Homer's Phobia

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"Homer's Phobia"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 8
Directed byMike B. Anderson
Written byRon Hauge
Original air datesFebruary 16, 1997
Episode features
Chalkboard gag"I did not learn everything I need to know in kindergarten"
Couch gagSomeone tries to download the family from "America Onlink" and it freezes.
Episode chronology
The Simpsons (season 8)
List of episodes

"Homer's Phobia" is the Emmy Award-winning 15th episode of The Simpsons' eighth season, aired on February 16, 1997. Homer refuses to see a new family friend after he finds out that the friend is gay. The title is a play on the word "homophobia".


Template:Spoiler While trying to scam neighborhood children with a lottery game, Bart destroys the clothes dryer, costing the Simpsons $900. Marge decides to sell an old family heirloom to pay for the damage, and the family heads off to Cockamamie's, an offbeat antiques shop. While disparaging the store's camp merchandise, Homer meets the equally offbeat antique dealer, John, a collector of toys. Bart and Lisa are impressed with John, and Homer invites him to the Simpsons' house to see the "valuable, worthless crap" there. Homer says he likes John, until Marge informs him that John is a homosexual.

Homer turns against John, refusing to see him and interrogating the family when they return ("He didn't give you gay, did he?"). Meanwhile, the rest of the Simpsons continue to enjoy John's company, especially Bart, whose behavior (wearing Hawaiian shirts, dancing in drag, etc.) makes Homer ill at ease.

Homer endeavors to make Bart more "manly" by forcing him to look at a cigarette billboard featuring scantily-clad women, but this only leads to Bart developing a taste for slim cigarettes. Homer then takes him to see a steel mill's muscle-bound workforce, only to find that the factory is entirely staffed by flamboyantly gay workers. A desperate Homer insists on taking Bart deer hunting with Moe and Barney, but when they can find no deer, they decide instead to ambush reindeer in a pen. This backfires, and the reindeer attack them. John, with the help of Lisa and Marge, uses a Santa Claus toy to scare off the reindeer and save the hunting party. Homer accepts John, more or less, and tells Bart that any way he lives his life is "okay" by him.

The episode is dedicated to the Steelworkers of America ("Keep reaching for that rainbow").


  • This was an extremely controversial episode. The FOX network was flooded with angry letters, but every station still aired the episode as scheduled.
  • Also, this episode was an 1997 Emmy Award-winner for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less).
  • The song playing in the steel mill is "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C&C Music Factory.
  • See LGBT characters on The Simpsons for a complete discussion of the sexual orientation of characters on the series.


In the closing scene where The Simpsons are being driven away in John's car, the background of stars moves relative to the movement of the car. It should stay still as a backdrop, of course.


