Smithers' Coming Out Has a Sweet Backstory 'Simpsons' writer's gay son made him think to pen a cartoon to show his love By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff Posted Apr 3, 2016 1:05 PM CDT 46 comments Comments Mr. Burns, left, and his assistant Smithers, both voiced by Harry Shearer, in "The Simpsons." (Fox via AP) (Newser) – After nearly three decades of lusting after Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers is coming out of the closet on Sunday night's episode of The Simpsons. But, as the Telegraph reports, there's something of a sweet backstory to the occasion, inspired by the coming out of the 21-year-old son of longtime writer Rob LaZebnick. "I am a Midwestern guy," LaZebnick tells the New York Post, "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 LaZebnick says his parents were "unbelievably accepting," and says he's glad someone with a gay family member is writing Sunday night's show—even if that someone is dear old dad, who, he says, "once sent me an email, and the header was just ‘How does Grindr work?'"