Waylon Smithers of ‘The Simpsons’ gets boyfriend in gay romance episode

Waylon Smithers Boyfriend The Simpsons

Waylon Smithers, left, kisses his first boyfriend, fashion mogul Michael De Graaf (voiced by guest stars Victor Garber) in the upcoming Nov. 21 episode of “The Simpsons.” Photo: 20th Television

Waylon Smithers, the obedient, sycophantic assistant to cantankerous billionaire Montgomery Burns, will finally have a boyfriend in a landmark episode of “The Simpsons.” Excellent.

It’s only been 33 years.

Smithers, who came out in a 2016 episode of the long running animated series, will be at the center of a gay romance story in the Nov. 21 episode “Portrait of a Lackey on Fire.”

The forthcoming episode was written by longtime series writer Rob LaZebnik, 59, and his son, Johnny LaZebnik, 27, who identifies as gay.

“So often, gay romances are a subplot or alluded to or shown in some kind of montage or as a punchline,” Johnny told the New York Post this week.

“And what I think I was really excited about, with this episode, we get to see — without spoiling too much — the beginning, middle and who knows how it ends of a gay relationship, of really getting into the nitty-gritty of how gay people date, how they meet, what it’s like,” he said.

“That was really special to me to get to highlight characters who are not punchlines, who are fully formed,” he said.

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The official episode synopsis says, “Smithers finds true love with a famous fashion designer, but will his new relationship destroy Springfield?”

Smithers’ boyfriend is fashion mogul Michael De Graaf, voiced by guest star Victor Garber, the openly gay star of Global Television Network’s “Family Law” who married his longtime partner, artist Rainer Andreesen, in 2015.

“It’s crucially important that these stories are acknowledged,” Garber, 72,  told the New York Post. “I haven’t played a lot of gay characters, but every time I do, it brings back certain feelings I had as a young actor where I couldn’t be gay.”

Waylon Smithers Boyfriend

“The Simpsons” writer Rob LaZebnik, right, and his son Johnny, wrote a forthcoming episode where Waylon Smithers gets his first boyfriend. Photo: Twitter.

Smither’s sexual orientation was an open secret on the show for years. His head-over-heels infatuation with Mr. Burns was depicted in elaborate fantasy sequences. In one segment, Smithers is under the covers in bed and envisions Mr. Burns flying through the window and hovering in his bedroom.

Smithers official came out in the season 27 episode “Tom Collins,” which Rob wrote as a tribute to 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?’ ” he told The Post 2016. “Sometimes TV can have a real impact on people’s thinking.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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