I wouldn't put it past Groening & co, to do such an obscure reference, and then disguising it as a regular pun-joke.
As David said in the audio-commentaries (bow to our superior product puny region 1 dwellers
), "everybody doesn't have to get each and every joke". Sometime they like to put in an obscure joke, and those who wont get the reference wouldn't notice, but those who get it will be all: "I can't believe they put that obscure, crazy joke in there, just for me!"
So yes, I think it could be a reference to this Melon (which is the elfish word for "friend", BTW) type.