Matt Groening (1997)
Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Written by Ron Hauge
Guest starring John Waters
Homer’s Phobia is the fifteenth episode in the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 16, 1997. In the episode, Homer dissociates himself from new family friend John after discovering that he is gay. Homer fears that John will have a negative influence on his son Bart and decides to ensure Bart’s heterosexuality by taking him hunting.
It was the first episode written by Ron Hauge and was directed by Mike B. Anderson. George Meyer pitched “Bart the homo” as an initial idea for an episode while show runners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein were planning an episode involving Lisa “discovering the joys of campy things”. Oakley and Weinstein combined the two ideas and they eventually became “Homer’s Phobia”. Fox censors originally found the episode unsuitable for broadcast because of its controversial subject matter, but this decision was reversed after a turnover in the Fox staff. Filmmaker John Waters guest-starred, providing the voice of the new character, John.
Homer’s Phobia was the show’s first episode to revolve entirely around gay themes and received a positive critical response both for its humor and anti-homophobia message. It won four awards, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) and a GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding TV – Individual Episode” in 1998.