Zapp Brannigan Meets 'Lee Lemon'
In "War is the H-Word" (November 26th, 2000), Leela flouts the Earth Army's no-women policy and joins the war effort against Spheron I (a planet populated by hilarious bouncing-ball aliens), disguised as a man. Taking the name "Lee Lemon," she soon attracts the attention of General Zapp Brannigan, who's long nursed a crush on Leela and quickly develops romantic feelings for this strapping male recruit, giving Lee a solid handshake and commending his hand for being "soft as a velvet child."
While writing the script, Cohen says the episode's writers raised the question of Brannigan's sexual orientation. "We're having a discussion, 'Wait, are we making a more general comment about Zapp Brannigan's sexuality? Is he straight? Is he gay? What are we trying to say here?' Ultimately, we actually came to a decision on that topic, which is, 'No, he's Leela-centric.' In any form, he's attracted to Leela. That's Zapp Brannigan's sexuality in a nutshell. You can do anything to Leela, and he'll still be attracted to her."