After 26 years, Waylon Smithers, the long-rumored to be gay personal assistant to nefarious nuclear power magnate Mr. Burns on TV's long-running series "The Simpsons," is finally ready to come out.
"In Springfield now, most people know he's gay but obviously Burns doesn't," said Simpsons executive producer Al Jean in an interview with TV Line. "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."
When Smithers does officially come out, he'll have plenty of LGBT company in Springfield. Throughout the series' quarter century history, the fictionalized cartoon town has had many gay and lesbian characters - the most notable being Marge's sister Patty Bouvier.
In 1997, noted gay auteur John Waters made a voice guest appearance on a episode of the series titled "Homer's Phobia," centered around Homer's fears that exposure to gay people would turn Bart homosexual.
Since its premiere in 1989, "The Simpsons," has been in the forefront of approaching some culturally volatile subjects involving gay rights, with insight and good humor. Same-sex marriage was the subject of an episode in the sixteenth season titled, "There's Something About Marrying," in which the town of Springfield legalizes same-sex marriage in order to increase tourism and Homer becomes a wedding officiant through an online ministry to cash in.