The Simpsons’ resident gay icon Waylon Smithers finally finds love in momentous new episode
Iconic gay character and lackey of villain Mr Burns, Waylon Smithers, will finally find love in an upcoming episode of The Simpsons.
Even casual Simpsons viewers knew that Smithers is gay and had been harbouring a crush on his boss since the show first debuted. But it wasn’t until the 2016 episode “The Burns Cage” that Smithers officially came out publicly to Mr Burns and admitted his true feelings.
Now, five years after his love was rejected by Mr Burns, Smithers has seemingly moved on and is taking the next step in living his best life publicly – finding love. The buttoned-up sidekick will hook up with a new boyfriend, billionaire fashion mogul Michael De Graaf (voiced by Victor Garber) in a 21 November episode of the show.
The historic moment isn’t just big for the show, it is also a landmark moment for longtime series writer Rob LaZebnik and his gay son Johnny, who inspired Smithers’ coming out episode in 2016.
Rob told the New York Post that it was “such a dream” to work with his son on the upcoming episode and to be “able to see how truly funny and talented he is”.
He described himself as a “Midwestern guy” who doesn’t “tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve”, but he had written Simpsons episodes in the past as a homage to his son to show him how much he cared.
“Sometimes TV can have a real impact on people’s thinking,” Rob added.
Johnny shared it was important to him to put gay romance at the front and centre of the episode as so often LGBT+ romantic storylines are “subplot or alluded to or show in some kind of montage or as a punchline”.
“And what I think I was really excited about, with this episode, we get to see – without spoiling too much – the beginning, middle and who knows how it ends of a gay relationship, of really getting into the nitty-gritty of how gay people gate, how they meet, what it’s like,” he said.
Johnny continued: “That was really special to me to get to highlight characters who are not punchlines, who are fully formed.”
This isn’t the first time that Smithers has been linked romantically to another Simpsons character.
In “The Burns Cage”, Smithers briefly dated another gay character, Julio (who is currently voiced by out actor Tony Rodríguez), after being rejected by Mr Burns. However, the two characters ended their short love affair at the end of the episode after Smithers realised he couldn’t let go of his love for Mr Burns.