There's Something About Marrying


There's Something About Marrying

Infobox Simpsons episode
episode_name = There's Something About Marrying
episode_no = 345
prod_code = GABF04
airdate = February 20, 2005
writer = J. Stewart Burns
director = Nancy Kruse
couch_gag = The family, dressed as bruised and beaten hockey players, skates around the living room holding the Stanley Cup.


image_caption = Homer performing a gay wedding
season = 16
"There's Something About Marrying" is the tenth episode of the sixteenth season of "The Simpsons". It was written by J. Stewart Burns and directed by Nancy Kruse. The episodes' major plotline involves homosexuality (this time, centering on the right for homosexuals to get married); the third time for The Simpsons (the first being "Homer's Phobia", and second being "Three Gays of the Condo"). This is also the first (and only) episode in America to have a "Viewer Discretion is Advised" warning bumper placed before the opening credits due to its content.

Plot

Bart and Milhouse torment a naive-looking tourist named Howell Huser into breaking his 47-year-long smiling streak, after which he is chased out of town by Dolph, Jimbo and Kearney. Huser later appears on a network's morning TV show warning tourists against visiting Springfield and giving it his lowest rating for any U.S. location. The Springfield tourism business collapses until Lisa suggests they legalize same-sex marriage to entice visitors to their town.

Soon, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples arrive in Springfield. However, Reverend Lovejoy refuses to marry any same-sex couple, citing his belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Homer, after discovering ministers are paid $200 per couple, abandons his opposition to the process and decides to become a minister himself with help from the e-Piscopal Church. He marries every gay couple in town, then puts up a sign saying "Will marry anyone to anything." While debating the issue with Rev. Lovejoy on "Smartline", Homer makes a strong case for gay marriage and mockingly joins the Bible and Rev. Lovejoy in matrimony--adding that Rev. Lovejoy is the wife and that he owes him $200.
Patty finally comes out of the closet, saying that she is in love with a pro golfer named Veronica. This makes Marge extremely uncomfortable, even though the evidence (Patty dressing up like a male construction worker as a child, Patty hanging up a picture of Miss Hathaway from "The Beverly Hillbillies" as a teenager, and Patty making out with a woman at a movie theater lobby when Marge went to see "Sleepless in Seattle" as an adult) was always there (as Patty puts it when Marge claims she never knew, "You could see it from space!"). Patty gets angry and points out Marge acts very liberal about the issue but can't accept her sister's sexuality, and says she hopes to see Marge at her wedding. Before their wedding, Marge discovers Veronica is actually a man but at first laughs and decides to keep quiet about it. Marge is so moved by Patty's heartfelt declaration of love for Veronica that she reveals "Veronica's" secret during the ceremony. "Veronica" explains that as Leslie Robin Swisher, he posed as a woman to get onto the LPGA tour. He then asks Patty if she will still marry him. However, she declines ("Hell no! I like girls!") and thanks Marge for accepting who she is. Patty and Selma then go to leave a bag at the airport unattended, as a way to meet security personnel. Homer finishes the episode conducting some more odd weddings, including that of the Sea Captain and a Carved figurehead

Cultural references

*The title is a reference to the popular comedy film "There's Something About Mary".
*The couch gag is a reference to the NHL hockey lockout.
*Bart and Milhouse give Howell Huser some Troublemint "gum", a parody of the Wrigley's Doublemint gum.
*Veronica sings a couple lines of the Aerosmith song "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)".
*The Howell Huser character is a reference to Huell Howser, a television personality best-known for his travel shows that originate from Los Angeles, California.

Reception

This episode, dealing with "one of the most divisive issues in American society", attracted both praise and criticism before it was aired. Positive reviews came from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, who described this episode as a "ray of light". [Citation | title = Simpsons' gay character is Patty | newspaper = BBC News | date = February 21, 2005 | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/4285287.stm | accessdate = 2007-07-07 ] Entertainment news website [http://afterellen.com AfterEllen.com] approved of the willingness of a "hit network TV show in prime time, watched by children and adults" to "serve up such a politically charged issue". [Citation |last=Kennerley |first=David | title = "Simpsons" Episode Offers Fresh, Funny Take on Gay Marriage| date = February 22, 2005 | url = http://www.afterellen.com/TV/2005/2/simpsons.html| accessdate = 2007-07-07 ] However, a researcher for the American Family Association claimed the "Simpsons" presentation of same-sex marriage was "very one-sided", noting how Rev. Lovejoy was made to appear hypocritical. [Citation |last = Rettig | first= Mary | title = Researcher: 'Outing' of Simpsons Character Consistent with Hollywood Bias | date = February 22, 2005 | url = http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/2/afa/222005b.asp | accessdate = 2007-07-07 ] The conservative group Parents Television Council criticized the episode for promoting gay marriage, adding "At a time when the public mood is overwhelmingly against gay marriage, any show that promotes gay marriage is deliberately bucking the public mood." [Citation |last = Kwon | first=Lillian | title = 'Simpsons' Hits on Gay Marriage Issue| date = February 23, 2005 |newspaper = The Christian Post| url = http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050223/20916.htm | accessdate = 2007-07-07 ]

In response to the claims that this episode was supporting gay marriage, Executive Producer Al Jean replied, "We don't really take any positions for or against anything, we just like to examine all sides of an issue and I think that anyone who would get their political wisdom from a cartoon might be sadly mistaken." [Citation |last = Tomlinson | first=Kathy | title = 'Simpsons' Springfield to legalize gay marriage| date = February 20, 2005 | url = http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1108839529477_49?hub=World| accessdate = 2007-07-07 ]

Despite information revealing Patty to be the character that comes out appearing on the internet several months before the episode aired, bookmakers in the United States and the United Kingdom were taking bets as to which character would be revealed as homosexual, and whether there would be a kiss - BetUS.com posted odds on the kiss at 7 to 5, and laid odds on Patty as the favorite to come out of the closet. [Citation | last = Waxman | first = Sharon | title = 'Simpsons' Animates Gay Nuptials, and a Debate | newspaper = The New York Times | date = February 21, 2005 | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/21/arts/television/21simpsons.html?ex=1266728400&en=04eaa677d455b960&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland | accessdate = 2007-07-07 ] Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpsons, joked at a San Diego comic convention, "it's Homer". [Citation | title = Simpsons to reveal gay character| newspaper = BBC News| date = July 28, 2004 | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3932369.stm | accessdate = 2007-07-07 ]

References


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