Simpsons Writer Says Smithers’s Coming-Out Episode Was Inspired by His Gay Son

I'm coming out / I want the world to know. Photo: FOX

Amid the perpetual stasis of Springfield, Smithers will finally come out as a gay man this Sunday — this isn't a spoiler, the Simpsons writers announced the news last September and the promos for the episode have played up the reveal. Still, it's a big moment for the character, and for the episode's writer, Rob LaZebink, who told the New York Post that the episode was written in part for his 21-year-old gay son. “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?’” LaZebink said. Smithers has always been in a glass closet of sorts, so LaZebnik said the news will be less of a reveal, and more of “a big embrace — like everyone knows it.” Plus, LaZebnik's take on gay life will be (relatively) accurate, thanks to some expert advice. “He once sent me an email, and the header was just, ‘How does Grindr work?’” his son Johnny told the Post. “I screenshotted and Instagrammed it and sent it to all my gay friends because it made me laugh so much.”