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Revisiting the first-ever gay episode of The Simpsons

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The Simpsons, ‘Homer’s Phobia’ (Season 8, Episode 15, in case you want to revisit it) airing in America.The plot involves Homer befriending a man named John, played by queer filmmaker, writer, actor and artist John Waters.

Unbeknownst to Homer, John is a gay man, a fact that freaks him out.Not admitting that he is homophobic, he rationalises his reaction by saying it wasn’t because John was gay, but because he was a sneak about it, stating, “I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals fuh-laming”.

His paranoia leads to him suspecting that Bart might be gay, then embarking on a mission to “fix” him, which includes a hilarious scene in a gay steel mill.An episode like this may not seem entirely significant now, but having John Waters as a guest star was a big deal in 1997.

Before this, a Roseanne episode with a gay wedding was moved to a later start time, and Friends featured a gay wedding but without the ceremonial kiss.

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