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Smithers' Sexuality

Version 2.2

Created by Dave Hall
Contributions from Dale G. Abersold
Maintained by Matt Henry

(Note some observations were edited for this document.)


INTRODUCTION

Whether be it gay, burnsexual, or a sycophantic side-kick, Smithers' sexual preference is often debated on alt.tv.simpsons. Although it is unlikely the writers will ever give us a open confession, the following is a list of Smithers' innuendoes.


WHAT PEOPLE ON THE SIMPSONS STAFF HAVE TO SAY

Harry Shearer:
Allison Breyer says Harry Shearer came to speak at the University of Georgia. At the end of his presentation, someone in audience asked if Smithers was gay. Shearer replied that according to the writers of the show, Smithers and Burns were "just friends."

Yeardley Smith:
Kerro explains when Yeardley Smith was in Melbourne, Ms. Smith was asked if Smithers was gay. Ms. Smith said it didn't start out that way, but somewhere along the line, the writers just started throwing in homosexual references for no particular reason. And they intend to keep doing so as well. As Jerry Seinfeld would say, `not that there's anything wrong with that!'

David Silverman:
Aaron Varhola, who attended David Silverman presentation in San Francisco, says: Someone asked if there were any gay characters. Silverman said `Smithers, and Karl (Homer's secretary from 7F02)". End of story. (Add John from "Homer's Phobia" to this list-Ed.)

INNUENDOES/GENERAL WEIRD BEHAVIOUR FROM THE SERIES

[7G07] ``The Telltale Head''
When Burns is overcome with emotion, he tells Smithers that he loves him. Smithers replies, "The feeling is more than mutual, sir."

[8F04] Homer Defined
During the nuclear meltdown scare, Smithers makes Burns' last few moment on earth socially awkward by confessing his love for the old man.

Velveeta adds: When SNPP is about to suffer catastrophic meltdown. Burns remarks "I guess there's nothing left but to kiss my sorry ass good-bye." Smithers asks, "May I, sir?"

[8F09] Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk
Burns informs Smithers that he named his queen bee after him.

Dmitri G. Brengauz poses a subtle connection/parallel between the last Sherlock Holmes story and the Burns/Smithers phenomena:

In ``His Last Bow'', Holmes retires and becomes a beekeeper in much the same way Burns does in 8F09. (Both were later coax out of retirement.) Both stories dealt with Germans. The fact that Burns names the queen bee after Smithers is an expression of a long time friendship and service is similar to how Holmes views his relationship with Watson, a loveable but dim-witted sidekick. However, the fact that Smithers stands for a long time braving the bee stings seems to indicate that his motives are far from pure.

[8F17] Dog of Death
When Burns asks Smithers what he thought if he started sniffing his crotch and slobbering all over him. Smithers replies, "If you did it, sir?"

[9F04] Treehouse of Horror III
When Burns asks Smithers what he thought about hiring Marge, Smithers says, "I think women and sea-men don't mix." Burns replies, "We know what you think!"

[9F05] Marge Gets a Job
When Burns fantasies about Marge, he asks Smithers about that dream where you're in bed and they fly in through the window. Smithers groans with pleasure, imagining Burns himself flying through his bedroom window. Smithers says, "You've been reading my wishbook, sir."

[1F01] Rosebud
Smithers imagines a naked Burns jumping out of a cake and singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. Smithers."

Later, in trying to cheer-up Burns, Smithers dresses up in a bear suit and asks Burns to hug him, squeeze him and at his fur.

Tony Stott suggests we should listen to the groan Smithers makes when Burns collides into him while hanging between the Simpson and Flanders homes.

[1F03] Marge on the Lam
When Burns and Smithers attend the ballet, Burns says, "Bah! Far too much dancing, not nearly enough prancing!" To which, Smithers replies, "A little mincing would be nice."

[1F05] Bart's Inner Child
At the "Do What You Feel" Festival, Burns fails to hear Smithers confession of love for him. Afterwards, Smithers quitely says, "Oh, who am I kidding? The boathouse was the time!"

Robert Bolyard explains: A boathouse is the place in many "stories" of homosexual encounters. Males are changing into/out of swim suits, things pop up, and it's a convenient ice breaker, so to speak.

