Smithers comes out on ‘The Simpsons’

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Smithers is Mr. Burns' loyal assistant on "The Simpsons"

His sexuality has been hinted at but not confirmed

He will come out in episodes airing next year

CNN  — 

It’s been hinted at and talked around, but mostly it was an open secret: Waylon Smithers Jr. is gay.

The sexual orientation of Smithers, loyal assistant to curmudgeonly billionaire Montgomery Burns, is no surprise to avid watchers of “The Simpsons.” Now he will finally come out to his boss and, officially, to viewers in the show’s 27th season.

Smithers’ sexuality will be revealed over a two-episode arc, executive producer Al Jean told TV Line.

“In Springfield now, most people know he’s gay, but obviously Burns doesn’t,” Jean said. “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.”

The show has dropped hints about Smithers’ sexuality: He hangs out in the gay part of town and has vacationed at an all-male resort, according to the Simpsons Wiki, which also outlines an implied romantic relationship between Smithers and a male shop owner.

Smithers’ defining characteristic, however, is his utter infatuation with Mr. Burns, as depicted in elaborate fantasy sequences. In an episode in which residents of Springfield are facing the end of the world, Smithers even kisses Burns, though it’s explained away when the Earth keeps spinning.

His devotion to Burns has in the past earned him the designation of “Burns-sexual” among “Simpsons” writers, but Smithers will get the chance to tell the world who he really is when the episodes air in March.