Thursday, March 10, 2005
Meet Our New Contributor- Frederick Meekins
- By Frederick Meekins
Simpsons Episode On Gay Marriage Not As A Flaming An Outrage As It Could Have Been
Regardless of one's opinion of "The Simpsons", one has to admit the show has no problem tackling controversial material most would rather sweep under the rug. And even though it would have been better had producers left the issue of gay marriage alone, the show was able to inject a degree of its classic subversive wit into what could have been an approach characterized by nothing but a doctrinaire political correctness.
When most heard sodomite matrimony was coming to the quintessential American town of Springfield, most assumed the abomination would be heralded with typical Hollywood applause and accolades. And though I would be uncomfortable with letting younger children view the episode, it was not without humorous aspects exposing the hypocrisy inherent to this social outrage.
For gay nuptials were not ultimately sanctioned in this fictional municipality out of a warped interpretation of love or equity but rather in an attempt to bring back lost tourist dollars after Bart and Milhaus create a bad impression of the town in the mind of a roving travel correspondent. Homer gets into the money making racket by getting ordained and opening a wedding chapel in his garage.
"The Simpsons" is often characterized by a degree of philosophical reflection beneath all of its silliness uncommon to television sitcoms. This episode also sparked additional thought by touching on the point that, if same sex marriage is allowed, on what grounds do we continue to forbid other reprehensible couplings? This point was comically made when brother and sister hillbillies wanted to get married and Homer fantasized about marrying himself ("Homersexual" marriage, eh) with a house full of little Homers.
The most penetrating point of the show centered around the ambivalence exhibited by Marge Simpson. Throughout the early part of the episode, Marge is an enthusiastic supporter of this social perversion.
However, overthrowing the established moral order loses a bit of its appeal when she learns one of her own sisters is a lesbian. Reminds one of the adage that a liberal is a conservative that has not been mugged yet, her revulsion at the prospects of her sister falling into this lifestyle serving as a testament to the disgust many experience to the practice despite their best efforts at being good little radicals and harping the party line.
Though most would be reluctant to admit it, the world depicted on "The Simpsons" is probably one of the most realistic reflections of the American moral climate on television today. If the episode meant to proclaim the joys and beauty of gay marriage to the nation is wracked by as much reluctance to the practice as was able to wiggle its way into the plot, it means --- though tottering on the edge of the abyss --- there is still a sliver of hope provided Americans of principle don't cower before these boisterous libertines.
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins