This episode of The Simpsons features a guest voice by actor Bryan Batt. He played Salvatore Romano, the agency’s deep-in-the-closet art director on Mad Men in a performance that I used to think wasn’t fooling anybody in the 21st century viewing audience.
I don’t really have anything else to add but wanted to put that somewhere.
It’s Homer and Marge’s anniversary, and that means it’s time for a special date night for the pair. Of course, the two have a problem: no sitter. They are blacklisted. Sure, Homer wants to use the Alexa, but Marge is wary of that. That means they have to go get Grampa. Grampa was already pretty down when he realized Mona wasn’t coming back (she is dead after all), so he’ll do it. And since Grampa has to be returned in an hour, that means speed-dating for Homer and Marge so they can get all the stuff Homer had planned done and still get back in time.
But there’s a problem. Grampa had an attack of PTSD when Bart busted out the little green army men. Why?
Well, a trip to the doctor’s shows Grampa doesn’t have any problems with his wartime experience. Nothing then bothered him. Heck, he got along fine when he realized he liked murdering strangers.
But then Bart notices that the army men look kinda like Grampa.
Yeah, Grampa’s trauma came from the fact he was the guy who posed for the photos that were used to model those toy soldiers. After the war, he was walking around in his uniform, kissing nurses only to be slapped and reminded the war ended two years earlier, when some toy executives took note of him and asked him to pose for some photos in exchange for some royalty money. But Grampa never got paid! So, he goes on TV to say so to Kent Brockman, but because of the money involved, he gets upgraded to guest star Lawrence O’Donnell’s show, where the two get into an argument over who has the actual last word (O’Donnell cheats).
A bit of both, actually.
See, they fly out in the lap of luxury, cleaning out the M&M store, staying in a fancy hotel, getting a limousine for each member of the family, even Maggie, and Grampa even gets a piggyback ride from guest star and mayor of New York Bill de Blasio. You can see Rhode Island from up there!
But then we find out the reason Grampa wasn’t paid was because he never signed the contract…or gave his name. Something else had happened.
See, the photographer was one Phillip Hefflin (Batt), and during the session, Batt had kissed Grampa. Grampa had then freaked out and ran away to the manliest thing he could find, namely a Rock Hudson movie (uh, Grampa…) and Hefflin was fired for being gay because it was the 40s.
The 40s suck.
That horrifies Marge, and she suggests that Grampa’s freak out is guilt over ruining another man’s career. As such, when the family is flying back on a much cheaper airline, they decide to detour to Texas where Hefflin lives so Grampa can apologize. And it’s the flat, open, empty part of Texas, where the signs say the state is the “Reluctant Home of Ted Cruz”. As it is, Hefflin is living in Marfa, Texas, which may or may not be the artistic capital of the state. And…Hefflin is fine. Getting fired was the best thing he could have hoped for as it let him do his own thing. And that was a lot of art work about Grampa in uniform. Grampa even agrees to pose for more photos, and when Hefflin points out studies that may or may not be peer reviewed suggest everyone is a little bit gay, Grampa kisses him back.
Bart saw that. He got something in Texas he’ll never forget.
As it is, Grampa realizes he isn’t gay, but he’s glad Hefflin is OK. Trauma solved.
You know, this is not the first time someone assumed Grampa was gay. What is it about the guy that makes people think that?