The Simpsons’ Waylon Smithers, the consummate and loyal personal assistant of the malevolent power plant owner Mr. Burns, is a gay man. Smithers’ character always hinted at his sexuality – the stereotype of a closeted homosexual, the overt insinuations and double entendres – but producers have revealed that the longtime Burns luster will finally reveal his manly love to his boney boss.
Reports CNN on Sept. 28: “It’s been hinted at and talked around, but mostly it was an open secret: Waylon Smithers Jr. is gay. The sexual orientation of Smithers, loyal assistant to curmudgeonly billionaire Montgomery Burns, is no surprise to avid watchers of ‘The Simpsons.’”
Cartoonist and executive producer Al Jean dropped a few spoilers to TVLine, hinting that Smithers would come out in two episodes during season 27.
“In Springfield now, most people know he’s gay, but obviously Burns doesn’t,” Jean said. “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.”
Producers previously described Waylon Smithers as “Burns-sexual” because of the character’s longtime, creepy attraction to boss Burns.
The website SimpsonCrazy.com lists a number of episodes and conversations that revealed Smithers lascivious thoughts and feelings about Mr. Burns. It’s the worst kept secret in Springfield.
“Dogs are idiots!” Burns says to Smithers in one episode. “Think about it, Smithers. If I came into your house and started sniffing at your crotch and slobbering all over your face, what would you say?” Smithers replies, “If you did it, sir?”
Smithers, the proud president of the Malibu Stacy dolls fan club, told Mr. Burns during the town’s recent “Do What You Feel” festival: “Sir, in the spirit of the festival and everything, I’d just like to say that I… I love you… In those colors!” Then to himself: “Oh, who am I kidding? The boathouse was the time!”
Of course, Mr. Smithers is not the only gay character on The Simpsons, as The Guardian noted. We have the fellows at the Ajax Steel Mill by day, gay nightclub by night. And Marge’s sister Patty Bouvier is the show’s most prominent lesbian character.
Adds The Guardian: “Edward Schiappa, head of comparative media studies at MIT, said that while Smithers’s sexuality had been obvious for years, it was still noteworthy for a character on one of the most popular and long-lasting shows on American TV 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,” Schiappa said. “I am sure there will be fireworks among certain conservative politicians, or maybe they will surprise me and just let the show have its fun.”
What do you think about the Waylon Smithers’ big reveal?