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?'”
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.