Recap: The Simpsons S 8 E 15 Homers Phobia

Episode - 4F11
Frst Aired - 2/16/1997

A kitsch antique store owner named John (voiced by B-movie director John Waters) befriends Homer and his family, but when Marge tells Homer that John is a homosexual and Homer sees Bart hanging out with John, Homer worries that Bart will be gay, so he takes him on a trip to make him a manly man.

This episode contains examples of (YMMV tropes can be found here):

  • Actor Allusion: When John first appears, there's a pink flamingo in the background.
  • Animated Actors: John looks a lot like his namesake/voice actor.
  • Call Back: The "Pin Pals" shirt John found at Goodwill is Homer's from "Team Homer" (even though it wouldn't fit John, given how fat Homer is. On top of that, "Team Homer" showed that Homer's Pin Pal shirt got ripped when he was attacked by Mr. Burns' hounds).
  • Camp: John is a big fan of this, and considers the Simpson home a prime example.
  • Camp Gay / Straight Gay: John borders between these. Examples of both are shown working at the steel mill.
  • Comically Missing the Point: As usual for him, Homer doesn't realise John is gay until it's spelled out for him as blatantly as possible.
  • Crapsack World: If you ask Homer, at least.
    Homer: The whole world's gone gay!
  • Cure Your Gays: Homer attempts this on Bart.
  • The Danza: John Waters as John
  • Epic Fail: In an effort to straighten Bart out, Homer accidentally takes him to a steel mill that turns into a gay dance club/bar after the work day is over.
  • Gay Aesop
  • Gay Moment: Homer tries too damn hard to avoid these.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In one scene, John is gossiping with Marge. He says that Hellen Lovejoy's hair is blonde, but he's heard that "cuffs and collars don't match," which is another way of saying "The drapes doesn't match the carpet," which is used when the hair on a woman's head doesn't match the hair in her pubic area (assuming the woman has pubic hair).
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: The reason Homer thought the cigarette ad would cure Bart. Ironically, the billboard could be interpreted as displaying homosexuality. But Homer apparently only discriminates againsts homosexual men, not homosexual women, like a lot of entertainment media and men do in real life.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Homer trying to keep Bart from becoming gay.
  • The Hunter Becomes The Hunted: And the prey turned hunters consisted of domesticated reindeer.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Homer tries to make Bart tougher by going hunting:
    Bart:Something abut a bunch of guys alone together in the woods... seems kinda gay.
    *beat*
    Homer: That is a very immature attitude, young man!
  • Ink-Suit Actor: John looks exactly like John Waters, although his mustache is squigglier than in real life because it was easier to animate.
  • Macho Disaster Expedition: See above. Also, when John saved them, Moe said he'd do anything.
  • Manly Gay: Most of the steel workers (the rest of them were the effeminate Camp Gay archetype)
  • Queer People Are Funny: Everyone at the steel mill.
  • N-Word Privileges: Homer berates John for using the word "queer" because "that's our word for making fun of you. We need it!"
    • Bowdlerization and Executive Meddling: It's obvious that the word "queer" was supposed to be "fag" or "faggot," but it was most likely shot down by the censors when the script was drafted, considering the backstage story of how this episode was almost banned for content and, at the last minute, was allowed to air, but only with changes to the script.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: The reason Homer, Moe and Barney took Bart to deer hunting.
  • Very Special Episode: Not as sappy and preachy as most, but it does have a good message about treating homosexuals as equals and to accept your children, no matter their sexual orientation.
    • Banned Episode: Barely averted. Because the episode centered on homosexuality and homophobia (which in the late 1990s, was still taboo unless it was for dramatic purposes), FOX did not want it to air. It wasn't until a change in management happened that the episode was allowed to air, albeit with some suggestive and/or homophobic lines removed and modified to fit primetime TV standards.
  • What Could Have Been: This episode originally went by the title "Lisa Goes to Camp" and followed a similar plot, only it didn't have the John Waters-esque antique dealer in it.
    • This episode would have been pulled for content had FOX not change its management.
    • The third act originally involved Homer returning to the steel mill to participate in a tractor pull.
    • Finally, John's line "Do you know would like [Homer]? My landlord." was originally "..my father", but was changed at Waters' request. (Waters didn't want to imply his actual father was intolerant of Waters' sexuality.)
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: The gay steel mill/nightclub