Waylon Smithers, the devoted personal assistant of billionaire Mr. Burns on the long-running animated Fox show The Simpsons, will come out as gay on Sunday’s episode.
According to Us Weekly magazine, Smithers will disclose his sexuality to Mr. Burns, his not-so-secret crush, after 27 years of innuendos in “The Burns Cage.”
Homer Simpson, the show’s main character, will then take it upon himself to assist Smithers in finding a boyfriend after Burns rejects the flamboyant assistant’s advances.
In a promo for the episode, Smithers attends a gay mixer hosted at the Simpson home.
“Can I get you a Tom Collins?” Homer asks Smithers, in reference to the popular drink.
After realizing Homer is not referring to a drink, but rather an actual man named Tom Collins, Smithers replies, “I see what’s going on here. Fix up your boss so he won’t be so hard on you. Well, nice try!”
Rob LaZebnik, who wrote the episode, told the New York Post, “The Burns Cage” is inspired by his 21-year-old son, who came out as gay while he was in high school.
“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?’” LaZebnik told the outlet.
Simpson’s executive producer Al Jean told TVLine last September the show will tackle Smithers’ sexuality in two episodes.
“In Springfield now, most people know he’s gay, but obviously Burns doesn’t,” said Jean. “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.”
The episode, which will also feature a cameo by actor and gay rights activist George Takei, will air at 8ET on Fox.