Waylon Smithers, the executive assistant to Mr. Burns, has counted among the most memorable characters during the past 27 seasons of The Simpsons. One of the running gags on the show involves Smithers, who is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and his infatuation with Burns. While Smithers never identified himself as gay, moments in some episodes suggested that he might be.
The writers even called Smithers a “Burns-sexual” because of his admiration for Burns.
There were jokes in every season that suggested a romantic relationship.
Some jokes were more obvious than others.
In a recent episode of The Simpsons called "The Burns Cage," Smithers finally came out. After Smithers realized his true feelings, Homer Simpson gamely helped him find a date.
Actor and LGBTQ activist George Takei voiced himself in the episode in a guest role.
The episode was written by show writer Rob LaZebnik, whose 21-year-old son, Johnny, is gay.
"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?'" he told the New York Post.
"The revelation that my father loves me is not much of a revelation, thankfully. He's unbelievably accepting," Johnny told the New York Post. "We're as close as a straight dad and a gay son could be."