17
Jan
11

A Flapping Dickey of Outdated Gay Jokes

Principal Charming3

It goes almost without saying that American culture has changed in a lot of ways since the Simpsons family came on stage in the late 80s.  In addition to the usual twists and turns of taste in everything from music and clothing to movies and cars you would expect over any two decade stretch, the last twenty plus years have also seen an enormous expansion in the civic space afforded to gay and lesbian Americans.  People who were seen as so culturally toxic that even referring to them on television was all but forbidden in 1989 have become commonplace in 2011.  That remarkable transformation hasn’t been without its ups and downs, but it has inarguably altered the way certain topics are presented and discussed in the genteel world of network television.  Too bad nobody told Zombie Simpsons.

And it is here that I will quote Harvey Fierstein, Springfield Hero, who was referring to an episode that aired eight seasons ago when he said:

Jim Brooks and Matt Groening and those writers have always added that extra something beneath the surface, and it just wasn’t there.  Basically, Homer just had a lot of fun hanging out with gay men, and drinking in bars, and dancing at discos, and all that, and there was nothing – there was no commentary there.  Every restaurant had a silly gay name.  They gym had a silly gay name.  They were all double entendres, obviously.  And I said, “Anybody could do this.  You’re the fucking Simpsons.  Do something we have never seen before.”

Basic plot elements aside, everything Fierstein said applies to “Flaming Moe”.  The episode is little more than a series of non-sequiturs used to parade tired, shop worn cliches across the screen.  None of them are insightful or contain any kind of layered meaning, they’re just there for the cheapest possible laugh requiring the least possible thought.  Making all of this even more pathetic than it otherwise would be, this was a show that was, once upon time those two decades ago, really ahead of the curve on this kind of humor.  They hinted at Smithers being gay way back in Season 1, when television’s idea of homosexual began and ended with guys like Paul Lynde and Liberace.  Zombie Simpsons was out of date eight years ago, circa Season 22 things have only gotten worse. 

The numbers are in and, as expected, they are bad.  With no football lead in to protect it, last night’s recitation from Random House’s 1999 classic “Queers for Dummies” was scoffed at by a mere 6.47 million viewers.  That is the lowest number of the season so far, and hopefully presages further bottom feeding for the rest of the year. 


6 Responses to “A Flapping Dickey of Outdated Gay Jokes”


  1. 1 Celia
    17 January 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I can’t get framegrabs of it yet, so I just read some reviews. The idea of actually watching it to find out how crappy it was makes me feel a little upset, however. Also, someone in the comments of the TV Club review said it was crap, and got called a homophobe by some Anonymous. I do dislike this thing on the perhaps less mature parts of the internet where someone will complain about the crappy handling of a gay theme in something, and get called a homophobe in response. It’s almost as if people prefer shitty gay stereotypes for the entertainment of straight people than proper handling of character and theme.

    (obviously, since I don’t want to see this episode, I am not judging it fairly. But I trust your judgement when it comes to the show, and considering the more recent gay-themed episodes I have seen…)

  2. 2 Lovejoy Fan
    17 January 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Well, I’ll have to take back my request for the writers to kill CBG off. Not because I’ve changed my mind or anything like that; odds are, if they actually kill him off, they’ll replace him with an almost identical twin called “Comic Book Gay”…

    You weren’t missing anything, Celia.

    • 3 Celia
      17 January 2011 at 2:20 pm

      “We can’t get rid of CBG anyway, because everybody loves him. Literally everybody. The internet told us so.”

      – A season 22 scriptwriter’s opinion

  3. 4 Mike Russo
    17 January 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Before this episode aired I predicted it would be nothing but 30 minutes of really obvious, lame gay jokes. Looks like I was right.

    What a pathetic waste of time.


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