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Simpsons writer reveals heartwarming real-life inspiration for show’s coming out story

Nick Duffy April 1, 2016
Waylon Smithers finally came out on The Simpsons in 2016

Waylon Smithers and Mr Burns (Fox)

A Simpsons writer has revealed the real-life inspiration for an upcoming plot that will see a long-running gay character come out to his boss.

Waylon Smithers, voiced by Harry Shearer, has appeared on the show since the very first season in 1990, and has long been portrayed as a closeted gay men, who is in love with Mr Burns.

However, times change – and recent seasons have attempted to tackle the character’s sexuality head on.

It was confirmed last month that in episode ‘The Burns Cage’ airing April 3, Smithers will finally come out as gay.

The show will deal with the pair’s relationship and the not-very-surprised reaction from others in the town to the revelation. George Takei is slated to appear in the episode as himself.

But Simpsons writer Rob LaZebnik, who penned the episode, reveals the idea had a very real starting point.

Speaking to the New York Post, LaZebnik explained that he was inspired to write the plot when his own son Johnny, a student, came out to him as gay.

He said: “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?.”

Johnny LaZebnik added: “The revelation that my father loves me is not much of a revelation, thankfully. He’s unbelievably accepting. We’re as close as a straight dad and a gay son could be.

“I was the gayest little kid, and my parents knew that. I told them I was interested in a boy. My parents were, like, ‘Yeah, we know.’ ”

The student continued: “[Dad] once sent me an e-mail, and the header was just ‘How does Grindr work?’

“I screenshotted and Instagrammed it and sent it to all my gay friends because it made me laugh so much.”

Mr LaZebnik is not the only dad to make a powerful pro-equality statement this week: an Alberta dad recently released a pro-gay battle rap after a ‘concerned’ mum rapped about ‘gender benders’

More: coming out, Gay, LGBT, plot, sexuality, simpsons, smithers, the simpsons, US, Waylon Smithers

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