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Queerly beloved


There’s Something About Marrying

Couch gag: The Simpsons, battered and toothless, are ice hockey players skating around the couch holding a trophy

Director: Nancy Kruse

Synopsis: To promote tourism in Springfield, gay marriage is legalised, leading to Marge’s sister Patty to come out.

Discussion: The Simpsons has always pushed the boundaries of social and political issues, and this episode is one of them. Bart and Milhouse have offended a roving reporter, who gives the town a low score on his news show. In order to bring tourism back to the town, gay marriage is legalised. Realising there’s money to be made, Homer becomes an ordained minister via the internet and performs such marriages, including that of his sister-in-law, Patty.

Despite being a hot political issue both when it screened (2005) and now (2014), the episode is given the full Simpsons treatment. There’s religious protests (Ned Flanders was conspicuously absent) and Marge being uncomfortable with her sister’s sexuality. Homer can sometimes be very smart, and I would have loved him to retort Rev Lovejoy’s criticisms with a quote from Leviticus (which is full of gems) about not wearing clothing made from mixed fabrics (yes, I know it’s Moses-era law which was overturned with the death of Jesus blah blah blah. Go lock a menstruating woman in a shed).
Patty’s fiancee, Veronica, is revealed to be a man named Leslie (why couldn’t he have kept the name? Leslie is also a female name). At the altar when Leslie’s true identity is revealed, Patty chooses not to marry him, exclaiming that she likes girls. I’m not entirely satisfied with this ending: while Patty may be attracted to females, would she fall out of love with Leslie simply because he is a man? Falling in love with a person regardless of gender is an entirely different issue, one which I don’t really want to get into here. Still, Patty and Selma work best when they’re being sisters, so marriage will probably never work out for either of them.
So while this ep is classic Simpsons, it doesn’t really reach the heights of earlier seasons. I applaud the show for taking a step in gay equality, because all humans deserve to be treated as equals. And if homosexuality offends you, don’t watch the show. Simples!

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