John Eue adds: Smithers' comment that "the boathouse was the time" may have been a reference to E.M. Forster's "Maurice." In the book (and the Merchant Ivory film), Maurice fulfilled his yearning for a virile young groundskeeper in the boathouse of a college friend.

[1F12] Lisa vs. Malibu Stacey
When Lisa seeks Smithers for help in contacting the inventor of Malibu Stacey, Smithers gets the information from his home computer. When he turns the computer on, the computer screen shows a nude Burns that utters in broken English: "Hello, Smithers. You're quite good at turning me on."

[1F20] Secrets of a Successful Marriage
In a flashback, Smithers explains why he "couldn't keep his marriage together."

Michael Schwartz explains: Smithers' flashback is a reference to Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", about a husband (Brick) who is having difficulties with his wife (Maggie) because he is gay."

[1F21] Lady Bouvier's Lover
In this episode, Smithers basically shows a lot of resentment towards Burns courting Marge's mother. When Burns asks for help in composing a love letter, Smithers recites "`Darling one, read my words and hear my heart speak of a love soft and undying: a love that will be with you always. Sincerely,' yatta, yatta, yatta." Burns asks how he thought it up so fast. Smithers cries, "I sent it to you on your birthday! [sob] Excuse me, I have something in my eye!"

[2F02] Sideshow Bob Roberts
Smithers makes a comment that Sideshow Bob's ultra-conservative views conflicts with his "choice of lifestyle."

[2F08] Fear of Flying
When a record thrown by Moe hits Smithers in the head, Smithers appears to get excited when he sees the record's title "It's raining Men."

[2F20] Who Shot Mr. Burns? - Part Two
During his confession, Smithers mentions he once tried to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade.

It was pointed out by several people that some cities in the US have managed to ban homosexual groups from marching in the parade.

[3F06] Mother Simpson
When Burns and the police arrive at the Simpsons house, Burns discovers Smithers had recorded over his tape of "Ride of the Valkyries" with a recording of ABBA's "Waterloo".

Benjamin Fan: It's a stereotype that gay people really like ABBA. It's more of an in-joke or sly reference since most people not cued in to the gay scene would miss it. (But isn't it an even bigger stereotype that gay men love opera?-Ed.)

[3F14] Homer the Smithers
Smithers goes on vacation to a resort where "taking pictures" is forbidden.

Bvuckmas provides the following list about Smithers' trip:

  • Smithers calls Burns from a bar where men are visibly dancing with other men.
  • Smithers heads a conga line composed of only men.
  • Smithers drives a speedboat, pulling a pyramid of men in Speedos.

[3F17] Bart on the Road
Smithers mentions that he is partial to "Jolly Ranchers." "Jolly," of course, is a synonym for the traditional meaning of "gay..." (Thanks to Mark Richey and Dave Peterson).

[3F19] The Curse of the Flying Hellfish
Haynes Lee: Smithers tells Burns that he is "familiar with Grampa's physical state."

[3F23] You Only Move Twice
Smithers is offered a job featuring insurance coverage for him and his "life partner."

[4F05] Burns, Baby Burns
Burns asks Smithers to take off his belt; Smithers replies, "with pleasure, sir."

[4F06] Bart After Dark
Smithers is "caught on film" leaving a burlesque house. Burns demands an explanation; Smithers replies, "My parents insisted I give it a try."

[3F24] El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer
While at the chili cook-off, Smithers asks Marge to dance. When this episode aired, this incident caused many to question his homosexuality. However, as Dave Grossman pointed out, his flamboyant outfit "neutralizes any straight tendencies he might show for several episodes to come."

As Elson Trinidad paraphrased, "Smithers danced with a WOMAN! That is so gay!" (Quotes courtesy of Frederic Briere's episode capsule).

[3G01] The Springfield Files
Smithers is a little unsetted when Burns asks him if he was doing something gay. "You know, lighthearted, fancy-free, mothers lock up your daughters, Smithers is on the town." Smithers replies, "Exactly, sir," followed by darting eyes.

[4F11] Homer's Phobia
In a restaurant Smithers discovers John, who is an homosexual, eating dinner with the Simpson family, and becomes upset.

