives the family through the more tinsel part of Springfield... John: And that's where Kent Brockman was caught cheating in the Springfield marathon. All: Ooh... [passing in front of a plumbing supplies store] John: And there's where Lupe Velez bought the toilet she drowned in. All: Ohhhh! -- So many commonly ignored sights, "Homer's Phobia" At the Sha-Boom Ka-Boom cafe, the group has lunch. Bart: That was a killer tour, man! Lisa: I never realized how many celebrities humuliated themselves right in our backyard. -- "Homer's Phobia" John contemplates how this makes him "sick in a wonderful, wonderful way." At this moment, a familiar figure walks by. Smithers: John! John: Uhh, oh, Waylon! I'd like you to meet the Simpsons! Smithers: I know the Simpsons. [sotto voce] So this is your sick mother? John: Don't do this to me, Waylon. -- "Homer's Phobia" The family's home, and Homer is literally waiting up, ready to spew more venomous homophobia. Marge tries to calm him down, but to no effect. His worries grow worse when Bart shows him John's Discombobulator he got. Bart: Hey Dad, look what I got! [points the gun to him] Zzap! Zzap! [Homer looks worriedly at Bart] Zzap! Zzap! -- The clues are adding up, "Homer's Phobia" Homer watches TV and then Bart strolls by him in a Hawaiian shirt. Homer: Baart! Where'd you get that shirt? Bart: I dunno. Came out of the closet. Homer: Uhhh... huh. -- When one's mind plays tricks..., "Homer's Phobia" At the dinner table... I hope you all saved room, because I made your favorite dessert. Store-bought snack cakes -- both kinds. -- Marge's secret family recipe finally unveiled, "Homer's Phobia" Homer examines Bart's selection between pink Snoballs and Cupcakes expectingly. He grits his teeth worriedly when Bart moves his hand for the Snoballs, then smiles when he reaches for the cupcakes. Back and forth goes Bart's hand -- and Homer's gestures. Finally, Bart picks the Snoball. Homer goes mad. In bed, Homer chews on his pillow, and Marge gets him to tell her what's wrong. Homer: Marge, the boy was wearing a hawaiian shirt. Marge: So? Homer: There's only two kind of guys who wear those shirts: gay guys and big, fat party animals. [sad] And Bart doesn't look like a big, fat party animal to me... Marge: So, if you wore a Hawaiian shirt, it wouldn't be gay? Homer: Right. Thank you. -- "Homer's Phobia" Homer blames it all on his wife. Do you have to be so effeminate around the boy? -- Homer to Marge, "Homer's Phobia" Marge decides that if there is actually a problem with Bart worth worrying over, it must be that he's not spending time with his dad. The next day, Homer walks down the stairs, humming along to "Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)", which is indeed playing in the house. All smiling, he's all ready to spend some time with his son when, horror of all horrors, he finds him dancing on that song, wearing some huge black wig with a pink bow in it. Could it get any worse? A short trip to the kitchen shows the source of all evil, chatting with Marge. John: ...and Helen Lovejoy, sure, she looks blonde, but I've heard cuffs and collar don't match, if you get my drift. Marge: I don't, but I loved hearing it! -- Old gossip ain't what it used to be, "Homer's Phobia" Homer takes action on the intruder. Homer: [to John] Yyyou! I should've known! John: Well, good morning, sunshine. Marge: Homer! John brought us cactus candy! Homer: Look, John, you seem like a perfectly nice guy and all, just stay the hell away from my family. John: Well, now you don't get any candy. [pauses] Naw, that's cruel. Take a teensy piece. -- "Homer's Phobia" John: Homer, what have you got against gays? Homer: You know! It's not... usual. If there was a law, it'd be against it! Marge: Oh Homer, please! You're embarrassing yourself. Homer: No I'm not, Marge! They're embarrasing me. They're embarrassing America. They turned the Navy into a floating joke. They ruined all our best names like Bruce, and Lance, and Julian. Those were the toughest names we had! Now they're just, uh... John: Queer? Homer: Yeah, and that's another thing! I resent you people using that word. That's our word for making fun of you! We need it!! Well I'm taking back our word, and I'm