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Recap / The Simpsons S8 E15: "Homer's Phobia"

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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):

  • Call-Back: The "Pin Pals" shirt John found at Goodwill is Homer's from "Team Homer".
  • Camp: John is a big fan of this, and considers the Simpson home a prime example.
  • Camp Gay: John borders between this and Straight Gay. Examples of both are shown working at the steel mill.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Robot Santa in John's car ends up saving the day by scaring off the reindeers.
  • 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.
    Homer: We gotta have [John] and his wife over for drinks sometime.
    Marge: Mmm, I don't think he's married, Homer.
    Homer: Oh, a swingin' 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: He prefers the company of men.
    Homer: Who doesn't?
    Marge: Homer, listen carefully. John is a homo—
    Homer: Right.
    Marge: —sexual.
    • Bart also fails to notice what Homer is doing until Lisa tells him that Homer thinks he (Bart) is gay, right at the end.
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  • Crapsack World: If you ask Homer, at least.
    Homer: The whole world's gone gay!
  • Cure Your Gays: Homer attempts this on Bart.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: As John and Marge playfully tap one another in complimentary fashion over her corn on the cob kitchen drapes, Bart then whacks Homer in the stomach as hard as he can only for him to begin choking him in front of them.
  • Driven to Suicide: Feeling humiliated at being rescued by John, Moe says he's considering killing himself (this being the first mention of his suicidal tendencies, a couple of seasons before it became his signature non-sex offender trait)
  • 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.
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  • 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 against homosexual men, not homosexual women, like a lot of entertainment media and men do in real life.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Homer's attempts to keep Bart in straight territory led them to visit a steel mill full with sweaty men in trousers who are too much into dancing.
  • 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 about a bunch of guys alone together in the woods... seems kinda gay.
    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: Roscoe, the foreman at the steel mill is implied to be this, although most of the workers are more of the effeminate kind.
  • N-Word Privileges: Homer berates John for using the word "queer" because "that's our word for making fun of you. We need it!"
  • Papa Wolf: When the reindeer attack Homer and Bart, Homer lifts Bart above his head to keep him out of harm's way while he takes the brunt of the attack.
  • Queer People Are Funny: Everyone at the steel mill.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: The reason Homer, Moe and Barney took Bart to deer hunting.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: The conversation between Homer and his brain when he decides to make sure Bart doesn't turn out gay. It does not go well.
    (Homer places his arm on Bart's shoulder)
    Homer's Brain: You're leaving the arm there too long. You want to make it worse? (Abruptly removes it)
    Homer's Brain: No, no! He'll know you're on to him! Quick! Shake his hand!
    Homer: (shaking his hand) Just remember son, whatever happens, I'll always I love you.
    Homer's Brain: (fearfully) As? As?
    Homer: As a father! Uh, a father! Regular father! (sighs with relief)
  • Shout-Out: In one scene, Marge presents the kids their favorite snack. The dialogue only refers to them as "store-bought snack cakes — both kinds", but they're clearly specifically Hostess CupCakes and Sno Balls. (To Homer's obvious dismay, Bart picks a Sno Ball.)
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In a way.
    Homer: (to the gay steel workers) You people are sick!
    Worker: Oh, be nice!
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: Upon seeing Bart with a Hawaiian t-shirt, Homer tells Marge that there are only two people who wears those shirts: gay guys and big fat party animals and Bart doesn't look like the latter to him.
    Marge: So if you wore a Hawaiian shirt, it wouldn't be gay?
    Homer: Right. Thank you!
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: "Hot stuff, coming through."
  • 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.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: The gay steel mill/nightclub

Example of: