‘Simpsons’ coming out episode was inspired by writer’s son

He’s been in the closet for 27 years, but this Sunday, Waylon Smithers Jr. is finally coming out.

Veteran Simpsons writer Rob LaZebnik tells The New York Post that the episode was partly written to support his gay 21-year-old son Johnny:

“I am a Midwestern guy,” he says, “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?’”

Johnny, a senior psych major and film minor at Wesleyan University, is clearly flattered.

He tells The Post: “The revelation that my father loves me is not much of a revelation, thankfully. He’s unbelievably accepting. We’re as close as a straight dad and a gay son could be.”

The idea of Smithers’ coming out has been batting around inside Rob’s head for at least two or three years, but it was only recently that he pitched it.

He even let his son see an early version of the script.

“I was really happy that someone who has experience with a gay person in their immediate family was writing the script,” Johnny says.

And it seems Rob’s research got rather involved, too.

“He once sent me an e-mail, and the header was just ‘How does Grindr work?’ I screenshotted and Instagrammed it and sent it to all my gay friends because it made me laugh so much.”

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