'The Simpsons' Finally Gives Gay Character Waylon Smithers His Own Love Story

Simpsons character Waylon Smithers Jr., who came out as gay in a 2016 episode, will date a fashion designer voiced by Victor Garber

The Simpsons Finally Gives Openly-Gay Character Waylon Smithers His Own Love Story
Photo: 20th television

At long last, Waylon Smithers Jr. is finding love on The Simpsons.

In an upcoming episode titled "Portrait of a Lackey on Fire," the longtime assistant to billionaire C. Montgomery Burns will get a real shot at love. Sparks will fly between Waylon (voiced by Harry Shearer) and his new romantic interest Michael De Graaf, who is a famous fashion designer. Michael will be voiced by actor Victor Garber, best known for his role opposite Jennifer Garner on Alias.

"Smithers finds true love with a famous fashion designer, but will his new relationship destroy Springfield?" the episode description teases.

Airing Sunday, the episode was written by longtime series writer Rob LaZebnik and his son, Johnny LaZebnik.

"So often, gay romances are a subplot or alluded to or shown in some kind of montage or as a punchline," Johnny recently told The New York Post. "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."

"That was really special to me to get to highlight characters who are not punchlines, who are fully formed," he added.

The Simpsons Finally Gives Openly-Gay Character Waylon Smithers His Own Love Story
20th television

Garber, who has been married to artist Rainer Andreesen since 2015, said it's "crucially important that these stories are acknowledged."

"I haven't played a lot of gay characters, but every time I do it, it brings back certain feelings I had as a young actor where I couldn't be gay," Garber, 72, told the publication, adding that taking on the role was "a reminder of how much things have changed, and also how I've evolved."

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Waylon's sexuality had long been hinted at, but he didn't officially come out as gay until season 27 in 2016. At the time, Waylon confessed his feelings to Mr. Burns but was rejected. Waylon then had a brief fling with Julio (originally voiced by Hank Azaria).

The Simpsons airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.

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