27 seasons in, Mr. Burns' assistant finally comes out as gay, and guess who has to fix him up?
After 27 years of barely being in the closet, ‘The Simpsons’ character Waylon Smithers finally came out as gay in this weekend’s brand new episode of the animated show.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, the episode in question titled ‘The Burns Cage’ and which aired on Sunday night (April 3rd) was inspired by a ‘Simpsons’ writer’s relationship with his gay son. In the episode, Smithers finally comes to terms with his unrequited love for his boss Mr. Burns, whereupon Homer (who else?) steps in to find a better match for him.
“We didn't really want to have that big moment of 'I'm out,' you know?” one of the show’s contributors Rob LaZebnik said about why he felt the storyline would fly after nearly three decades of the painfully obvious finally coming to an end. “Instead, just have it be a big embrace — like everyone knows it.”
During the episode, which airs in the UK this Sunday (April 10th) on Sky1, Homer, Lenny and Carl overhear Smithers singing about his boss while at work at the nuclear power plant, and decide to get him hooked up to make him an easier boss to work for.
LaZebnik continued that the storyline, which he pitched to the show’s producers nearly three years ago, was inspired by when his teenage son Johnny told him about his own homosexuality. “I am a Midwestern guy, so I don't tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, but I thought, 'What better way to tell my son I love him than to write a cartoon about it?’”
Critical reviews of the show were mixed, with some arguing there was a missed opportunity for a deeper storyline, but most fan reactions were positive.