Smithers: So this is your "sick mother"?
John: Don't do this to me, Waylon.

[4F13] My Sister, My Sitter
Several people have pointed out the indiscreet "innuendo" that Smithers wouldn't let Lisa go ahead of him at the emergency room because he wanted something taken care of right away; and though Smithers didn't seem to be physically ill, he preferred to stand rather than sit down to wait. (I can't go into any more detail than that. This is a family website, after all.)

[4F15] Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment
At Moe's speakeasy, Smithers is briefly shown sitting next to Mr. Burns, drinking a flamboyant cocktail of some kind (brightly colored, slice of lemon, parasol...)

[4F17] The Old Man and the Lisa
When Mr. Burns is shocked at "Hit Man" Hart's "old man smell" remark, Smithers tells him he has an enchanting musk.

[4F20] The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase
Smithers is head of the "Waylon Smithers Dancers" on "The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour." Plus, he performs a slightly-altered version of Devo's "Whip It" while wearing a pair of very revealing chaps.

[5F03] Bart Star
In Homer's gymnastics flashback, we see a young Smithers at a microphone saying, "Well, that's the end of the girls' floor exercises, now let's bring on the men!"

[5F05] Lisa the Skeptic
When it appears that the world is coming to an end, Smithers says "Oh, what the hell," and kisses Mr. Burns full on the lips. Afterwards, he makes some lame excuses about it being "a sign of deepest respect." You know, I think Mr. Burns is starting to suspect something!

[5F23] The Joy of Sect
Mr. Burns asks if Smithers sees him as a god, and if he would kneel before him, which Smithers readily assents. (If you don't catch the significance of "kneeling," just think of Smithers as "Monica" and Mr. Burns as "Bill.")

[5F13] This Little Wiggy
When Lisa's message-rocket breaks into Mr. Burns's office and lands in his suit, the old man tells Smithers he has "a rocket in my pocket." Waylon's knowing reply: "You don't have to tell me, sir." (Thanks to Jay [Jellohead@aol.com]).

[3G04] Simpson Tide
During the "In the Navy" musical number, Smithers is seen dancing next to the Village People. (And for those of you ignorant of the Village People's oeuvre, "In the Navy" is full to the brim with gay undertones, just like their best-known song, "YMCA.") This reference pointed out by many, including "Lenny" Debard and Dave Peterson).

[5F14] The Trouble with Trillions
At his apartment, Smithers is seen in a pink bathrobe, ironing, and singing "Everything's Coming Up Roses." (It is a popular stereotype that gay men worship Broadway divas like Ethel Merman, Lena Horne, and Liza Minnelli).

[5F22] Bart the Mother
Smithers is at the Bird-Watcher's meeting with Mr. Burns, wearing a flamboyantly pink shirt. (Of course, just because he's wearing a pink shirt doesn't mean he's some kind of...pink donut eater.)

[5F19] When You Dish Upon a Star
Smithers asks Kim Basinger about her shoes from L.A. Confidential mentioning that he wants a pair for his, uh, mother. (Then again, transvestism is not synonymous with homosexuality).

[AABF02] D'oh-in in the Wind
When Mr. Burns goes through his lunch, he comes across... "One jar of garlic pickles. No one will want to kiss me after these, eh Smithers?" "It's their loss, sir."

[AABF05] Mayored to the Mob
Smithers attends "Guys and Dolls" with Mr. Burns. (As stated above, it is a stereotype that gay men are devotees of musical theatre).

OTHER OBSERVATIONS/COMMENTS

Alex Werner:
My girlfriend discovered that Waylon Smithers anagrams to "wants him sorely."

Haynes Lee:
In the Globe and Mail there was 5th column office politics article about sycophants in the workplace. It mentions Smithers as a prime example.

Andrew Johnston:
Our man Waylon Smithers is featured on the cover of an issue of GENRE, a gay lifestyles magazine. The cover line: "Is Waylon Smithers...you know...one of US?" There's an amusing article inside, as well as an "interview" with Smithers. The magazine mentions that the Official Simpsons Website once described Smithers as "part of a select 10% of the population", which I did not know.

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Last updated on March 15, 1999 by Matt Henry (matt@snpp.com)