“Simpsons” Episode Offers Fresh, Funny Take on Gay Marriage

The Simpson family

When did cartoon characters get added to the gay agenda?

Earlier this year, Christian activists were trying to drag SpongeBob Squarepants out of an imaginary closet and vilify him, perhaps because he displays a sweet sensitivity toward his pal Patrick Starfish. Or maybe it’s because of his penchant for prancing about in his underwear—they weren’t exactly clear.

The zealots claimed the hugely popular Nickelodeon cartoon characters are being “exploited to promote the acceptance of homosexuality” to children, but the show’s creator, Stephen Hillenberg insists the yellow absorbent one is asexual.

Then there was the brouhaha over the young children’s PBS cartoon, Postcards from Buster, which featured a real little girl in Vermont raised by two mommies. Education secretary Margaret Spellings threatened to pull public funding and many affiliates refused to air the program.

Now the cynically irreverent animated staple, The Simpsons, which has flirted with gay themes before in its astounding 15-year run on FOX (it’s now the longest running comedy in TV history, edging out Ozzie and Harriet), has devoted an entire episode to same-sex weddings. Apart from the media speculation—and a frenzy of online betting—over which character might walk out of the closet and down the aisle, there was surprisingly scant public outcry from cultural conservatives denouncing the episode.

And to those fussbudgets who feel the show “jumped the shark” long ago, let me assure you that, based on this episode, “There’s Something About Marrying,” The Simpsons is in top form. It still reigns as the funniest, brashest, fastest-paced half-hour you’ll see on television.

It’s impossible to succinctly describe any Simpsons plot, but I’ll try. After a roving news reporter declares Springfield the least desirable place in America, Lisa suggests they turn their town into a same-sex marriage mecca to boost faltering tourism, as well as to support civil rights. Mayor Quimby agrees, more than happy to “legalize gay money.”

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