On Sunday’s episode of “The Simpsons,” Smithers finally comes out of the closet, and Rob LaZebnik, the episode’s writer, said that he was inspired by his own gay son.
In an interview with the New York Post, LaZebnik explained that the episode was not only inspired by his 21-year-old son Johnny’s coming out but also demonstration of his fatherly love.
“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?'” said LaZebnik.
But LaZebnik’s son told the Post that it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. He came out to his parents in high school without much drama or fanfare, and they’ve continued to be accepting and supportive in the years since.
“The revelation that my father loves me is not much of a revelation, thankfully. He’s unbelievably accepting,” he said. “We’re as close as a straight dad and a gay son could be.”
The episode will see the character, voiced by Harry Shearer, coming out after 27 years of hints. When Smithers finally comes to terms with the fact that his boss will never return his feelings, Homer makes it his mission to find the character a new boyfriend.
“I’m thinking of having a viewing party,” Johnny said of the episode. “Just because this episode, not only is it written by my dad, but is especially meaningful to me.”
“The Simpsons” airs Sundays at 8/7c on Fox.