The Simpsons ‘Helps Gay People Come Out’ Says New Study
The Simpsons has been credited with helping gay people come out because of its positive portrayal of homosexuality.
A new study has analysed how Matt Groening’s long running TV series has been “trailblazing” in changing attitudes toward gay people and countering discrimination.
Conducted by German librarian Erwin In het Panhuis, the study is featured in the book ‘Behind the Gay Laughter: Homosexuality in ‘The Simpsons.” In it, he analyzes 490 scenes and 70 gay characters from the Fox series, which first aired in 1989. According to The Local, In het Panhuis notes that by including gay characters and scenarios, ‘The Simpsons’ has quashed prejudices.
For example, Smithers is among the many gay recurring characters on the show, whose unrequited love for his boss Mr Burns is far more than just an ongoing joke. ‘It is a very complicated relationship full of fear and unrequited love and moments of real tenderness,’ Panhuis said.
In 2005, it was the first cartoon to dedicate a full episode to same-sex marriage. Marge’s sister Patty’s sexuality had been hinted at several times in the series until this episode. For example in the 1992 episode Treehouse of Horror III, Homer runs past her naked and she says: ‘There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality.’
Fox channel has been broadcasting The Simpsons, for 20 years despite its conservative news coverage. In het Panhuis told the Local he thought the network might have continued to show the Simpsons as a “liberal fig leaf” in its entertainment package to appear diverse.
What are your thoughts on this story? Leave a comment below or tweet us @rukkle.