After 34 seasons of The Simpsons, it appears that Mr. Smithers might finally get a shot at love. After pining after his cruel boss Mr. Burns for years, Smithers is getting a new love interest, billionaire fashion designer and America's Got Fabric judge Michael De Graaf, voiced by Alias and Blue Bloods alum Victor Garber. Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman opened up In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly ahead of the Nov. 21 episode, "Portrait of a Lackey on Fire."
"He's charming and down to earth, and he loves that Smithers isn't using him to get ahead in the fashion world," Selman explained. "Smithers doesn't know anything about fashion. Smithers is a smart, hardworking, intelligent guy. Michael is tired of people from the New York fashion scene where everyone has an agenda. He wants that middle-America regular guy who isn't about status and fashion stuff."
"We thought, 'His love life is kind of a blank slate at this point," Selman continued. "The show has moved away from him being completely obsessed with Mr. Burns all the time. So it feels a little bit like Smithers is like, 'Who am I going to be with?'"
Smithers came out in Season 27 after years of speculating from fans of The Simpsons. In the episode "The Burns Cage," Homer tries to find a boyfriend for Smithers to get his mind off of his unrequited feelings for Mr. Burns. The plot point was handled with a surprising amount of care, treating it matter-of-factly without any cruel jokes. Episode writer Rob LaZebnik told the New York Post that he pulled from his own experiences with his son coming out to set the tone. "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 explained. The episode featured George Takei as a guest voice.