''Oh, Moe. How could you lie about who you are, when who we are is all we are?''
Line from a gay character at the end of ''Flaming Moe,'' the title of this week's episode of the animated TV show, ''The Simpsons.'' (The Simpsons)
The plot began with Mr. Smithers finding out that Mr. Burns didn't respect him for being a "self-made man.'' After that, Smithers is prohibited from entering the town's fashionable, gay gym-boy disco. He then asks tavern owner, Moe, if he'd like to reinvent his business as a successful gay bar. Together, they do, but the new gay patrons mistake Moe for being one of them. He ends up coming out as a closeted heterosexual in the end, saying:
"I just wish you people could know what it's like to want acceptance.''
The latest goofy look at the gay community included funny jabs at many stereotypes, some they've touched on before -- little dogs, swishy men... voguing. This time they included drag queens and older men; Grizzly Sean and Comic Book Gay being two new characters.
The Simpsons has always included gay and lesbian characters, and has occassionally been criticized for it's portrayals. Gay actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein appeared in a 1990 episode as Homer's gay secretary, Karl. But when he was asked to return for a later episode, Fierstein criticized the scriptwriters for not progressing beyond stereotypes. That episode went on to air without him, and the creators have put out many more episodes dedicated to gay characters and storylines.
Note: For the reader who asked for citation of Harvey Fierstein's criticism of the Simpsons, he's quoted here about that moment in gay history, 1994: