Mr Smithers, the loyal and put-upon sidekick of Mr Burns, will confirm that he is gay in an episode of The Simpsons tonight (April 3).
The news that Smithers was set to prove the rumours true were first revealed last year. The episode will air on US TV this evening and writer, Rob LaZebink, who wrote the episode, told the New York Post that the episode was written in part as a loving message for his gay son.
“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?’” LaZebink said. The writer added that Smithers’ moment will be less of a reveal, and more of “a big embrace — like everyone knows it.”
LaZebink turned to 21 year-old son Johnny for research while writing the episode. “He once sent me an email, and the header was just, ‘How does Grindr work?’” Johnny said. “I screenshotted and Instagrammed it and sent it to all my gay friends because it made me laugh so much.”
Because of his unwavering devotion to Mr Burns, some of the show’s producers have previously described Smithers as “Burns-sexual” as opposed to homosexual. However, executive producer Al Jean previously spoke about how the current run of episodes would see the character change and embrace his true personality.
“In Springfield now, most people know he’s gay, but obviously Burns doesn’t,” Jean said in 2015. “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.”
Both Mr Burns and Mr Smithers are voiced by Harry Shearer.