It’s possible some of you reading this weren’t even alive when The Simpsons first tackled gay issues in the Season 8 episode “Homer’s Phobia,” which debuted 15 years ago on February 16, 1997.
But Mike Scully, a producer with the long-running series since 1993, told USA Today this week that it’s one of his faves.
In the episode, Homer is uncomfortable with the fact that Marge and the kids have befriended John (director John Waters), the kitsch-loving owner of a local antiques shop. Fearful John is turning Bart gay, Homer embarks on a ridiculous campaign to bolster his son’s masculinity—including a visit to what turns out to be a queer steel mill. Homer eventually overcomes his bias, though, when John rescues him from a hunting trip gone terribly awry. As John cannily explains, “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.”
Scully called the episode “relatable and hilarious” and said the out filmmaker “did a great job.”
After it premiered, “Homer’s Phobia” won a GLAAD Media Award and an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, and was also named one of Entertainment Weekly‘s 25 favorite episodes of The Simpsons.
The show’s 500th episode airs this Sunday at 8pm.
Images via Fox