Smithers, who is that man?
Until now, The Simpsons’ beloved (if not slightly awkward and nerdy) assistant known as Smithers is recognised predominantly through meme: cowering in the corner of a strip club as two voracious dancers strike fear into his very being. But a new episode of the iconic franchise is fixing to change all of that in one, homer-sexual swoop.
Following on from their blockbuster Balenciaga collaboration, where the town of Springfield took to Paris at the behest of Demna Gvasalia to debut the French luxury house’s SS22 collection, the series has turned its attention back to one of its own for an episode almost 21 years in the making.
In the upcoming Thanksgiving episode – titled Portrait of a Lackey on Fire – of the show’s 33rd season, Waylon Smithers Jr. is set to couple up with a billionaire newcomer named Michael de Graaf, six years after producers announced his coming out on the show. At the time, the story was considered a landmark move in mainstreaming stories of queer love in the United States, hinted at over several years of unwavering adoration toward Springfield’s tyrannical Nuclear power tycoon, Mr Burns.
Springfield is hardly a stranger to its queer residents, with Smithers previously dating Marge Simpson’s hairdresser Julio, voiced by Tony Rodriguez, sleazy bar-owner Mo turning his establishment into a flag-flying boozer, and the town itself playing host to the likes of director John Waters and world-famous drag superstar RuPaul Charles.
Though this might mean his snooty but loveable sidekick days are officially over, with Simpsons director David Silverman describing Smithers as “Burns-sexual” from as early as 2007, we can only applaud the character for successfully finding love. We wish him nothing but the best in all his future endeavours.
As for what will become of Mr Burns? You snooze, you lose, buddy.