Mr. Burns’ devoted personal assistant Waylon Smithers, who has long been implied to be gay, will come out of the closet on the upcoming season of the FOX animated show The Simpsons.
During a conversation with TV Line Sept. 25, executive producer Al Jean opened up the show’s 27th season, which premiered Sunday. Jean said in addition to taking on the case of Florida mother Nicole Gainey, who was arrested last summer for allowing her 7-year-old son to go to a park unattended, the show will address Smithers’ sexuality.
“In Springfield now, most people know he’s gay, but obviously Burns doesn’t,” said Jean of the character whose object of affection has been billionaire Monty Burns since the show’s 1989 debut.
“We deal with that in two episodes,” said the showrunner. “We actually do a lot with Smithers this year; he gets fed up with Burns not appreciating him and considers his options.”
Harry Shearer, who does the voices of both Burns and Smithers, in addition to numerous other characters, has returned to the show after a public contract dispute earlier this year.
Season 27 will also see Marge and Homer again attempt a trial separation.