Tuesday, February 22, 2005I tuned in Sunday night to check out the much-anticipated gay marriage episode of The Simpsons. I turned off the television with mixed feelings. I'm not in favor of gay marriage, but if Springfield wants to go for it, I'll watch. The Simpsons won't change the nature of the debate in this country, so I'm curious to see how the whole thing affects the show. For example, I thought giving an unmarried Ross and Rachel a baby was bad. Not simply for moral reasons, but because it was bad television.
So what did I think of the gay Simpson? I'm not sure. Was anyone really shocked that Aunt Patty is a lesbian? On one hand, I'm thankful they didn't ruin the show by outting a major character. This would throw a hot-button issue at the forefront of the show, and I know most folks don't want to deal with that on a weekly basis. On the other hand, if the show's creators are so bent on demonstrating their solidarity with gay rights activists, they should pull the trigger and do something more significant. As it is, it's hard for me to take them seriously on the matter.
Meanwhile, there were a couple of posts on the show yesterday over at the Corner. First, Kathryn Jean Lopez takes a pretty reasonable view of the show's content. See the Brent Bozell quote she cites. I'm not sure that his view is quite so reasonable. "Millions" of kids watch the Simpsons? I might buy into that, but this show isn't new. What parent isn't aware of the show's content? The Simpsons has been on the air for fifteen years.
Tim Graham also appears shocked to learn that ratings might have served as a catalyst for the outing. Well, no kidding. He quotes his boss Bozell:
"At a time when the public mood is overwhelmingly against gay marriage, any show that promotes gay marriage is deliberately bucking the public mood."
Um...so? Whatever my position on the matter, the show is under no responsibility to cater to my sensibilities. If I was really and truly offended by the whole ordeal, I 'd just change the channel. Sorry, Brent, but I wasn't that bothered. Did I agree with it? Nope, but I know good and well that Patty's lesbianism will hardly factor into the show in the long run. And whatever the public's mood about gay marriage, the simple truth of the matter is that Will & Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, to say nothing of all the gay dudes on these home makeover shows, are doing gangbusters in the ratings. Has Bozell not noticed? Surely he has. For better or worse, the public's mood concerning homosexuality - though not necessarily gay marriage - is a very ambiguous matter. Bozell would do well to keep this in mind.