How far we've come! Remember how a few short years ago, FOX's The Simpsons made a big deal about outing one of their supporting characters as homosexual? There was a huge dramatic build up as people debated which beloved favorite was actually gay and had hidden it for all those years. Yet, this week, it seemed like half the town of Springfield was gay, and the outing of the other characters was done quietly and gradually over the past few seasons.
Like many episodes of The Simpsons, this one changed course about halfway through the half hour. At the start, the story was about Smithers (Harry Shearer) setting out to earn the respect of his boss, Mr. Burns (also Shearer), who left Smithers out of his will in favor of his pet turtle. Smithers decided that a good way to do that was to help Moe (Hank Azaria) turn his failing pub into a happening night spot for the less-desirable homosexuals. Then, suddenly in the second half, Moe was thought of as gay, the mother hen of the motley crew. He was even encouraged to run for office as the town's first openly gay city councilman. That is, until Smithers outed him as being straight. Cruel irony.
But why should that have stopped the gays from supporting Moe? Yes, he lied. But so did many of them until he came out of the closet. He was yearning for acceptance, and they gave it to him. If anyone should be able to understand that feelings Moe was experiencing, it was the gay crowd. It makes me sad they didn't stand behind him, merely dispersing as soon as Smithers revealed the truth. However, the episode was almost over, so a real Moe campaign would have required a second part and additional continuity changes in future episodes, something The Simpsons steadfastly avoids.
Changing the course of the A plot is a Simpsons trademark, and it seems to have worked for them just fine over the years, so I will stay out of criticizing that, though I do still wonder if Burns added Smithers to the will. However, no one bothered to ask Moe if he was gay, they all just assumed? A neighborhood staple who has been in their community for decades? Also, a man who has never really shown any signs of homosexuality up until now? Again, plot holes are something Simpsons fans just overlook, so perhaps I'm over analyzing. After all, there was plenty of great, trademark humor of the series in evidence, and I did enjoy the episode.