taking back my son! -- "Homer's Phobia" The case requires immediate treatment, so Homer drives away with the boy. Homer: Don't worry, boy. We're gonna set you straight. By tomorrow morning, you'll be a regular Burt Reynolds. Bart: What are you talking about, Homer? Where are we going? Homer: Just a couple of good old-fashioned manly places. [puts his arm around Bart] Father and son! Brain: [thinking] You're leaving the arm there too long! You wanna make it worse? [Homer quickly yanks his arm off Bart's shoulder] Brain: No, no! He'll know you're on to him! Quick, shake his hand! [Homer does as his brain told him] Homer: Just remember, son, no matter what happens, I'll always love you. Brain: As?? As?? Homer: [yanking hand away] As a father! A father! Regular father. -- "Homer's Phobia" Homer sets up a lawn chair somewhere between freeways and puts Bart in it. Bart: What am I supposed to do here? Homer: Nothing. Just sit. I'll be back. [walks away, revealing a giant "Laramie Slims" billboard, featuring a girl in lingerie having a pillow fight with another girl in a skimpy shirt and panties] [time passess...] Homer: Well, it's been two hours. How do you feel? Bart: I dunno. I kinda want a cigarette. Homer: That's a good start. Let's get you a pack. What's your brand? Bart: Anything slim! Homer: [grunts] [to himself] Okay, that didn't work. -- All good plans have cracks, "Homer's Phobia" Homer goes back to the drawing board: to make a boy into a man, you need the apex of manhood and virility as your environment. Something like, I dunno... a steel mill? Homer introduces Bart to a big man in overalls and a hard hat. Homer: Bart, I want you to shake hands with -- what's your name, fella? Roscoe: Roscoe. Homer: Roscoe here runs this mill. He's gonna show us around to let you get a first-hand look at real all-American Joes doing what they do best. Bart: Why the hell would I wanna see that? Homer: [sotto voce] You'll thank me on your wedding night. -- Not if he divorces twice, he won't, "Homer's Phobia" A bunch of men are working in the mill when Roscoe, Homer and Bart walk in. Roscoe: [to all] Hey! Listen up! I want all of youse to say hello to the Simpsons. All: [waving in a cliche, sissy-like attitude] Hello-o. Homer: [gasps] Has the whole world gone insane?! Worker: [sissy-like] Stand still, there's a spark in your hair! Worker: Get it! Get it! Homer: [whimpers] [another guy walks past Homer holding a vat of hot steel in hot pants] Worker: Hot stuff, comin' through! Homer: [screams] Bart: Dad, why'd you bring me to a gay steel mill? Homer: [frightened] I don't know! This is a NIGHTMARE! YOU'RE ALL SICK! Worker: [waving his hand] Oh be nice! Homer: Oh! My son doesn't stand a chance! The whole world's gone gay! [a whistle goes off] Oh my god! What's happening now? Roscoe: We work hard. We play hard. [pulls a chain] ["Everybody Dance Now" starts playing] -- Oh, that ain't good news, "Homer's Phobia" Suddenly, a hi-tech disco ball slides down and the entire mill turns into a night club called "The Anvil", with smoke and dance stands and everything, with every worker dancing along "Everybody Dance Now." Homer slowly backs away, frightened, hiding Bart's eyes. [End of Act Three. Time: 13:45] At Moe's... Homer: ... and the entire steel mill was gay. Moe: Where you been, Homer? The entire steel industry is gay. Eh, aerospace, too, and the railroads. And you know what else? Broadway. -- The world today, "Homer's Phobia" Barney: I always hoped Bart would grow up just like us. What happened? Moe: Aw, it ain't no mystery. The whole modern world's got a swishifying effect on kids today. And their MTVs and their diet sodas ain't gonna set 'em straight, neither. You gotta do it yourself, Homer, and you gotta do it fast. Homer: But what would turn Bart into a man fast? You have to think for me! Moe: Well, let's see now, uh, time was you sent a boy off to war. Shooting a man'd fix 'em right up. But there's not even any wars no more, thank you very much, Warren Christopher! Barney: Hey, better yet, Bart could shoot a deer! That's like shooting a beautiful man. Moe: Hey, he's right, Homer. After the boy bags a deer, all the diet sodas in the world won't turn him back. And you just sit right back