Is Homer Simpson Bi-Curious?

Humanity's Achievements

This is a screen capture from a recent episode of The Simpsons, “The Man Who Came to Be Dinner.” It’s a good example of the density of the comedy that the show produces. In the episode, Homer is explaining to aliens on another world the great achievements of humanity. This image is only on the screen for a couple of seconds. And if I hadn’t paused it, I would have missed the best joke in it. The one joke that everyone gets is, “Free Refills” and “Did I mention ‘Free Refills’?” It’s so Homer! And so is the utter laziness of “Pre-mixed Peanut Butter and Jelly.”

I’m not quite sure how to take “Ringo Starr’s All Star Band.” I assume that it is a reference to the fact that Ringo Starr is embarrassingly bad. He really has no talent and never has had any talent. He did, however, star as himself in an episode in the second season, “Brush with Greatness.” But this had to do with a teenage crush of Marge, and nothing to do with Homer.

“Instant Replay in MLB” is very silly. I think it may well kill the game. I’m not a sports fan, but I like the snark on the issue.

What I didn’t notice at all was the fourth item, “Grindr.” I had no idea what it was, so I looked it up. According to Wikipedia, “Grindr is a geosocial networking application geared towards gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men.” I’m sure the writers just loved that one! It’s so great to throw in the middle of Rupert Murdoch’s empire. And the idea of Homer being bi-curious is funny as hell.

The Simpsons still has an unbelievable amount of vitality even 26 years on. It really is amazing.

4 thoughts on “Is Homer Simpson Bi-Curious?

  1. Like most people, I haven’t watched the show in a while, but I do catch snippets people alert me to. Such as this great opener from “Banksy” a few years back:

    I think “The Simpsons” suffers from having been so enormously influential. There’d been nothing like it in TV animation since the 1960s. Now you can find scores of animated shows with a decidedly skewed take on regular American life; many live-action shows besides. (Most successful modern sitcoms owe a lot to “The Simpsons.”) It seems less fresh now because it has many, many children. (26 years! I’m aging!)

    Doesn’t mean they don’t still have some good writers. There was one joke I remember from the “Simpsons” movie, a real doozy. Suddenly, the end of the world is announced. We see a long shot of a bar next door to a church. Everyone from the bar is running into the church; and everyone from the church is running into the bar.

    To my knowledge Murdoch gives less of two shits what his entertainment empire says or does as long as it rings up profit. (Like his fellow right-wing extremists, the fundamentalist Coors family, who sell sex and alcoholism on TV commercials.) I did hear that Murdoch was incensed by Warren Beatty’s “Bulworth” and wanted that movie squashed; to this day it has a terrible video transfer on DVD and nobody remembers it. Aside from that instance, he doesn’t care. I’ve seen Family Guy episodes where Gestapo officers wore “McCain/Palin” buttons.

    Really, it should be Marge that’s bi-curious! She deserves a break!

    • I still think The Simpsons stands out and compares really well to the other shows. About the only thing the super successful shows that came after it do is add a level of coarseness that clearly appeals to some but doesn’t really work for me. I wasn’t fond of concept at the very beginning (before Fox), because it wasn’t very clever: just catch phrases and a highly dysfunctional family. Regardless, The Simpsons is still able to hit it out of the park. (For the record, I now like Bob’s Burgers more — it has more heart and I feel like Bob much of the time.)

      I saw Bulworth in the theater. And I revisited it recently, Politics of Bulworth. I can see why Murdoch would hate it, but I don’t know why he would make a big deal of it. The film actually pushes ideas that are much loved by conservatives: there is no difference between the parties and if politicians would just tell the truth everything would be fixed. I just saw that his mother lived to be 102. Could we really had to deal with this monster for another two decades?!

      • I do need to check out Bob’s Burgers. Jon Benjamin is such a hilarious voice actor.

        I’m going to over-defend “Bulworth” here. Yes, it is a “Matrix”/”V For Vendetta”/”9-11 truther” edition of “if people only KNEW, they’d all rise up and change everything” exercise in stupid. That’s not remotely how change works. The Occupy people didn’t change anything systematic. They changed themselves by participating in Occupy, and have participated in a lot of useful shit since then. That’s the important thing.

        “Bulworth” at least frames this somewhat believably via the gimmick of having the senator be awake for 72 hours and hopped up on booze and coke before he makes his ranty speeches. Is it a bit childish? Sure, it is.

        The primary reason I love that movie is because of where I was when I saw it. I’d fallen out of favor with the successful people I knew in my youth, because I was poor. I went to a theater showing “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.” Before the movie started, the crowd was discussing things like meeting famous liberal celebrities in Aspen. The movie struck me as all wrong. Thompson’s book masters switching between first-person and third-person narrative; the things he does that are really crummy, which he’s aware of as being crummy behavior, are described in the third person, the stuff that is just 70’s-era conservatism at its worst are described in the first person; Thompson can’t believe he’s seeing it.

        The movie gets all of that wrong; it takes for granted that we snicker at conservatives. Since I always liked that book and recently found the snarkiness of modern neoliberals (social liberals who think poor people like me are repugnant turds) really annoying, I walked out of “Fear And Loathing” and walked into the auditorium showing “Bulworth.”

        There were only a few other people there. None were white. And we all loved the movie.

        I’m going to disagree that the movie’s message, simplistic as it was, wasn’t positive. It wasn’t saying there is no difference between the political parties. It was saying get off yer ass and move the Democratic party to the left. That’s what the homeless man at the end was saying with “don’t be no ghost.” That message was murky, it could have been stated more clearly, but I think that’s what the message was.

        Hell, “Bulworth” mentioned the dirty word, “socialism.” Name me a movie in subsequent years that did the same. It’s simple, sure. It’s also one of the very few things that Murdoch ever got pissed about. Make Homer bi-curious, pound “Family Guy” with tons of funny anti-idiot-fundamentalist jokes, Murdoch doesn’t care. Mention how Medicare costs a ton less than privatized insurance programs, suddenly Murdoch gets mad.

        The movie cold have been a lot better emphasizing that change is up to us and not Bulworth, I’ll grant you that.

        • I do remember in the film, Bulworth throws out little political corrections that go against what everyone “knows.” And I like the idea that all our politicians know this stuff and just don’t talk about it. (I don’t think that’s true; I think most politicians — especially conservatives — are incredibly ignorant and proudly so.) I don’t have a problem with the film on the micro-level. It is just that I am very concerned about this broader issue. I write a lot about how people make a big deal out of the low approval rating for Congress. It’s meaningless. It just means that there are a whole lot of people who think it is too conservative and a whole lot who think it is too liberal. I am certain that if voting were mandatory, America would be solidly center-left. But the way it is, it is closely divided and pretty much centrist. The problem, above all, is not in our politicians, but in ourselves. If we liberals did a better job of getting people out to vote, the politicians would become better. I understand there is a chicken-egg thing going on here: better politicians would encourage more people to vote. But the main issue is on the voter side. And I discussed that in my article: the reason Bulworth won by a landslide was not because conservatives voted for him; it was because tremendous numbers of unlikely voters did vote. Or at least, that would be the case in the real world. Most conservative would see Bulworth rapping and hanging out with black people and vote against him just for that.

          I should also point out that I had good things to say about the film and said that Beatty was a great director. So there!

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