|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 22|
|Directed by||Chuck Sheetz|
|Written by||Matt Selman|
|Original air date||January 16, 2011|
|Couch gag||The couch is a bowl. An arm releases five scoops of ice cream resembling the Simpsons into the bowl and tops it with chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry. Santa's Little Helper eats the sundae and belches.|
"Flaming Moe" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' twenty second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 16, 2011. It follows the efforts of Waylon Smithers to earn Mr. Burns' respect by turning Moe's Tavern into a successful gay bar, leading Moe to become more popular as a gay man than Smithers. Meanwhile, Principal Skinner looks for love with the substitute music teacher.
Waylon Smithers learns that he is not included in Mr. Burns' will. When he confronts Burns, he tells Smithers he only respects "self-made men". Dejected, Smithers tries to cheer himself up by going to "The League of Extra Horny Gentlemen", a gay bar, but is denied entrance because he is not as attractive or fashionable as the rest of the clientele. Stopping by Moe's Tavern instead, he notices how slow business is and proposes to Moe that they refurbish his bar and make it into a gay bar, with the encouragement of other gays who were not accepted into the other lookist bar. Smithers hopes to earn Mr. Burns' respect by building a successful business in addition to having a place in which he can feel accepted. They turn Moe's into an ultra-trendy gay bar called Mo's. Mo's new patrons come to believe that Moe too is gay, a misconception he encourages for fear of losing their business. He becomes more popular than Smithers, so popular with the local gay community that they push Moe to run for the city council to become the first "openly gay" council member.
Smithers attempts to "out" Moe as straight while Moe is announcing his candidacy by demanding that Moe kiss him. Puckering his lips, Moe leans into Smithers, but at the last minute cannot and announces that he was lying. Moe asks for forgiveness and hopes that they understand his need to be accepted. The crowd is nevertheless disheartened and angry, and leaves. Before Moe leaves, he grabs Smithers and kisses him, afterward saying "Like frisbee golf, I'm glad I tried it once". The credits end as Mo's is renovated back to the old Moe's Tavern again.
Meanwhile, Principal Skinner tries to date the substitute music teacher, Calliope Juniper (Kristen Wiig), and sets her daughter Melody (Alyson Hannigan) up with Bart as an excuse to spend time with her. Even though Melody idolizes Bart, he cannot stand her and eventually breaks up with her. Ms. Juniper quits her job and she and Melody move out of town. She asks Skinner to come with them and he accepts. He returns three months later, saddened by the end of the relationship but content that he was able to maintain it for as long as he did.
"Flaming Moe" was written by Matt Selman and was directed by Chuck Sheetz, both their first credit for the season. The episode also featured guest appearances by actress Alyson Hannigan, actress and comedian Kristen Wiig, and comedian Scott Thompson reprising his role as Grady from "Three Gays of the Condo".
Moe's run for office is an homage to the plot of the film Milk. Moe points to photos of previous episodes when he relaunched his bar, such as Bart Sells His Soul (A family restaurant), Homer the Moe (a trendy new bar), and Mommie Beerest (A British pub).
In its original American broadcast, "Flaming Moe" was viewed by an estimated 6.38 million households and received a 3.1 rating/8 share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49 ranking third in its timeslot.
Rowan Kaiser of The A.V. Club called it a "strong episode", writing "this was a very good episode of The Simpsons. The guest stars added instead of subtracting, it had a gently satirical inverse of gay panic jokes, and it was pretty damn funny." He gave the episode a B+, the highest rating of the night, beating Bob's Burgers, American Dad!, Family Guy and The Cleveland Show.