The Simpsons' Smithers comes out as gay in episode inspired by writer's son
Mr Burns' loyal assistant Waylan Smithers Jr will come out as gay on The Simpsons this weekend.
The landmark episode will air in the US tonight and will see Smithers finally realising that Mr Burns will never return his love.
Smithers' sexuality has hardly been a secret but it has never been openly addressed in the 27 series of the hit show.
Homer Simpson, of all people, helps him to look for love.
"I am a Midwestern guy, so I don't tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve," writer Rob LaZebnik told the New York Post.
"But I thought, 'What better way to tell my son I love him than to write a cartoon about it?'"
He added, “We didn’t really want to have that big moment of ‘I’m out,’ you know? Instead, just have it be a big embrace — like everyone knows it.”
Rob's son Johnny, who is currently studying psychology at university, came out when he was a teenager.
"The revelation that my father moves me is not much of a revelation, thankfully," said Johnny.
"He's unbelievably accepting. We're as close as a straight dad and gay son could be."
The episode will air in the US tonight.