Smithers Will Finally Come Out to Mr. Burns in ‘The Simpsons’ Season 27

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Having survived its latest challenge to eternal status quo by way of Sunday’s Girls-y premiere, The Simpsons seem poised for fewer head-turning changes this fall. That is, until Waylon Smithers finally, and officially comes out of the closet to all, while an even bigger surprise may lie ahead beyond Season 30.

Speaking with TVLine, The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean previewed an upcoming pair of episodes with Mr. Burns’ long-suffering assistant at the forefront, not solely for his sexuality, but also employment. For as unabashedly as The Simpsons have confirmed Smithers’ interest in men over the years, we’ll finally see Mr. Burns learn the truth for himself:

In Springfield now, most people know he’s gay, but obviously Burns doesn’t.We deal with that in two episodes. … We actually do a lot with Smithers this year; he gets fed up with Burns not appreciating him and considers his options.

Of course, that wasn’t the only tantalizing tidbit to come out of Jean’s recent premiere-centric interviews, as the eternal question of The Simpsons’ longevity again reared its head. Intriguingly, even as Minority Report teases a Simpsons well into its 75th season, Jean eyes a potential exit around the 30-year mark:

It’s quite possible that we don’t have to go through the whole negotiation for 30. I wouldn’t be stunned if we stopped at 28, but my bet is on at least 30. But then you’d have to resign them again. If you made me pick one, I’d say the likeliest is ending after 30, but I’ve been wrong before. I thought five seasons was good when I got there (laughs).

Ending after 30 implies a fairly open end, though Jean does note the challenge of signing back the cast, particularly after this summer’s shenanigans with core vocal talent Harry Shearer (who not unironically voices both Smithers and Mr. Burns). In any case, The Simpsons remains renewed through Season 28, while it’s unclear when exactly Smithers’ upcoming episodes will fall.

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