and watch the grandchildren roll in. -- Easy solutions to life-threatening problems, "Homer's Phobia" At the Springfield Mall, Homer, Barney and Moe, dressed in hunting garb, emerge from the Hunting Supplies Store with an assortment of hunting supplies. Homer sees his family hanging out with John, with Bart playing a video game. Homer growls angrily, and goes fetch his son. Homer: Stand aside, Marge, I'm taking the boy deer hunting. He's going to grow up straight for once! Marge: What?! You never went hunting before, and you're perfectly straight. Homer: Oh yeah? How long since you've had a baby? Lisa: But Dad, it's barbaric. How does killing a deer make you more of a man? Homer: It just does. Name me one gay Indian. -- "Homer's Phobia" John: Uh oh. Something's gonna die. Homer: Butt out, Buttinsky. What would you know about hunting? John: I know this much. I wouldn't wear that hideous hat. Here, take this one. It was worn by Yale Summers in Daktari. Homer: Hang on to it, Toy-Boy! You might need it when it starts raining naked ladies! -- "Homer's Phobia" Homer grabs his kid, and sets off for hunting grounds. In Moe's truck, the boys sum up the plan to its victim. Barney: Today, you're gonna be a man, Bart. Bart: You guys going to teach me to drive? Moe: [to Barney] Oh, yeah, let a twinkle-toes drive Betsy. Right. Homer: [chuckling nervously] No, boy. You can't drive. You're only ten. You're going hunting. Moe: You ever been hunting before, there, Barty? Bart: Nope. Something about a bunch of guys alone together in the woods... seems kinda gay. [awkward silence] Homer: That is a very immature attitude, young man. -- You tell him, Homer, "Homer's Phobia" The virile campers reach their destination. Remember, guys, the truck only holds six carcasses, so don't shoot nothing but trophy bucks, huh? -- Moe, "Homer's Phobia" But as the day goes by, everyone sits on rocks waiting for deer, while Barney drinks beer, the empty cans multiplying as the hours go by. Late at night, one has to admit that the whole exercice was pointless. Barney: Aw, we should've just stayed at the bar and shot some rats. Moe: Hey, those ain't your rats, Barn. -- "Homer's Phobia" Homer isn't ready to call it quits yet, as the whole idea was for Bart to shoot a deer -- not merely wait for one to appear. But since the lad's deep asleep already, there's no much point in pursuing this. Homer scoops Bart into his arms and the quartet drives home Moe: Come on, don't take this so hard, Homer. You still got that other kid, uh... Lisa. Let's, uh, take her out hunting tomorrow; make her into a man. Homer: Aw, she'd never go. She's a vegetarian. Moe: Oh, geez! Homer, geez! You and Marge ain't cousins, are you? -- As least the tots have four fingers, "Homer's Phobia" Homer scolds himself for being a lousy dad. However, Moe spots a sign advertising live reindeers for a Santa's village. "Cheer up, Homer! Christmas is coming early this year." Despite the sign "Closed for Season," Moe drives on, breaking the gate and entering Santa's Village. Meanwhile, at home... John: Did he say where they were going? Lisa: No. They were just going to find a deer and make Bart shoot it. John: Deer? Ha! Not around here. They all migrated north when the state park converted to Astroturf. -- "Homer's Phobia" John continues: "The only thing around here that's even close to deer is..." Yup, reindeer. The hunting group breaks into the reindeer's pen. Homer: Hey, boy, wake up. Your old man found some deer. Bart: Huh? You did? Bart: Hey, wait, man. Those are reindeer! Homer: Yep. And it's your shot, son. [hands Bart the gun] Bart: What? I'm not gonna shoot a reindeer in a pen. [Moe nudges Homer] Homer: Come on, boy. Be a sport and kill Blitzen, okay? Bart: [pleading] Dad! [starts whimpering] Moe: Oh criminy. Here come the waterworks. Homer: Bart, I'm gonna turn my back, and when I turn around, I wanna see a whole PILE of dead reindeer! -- "Homer's Phobia" They all turn their backs and block their ears. Moments later, a bang goes off. Homer congratulates his son, but Bart replies he's not even fired a shot. Seems the sound is one of antlers colliding together, as the whole reindeer flock is acting angrily. Hey, they're going nuts, like in