The writer behind Sunday's coming out gay episode on Fox's animated series The Simpsons says that the storyline was inspired by his own son.

In the episode, titled The Burns Cage, Waylon J. Smithers Jr. has a low-key coming out after he realizes that his affections for his boss Charles Montgomery Burns will never be mutual.

Writer Rob LaZebnik told the New York Post that he penned the episode in support of his 21-year-old openly gay son, Johnny.

“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?'” LaZebnik said.

Johnny, a student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, said he's always had his parent's support.

“I was the gayest little kid, and my parents knew that,” he told the paper. “I told them I was interested in a boy. My parents were, like, 'Yeah, we know.'”

The elder LaZebnik, 53, said that such storylines were important.

“Sometimes TV can have a real impact on people's thinking,” he said.

The Burns Cage includes a guest appearance by out actor George Takei.