  • Skinner (looking at political buttons at Cockamamie's): Hmm. These buttons are all partisan. Don't you have any neutral buttons? "Let the better candidate win", "Let's have a good clean election", that sort of thing?
    Cashier: Well, we have some shirt buttons. They're kind of kooky and fun.
    Skinner: Missy, you have just talked yourself right out of a sale! (leaves)
  • Marge: Oh, Homer, look. Look, a TV Guide owned by Jackie O.
    John: You should see the crossword puzzle. She thought Mindy lived with "Mark".
    Homer: Give her a break! Her husband was killed!
    John: Oh, I know, wasn't that terrible?
  • Homer: That John is the greatest guy in the world. We've gotta have him and his wife over for drinks sometime.
    Marge: Hmm, I don't think he's married, Homer.
    Homer: Oh, a swinging 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 closely. John is a ho... mo...
    Homer: Right.
    Marge: ...sexual.
    Homer: AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!
  • Homer: Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod! Oh my god! I danced with a gay! Marge, Lisa, promise me you won't tell anyone. [shaking Lisa] Promise me!!
    Marge: You're being ridiculous.
    Homer: Am I, Marge? Am I? Think of the property values. Now we can never say only straight people have been in this house.
    Marge: I'm very sorry you feel that way, because John invited us all out for a drive today, and we're going.
    Homer: Woah-ho-ho, not me! And not because John's gay, but because he's a sneak. He should at least have the good taste to mince around and let everyone know that he's... that way.
    Marge: What on Earth are you talking about?
    Homer: You know me, Marge: I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals fa-laming.
  • (John takes the family on a tour of the sordid side of celebrity Springfield)
    John: And that's where Kent Brockman was caught cheating in the Springfield marathon.
    The Simpsons: Oooh...
    (passing in front of a plumbing supplies store)
    John: And there's where Lupe Velez bought the toilet she drowned in.
    The Simpsons: Ohhhh!
  • Smithers: John...
    John: Oh hey, Waylon. I'd like ya to meet the Simpsons.
    Smithers: I know the Simpsons. (in John's ear) So this is your "sick mother"?
    John: Don't do this to me, Waylon.
  • Homer: Marge, the boy was wearing a hawaiian shirt.
    Marge: So?
    Homer: There's only two kind of guys who wear those shirts: gay guys and big, fat party animals. And Bart doesn't look like a big, fat party animal to me...
    Marge: So, if you wore a Hawaiian shirt, it wouldn't be gay?
    Homer: Right. Thank you.
  • John: ...and Helen Lovejoy, sure, she looks blonde, but I've heard cuffs and collar don't match, if you get my drift.
    Marge: I don't, but I loved hearing it!
  • John: Homer, what have you got against gays?
    Homer: You know! It's not... usual. If there was a law, it'd be against it!
    Marge: Oh Homer, please! You're embarrassing yourself.
    Homer: No I'm not, Marge! They're embarrassing me. They're embarrassing America. They turned the Navy into a floating joke. They ruined all our best names like Bruce, and Lance, and Julian. Those were the toughest names we had! Now they're just, uh...
    John: Queer?
    Homer: Yeah, and that's another thing! I resent you people using that word. That's our word for making fun of you! We need it!! Well I'm taking back our word, and I'm taking back my son!
  • Moe: Where you been, Homer? The entire steel industry is gay. Eh, aerospace, too, and the railroads. And you know what else? Broadway.
  • Barney: I always hoped Bart would grow up just like us. What happened?
    Moe: Aw, it ain't no mystery. The whole modern world's got a swishifying effect on kids today. And their MTVs and their diet sodas ain't gonna set 'em straight, neither. You gotta do it yourself, Homer, and you gotta do it fast.
    Homer: But what would turn Bart into a man fast? You have to think for me!
    Moe: Well, let's see now, uh, time was you sent a boy off to war. Shooting a man'd fix 'em right up. But there's not even any wars no more, thank you very much, Warren Christopher!
    Barney: Hey, better yet, Bart could shoot a deer! That's like shooting a beautiful man.
    Moe: Hey, he's right, Homer. After the boy bags a deer, all the diet sodas in the world won't turn him back. And you just sit right back and watch the grandchildren roll in.
  • [Homer and Bart gear up for their hunting trip]
    John: Uh oh. Something's gonna die.
    Homer: Butt out, Buttinsky. What would you know about hunting?
    John: I know this much: I wouldn't wear that hideous hat. Here, take this one. It was worn by Yale Summers in Daktari.
    Homer: Hang on to it, Toy-Boy! You might need it when it starts raining naked ladies!
  • Barney: Today, you're gonna be a man, Bart.
    Bart: You guys going to teach me to drive?
    Moe: [to Barney] Oh, yeah, let Twinkle Toes drive Betsy. Right.
    Homer: [chuckling nervously] No, boy. You can't drive. You're only ten. You're going hunting.
    Moe: You ever been hunting before, there, Barty?
    Bart: Nope. Something about a bunch of guys alone together in the woods... seems kinda gay.
    [awkward silence]
    Homer: That is a very immature attitude, young man.
  • Barney (after the deer-hunting trip turns out to be fruitless): Aw, we should have stayed at the bar and shot some rats.
    Moe: Hey! Those ain't your rats, Barn.
  • Moe: Come on, don't take this so hard, Homer. You still got that other kid, uh... Lisa. Let's, uh, take her out hunting tomorrow, make her into a man.
    Homer: Aw, she'd never go. She's a "vegetarian."
    Moe: Oh, geez, Homer, geez! You and Marge ain't cousins, are ya?
  • Barney: Is it all right to come out now, Mr. Gay Man...sir?
    Moe: Yeah, we'll do anything. Anything! (shifty eyes)
  • Barney: Aw, Moe, we were saved by a sissy.
    Moe: Yeah, yeah, we'll never live it down. Oh, boy, it looks like it's suicide again for me.
    Homer: Hey! We owe this guy, and I don't want you calling him a sissy. This guy's a fruit, and a... no, wait, wait, wait: queer, queer, queer! That's what you like to be called, right?
    John: Well, that or "John."
    Lisa: This is about as tolerant as Dad gets so you should be flattered.
    John: Well, Homer, I won your respect, and all I had to do was save your life. Now, if every gay man could just do the same, you'd be set.
    Homer: Amen to that.
  • Homer: Son, maybe it's the concussion talking, but any way you choose to live your life is okay with me.
    Bart (to Lisa): Huh?
    Lisa: (whispers) He thinks you're gay.
    Bart: He thinks I'm GAY?!
  • Marge: (hugs Homer)Hmm...you seem a little softer than before.
    Homer: I've been tenderized.
  • "Dedicated to The Steelworkers of America—Keep Reaching For That Rainbow" (closing supertitle)

External links

  • "Homer's Phobia episode capsule". The Simpsons Archive.