Speaking during a weekend panel at San Diego's Comic-Con convention, show producers dropped a bomb: An upcoming Simpsons story line will focus on what happens when Springfield legalizes gay marriage.
"We have a show where, to raise money, Springfield legalizes gay marriage," producer Al Jean told comic book fans. "Homer becomes a minister by going on the Internet and filling out a form. A longtime character comes out of the closet, but I'm not saying who."
And with that, Simpsons aficionados got their gaydar on and began winnowing down the list of potential suspects.
The early favorite appears to be billionaire Monty Burns' ever-devoted sidekick, Waylon Smithers, who--aside from being a yes-man--has been known to collect Malibu Stacy dolls, lives in the gay part of town (where Homer once shacked up with two gay guys), has a Mr. Burns screensaver and dreams of a naked Mr. Burns jumping out of a birthday cake.
But that might be too easy. According to online fan scuttlebutt, there are other characters who might be secretly having a gay old time in Springfield, including Homer's regular-guy cohorts at the nuclear plant, Carl and Lenny, as well as Moe the bartender, the Reverend Lovejoy, Principal Skinner and Comic Book Guy. Of course, the producers didn't rule out a lesbian wedding, either.
"It's Homer!" said a joking Simpsons creator Matt Groening to conventiongoers.
The gay marriage-themed episode is scheduled to air in January.