After 27 seasons, Waylon Smithers finally admits that his “heart is covered in burns.” That’s right, Smithers is gay.
The episode where Smithers breaks the news sees Smithers come out to Mr Burns about his feelings in a way that is empowering and shows character development in a show that has otherwise remained pretty much the same.
For anyone who has grown up watching The Simpsons, it’s hard not to feel proud with the way the producers, writers and cast allowed Smithers to grow and arrive at this moment.
The episode was unpretentious and respectful and actually helped reflect the need for acceptance and inclusion of all members of a community in order to allow them to embrace who they are.
For too long Smithers was the person who the joke was on, the outsider.
But in this episode, Smithers grows in his understanding of self worth and arrives at a sense of liberation after finally being able to express to Mr Burns that he really does care.
To which the response isn’t meant to be a joke, or mockery.
According to the New York Post, Smithers coming out was included in the show by writer Rob LaZebnik in support of his gay son.
In an interview with the New York Post he said: “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?’ ”
So now as the era of The Simpsons begins drawing to a close, a lingering message of acceptance and respect begins to emerge.
So Simpsons, good on you.
Good on you for respecting diversity and sharing that message with your audience.
Here is what others are saying about Season 27 Episode 17 “The Burns Cage.”