With Waylon Smithers finally coming out as gay and Homer and Marge having marital problems, The Simpsons is turning out to be about more than the quality of doughnuts. Toss in an arrest and issues between Sanjay and his brother Apu, and The Simpsons has developed more suspenseful and shocking plots than the average soap opera this season, reported TV Line.
Chatting about Season 27, The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean hinted that viewers may want to prepare themselves for Waylon Smithers to come out. And while Jean admitted that most residents of mythical Springfield recognize that Waylon is gay, Mr. Burns doesn’t seem to have a clue. Look for Smithers to take center stage in two separate episodes.
“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.”
In addition, Al hopes that viewers will consider Marge’s situation. He revealed that the story developed from a column that told about a mom arrested because she allowed her son to have fun in the park when she was at work.
“Marge lets Bart go to the park alone because he’s too irritating, then she ends up getting arrested,” noted Jean. “I read a column by Mitch Albom, the writer of Tuesdays with Morrie, about a mother who was arrested for letting her son play in the park while she had to work. Albom was saying, ‘When did it become illegal to let your kids play in the park when they’re 10? When did kids have to be on a leash every minute?’ ”
With that as the basis of the story and episode “Orange Is The New Yellow,” Al added that he’s not attempting to mock Netflix’s comedy or create a satire of that type of situation. Jean feels it is a very valid concern for parents, torn between earning a living and caring for a child.
“It’s more about dealing with that real issue,” clarified the producer. “Nobody wants a child to be neglected, but I very much feel for a mom who has to work and can’t afford a sitter.”
In addition to the tension between Marge and Homer, Sanjay and Apu have relationship problems. That leads to Jamshed, who is Sanjay’s nephew, in charge of the Kwik-E-Mart.
“Jamshed is 100 percent American,” commented Al. “He doesn’t speak like Apu and even disrespects his way of speaking.”
But that’s far from all the drama on The Simpsons this season. Jean talked with the Hollywood Reporter about the rumors that, just like so many real-life celebrities, Homer and Marge might divorce.
Initially handled as a dream emanating from the brain of Lena Dunham in her character as Hannah on Girls, the challenge of managing marital problems has no answers, pointed out Al.
“We didn’t realize it would get all this publicity that Homer and Marge were going to divorce,” confessed the executive producer. “The takeaway we wanted was: When you think you’ve got a handle on it, that’s when you’re wrong. I would never presume to say I have marriage figured out.”
In addition, Jean admitted that he was surprised by the backlash that he received by even hinting that Homer and Marge might divorce. And for those having nightmares that might happen, the producer urges that they relax.
“You always know Homer and Marge are getting back together. We’ll never break them up. Nobody ever wants to see that couple split for real on The Simpsons,” he said reassuringly.
As for when the show will hit its peak and fade, the producer admitted he wouldn’t be surprised if it ended at 28, but he’s hoping for 30 or even post-30.
“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,” he added.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images; Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images; Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images]