Words: Jamie Tabberer; Cover illustrated by Julius Preite
Covering a bigger, new-look Attitude - out now digitally and in print - The Simpsons' very own Waylon Smithers talks candidly about gay life in Springfield and introduces new boyfriend Michael De Graaf to the world. Here's a sneak peak at our world-first interview...
"Hello Smithers. You're quite good. At turning. Me. On."
We’ve all seen it: Waylon Smithers’ homemade, deep-faked ‘erotic content’ depicting his tyrannical, decrepit boss Mr. Burns topless and languidly seducing the camera. Those robotic words echo in my mind as I venture into Springfield to interview a man previously known as ‘Burns-sexual’ for his long-derided attraction to Springfield’s oldest resident.
The Simpsons' Waylon Smithers leads Attitude's new-look March/April issue. Get your copy here. (Cover illustrated by Julius Preite)
But things have changed. Ever since Smithers officially came out — well, sort of; he stepped out of the glass closet via a doomed courtship with the sexy, sharp-tongued Julio some time ago — he’s technically become the world’s most widely recognised gay man. (Move over, Lil Nas X.)
Now, from Evergreen Terrace to the Kwik-E-Mart, word on the street is the bow-tied bootlicker is finally over Burns and has a new daddy in his life: an urbane, wealthy fashion designer by the suitably grand name of Michael De Graaf*. Who, by the way, moonlights as a judge on a Project Runway-esque reality show and looks suspiciously like handsome Titanic actor Victor Garber.
To celebrate Smithers’ ascent to gay superpower status, the 40-something has granted Attitude a world exclusive. (The megalomaniac Burns is absent - perhaps busy with a puzzle, or maybe he’s still trying to ‘hop in’ to that miniature model of the Spruce Moose.)
“Maybe don’t spend two decades of your life pining after someone who will never love you back,” Smithers sighs when Attitude asks what advice he has for gay men who are struggling with being in love with straight men. (We’ve all been there, right?)
Waylon Smither and boyfriend Michael De Graff in The Simpsons, season 33, episode 8, 'Potrait of a Lackey on Fire' (Image: Disney)
“No matter how often you think about him,” he continues, in his familiar nasal tones, “no matter how many love letters you send, it will never be requited. Because you will never be good enough for Karl Malden.”
Bear with us - it’ll become clear who Karl Malden is in a moment. Here, in a truly zany chat, Smithers reveals all about life as a gay man in a small town, including the identities of his first man crush, his beary new roommate and Springfield’s biggest LGBTQ+ ally… Clue, her gravity-defying hair may or may not have inspired a look in Lil Nas’s ‘Montero (Call Me by Your Name)’ video…
How do you identify, and what does that mean to you at this point in your life?
I am as God made me — a Senior Executive Vice-President of Operations and Chief Compliance Officer.
When did you first realise you were gay?
Well, I remember watching A Streetcar Named Desire and being unbelievably attracted to the hunk on screen who had such powerful, raw sexual energy — Karl Malden, who plays Stanley’s friend. I’ve had a poster of him in my bedroom ever since.
What dating apps do you use?
I’ve been on all the apps - the U.S. Male Service, Coffee Meets Naegle, Scruffman, Lard Dads, No Strings-Field, and Krusty Burger Presents Tasty Gay Hookups. I’ve met a lot of my best friends on KBPTGH, actually.
Would you like to be a father one day?
No, I don’t think so. If I wanted to spoon-feed someone, burp them, and change their diaper, I’d simply go into work...
Read the full interview in Attitude's new-look March/April issue - printed in a larger, luxe format (230mm x 278mm), and featuring 180 pages wrapped in a premium silk matt cover.
Meet Smithers’ boyfriend on 6th March at 7pm on Sky Showcase and catch up on previous seasons of The Simpsons now streaming on Disney+.