After more than 25 years of unrequited love and rumours, The Simpsons‘ Waylon Smithers is finally set to come out as gay to his boss Montgomery Burns.
Smithers has hilariously lusted after the ancient billionaire for decades, and one of the show’s producers has now revealed that the personal assistant will actually reveal his sexuality to the object of his desires in two new episodes.
The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean revealed the news during a new interview with TV Line.
In Springfield now, most people know he’s gay, but obviously Burns doesn’t. We deal with that in two episodes. We actually do a lot with Smithers this year. He gets fed up with Burns not appreciating him and considers his options.
Smithers actually won’t be the first character on the long running show – season 27 of which premièred in the U.S. on Sunday night – with Marge’s sister Patty coming out as a lesbian in episode ‘There’s Something About Marrying’ in 2005, a move which was roundly praised by LGBT groups.
In addition, The Simpsons famously dealt with homosexuality and homophobia in the classic ‘Homer’s Phobia’ way back in 1997.
Smithers’ sexuality has been pretty obvious for a long time, but his coming out will still be a big milestone in the show’s history.
As Edward Schiappa, head of comparative media studies at MIT, points out, it is still extremely noteworthy for a character on one of the most popular and enduring shows on U.S. television to come out.
Springfield is about as middle American as one can get, and Smithers coming out within that fictional world mirrors – and reinforces – the mainstreaming of gays and lesbians in the real world.
We’re also glad that Harry Shearer’s contract dispute was finally resolved. It just wouldn’t have been the same hearing Smithers finally announce his love for Mr Burns (we hope) without that iconic voice!
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