those nature films! -- Barney, National Geographic subscriber for life, "Homer's Phobia" "Must be mating season," Moe adds. The reindeer line up against Homer, Bart, Moe and Barney, who all scream. Immediately, Barney and Moe find hiding places, but Homer's stuck in the middle. As a father, he protects his son by raising him in the air. Bart: No, don't! You have to protect yourself! Homer: Son, there comes a time in every father's life when he must... [a reindeer rushes him] Argh! [a reindeer from the other side of Homer rushes him too] Urgh! Bart: Dad, are you hurt? Homer: Just... my bones... and organs. -- And whatever's left inbetween, "Homer's Phobia" The reindeer keep knocking Homer around when the attack is interrupted by the toy-keyboard sound of "Jingle Bells." The reindeer back away as this thing nears closer to a beaten up Homer, deadpanning "Ho ho ho..." Yup, it's the mechanical Santa, Mr. "Annual Gift Man" in person. Homer: Look, Bart! It's Santa Claus! [robot fires two missiles, which makes reindeer back-up] Bart: Woah, it's Santa all right. And he is kicking ass! -- "Homer's Phobia" All the reindeer run away. Homer: It's a miracle! John: [holding the Santa remote] No, ultrasuede is a miracle. This is just good timing. Marge: Oh, Homie, I'm so glad you're safe. [hugs him] Hmm, you feel softer than before. Homer: [in pain] I've been tenderized. -- "Homer's Phobia" Bart: How'd you know that thing would work? John: Well the sound is just brutal, and I figured reindeer would naturally be afraid of their cruel master Santa Claus. I mean, wouldn't you be? Ha! Barney: Is it okay to come out now, Mr. Gay Man? Sir? Moe: I'll do anything you say! Anything! -- "Homer's Phobia" All is well that ends well, as everyone heads home. However, some wounds will take some time to heal... Barney: Aw, Moe, we were saved by a sissy. Moe: Yeah, yeah, we'll never live it down. Oh, boy, it looks like it's suicide again for me. Homer: Hey! We owe this guy, and I don't want you calling him a sissy. This guy's a fruit, and a... no, wait, wait, wait: queer, queer queer! That's what you like to be called, right? John: Well, that or John. Lisa: This is about as tolerant as Dad gets so you should be flattered. -- "Homer's Phobia" Well, Homer, I won your respect, and all I had to do was save your life. Now, if every gay man could just do the same, you'd be set. -- John sums up the situation, "Homer's Phobia" On the ride home, Homer delivers a long-awaited message to his son. Homer: You know, Bart, maybe it's the concussion talking, but any way you choose to live your life is okay with me. Bart; Huh? Lisa: [whispering] He thinks you're gay. Bart: He thinks I'm gay?! ["Everybody Dance Now" plays on-screen] -- So do some people on a.t.s., it seems, "Homer's Phobia" We cut closer and closer to Bart's mystified face in accordance with the song, which plays on as John's car drives off. The words "Dedicated to The Steelworkers of America Keep Reaching For That Rainbow" appear on screen as the song plays during the credits. [End of Act Three. Time: 20:30]


{dga} Dale G. Abersold {ma} Matthew Anscher {jmb} Jennifer M. Blaske {jrc} James R. Curry {jh} Jason Hancock {hl} Haynes Lee {ol} Ondre Lombard {bm} Blaine Moller {dp} Dallas Pesola {jp} John Plasket {sp} Steve Portigal {jr} Jeremy Reaban {mar} Mark Aaron Richey {bjr} Benjamin J. Robinson {ljs} Liam J. Scanlan {bw} Brian Westley

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This episode capsule is Copyright 1997 Frederic Briere. It is not to be redistributed in a public forum without consent from its author or current maintainer (capsules@snpp.com). All quoted material, episode summaries and specials about people getting decapitated by vicious bears remain property of The Simpsons, Copyright of Twentieth Century Fox. The transcript itself is Copyright 1997 Ondre Lombard. Read the manual before plugging in. This work is dedicated to Raymond Chen, James A. Cherry, Ricardo Lafaurie, and all of those who made episode capsules what they are today. Many well-deserved cheers and thanks to Dave "transcendent" Hall, who provided me with alt.tv.simpsons archives when needed. This capsule wouldn't be nearly as complete without his invaluable help.