The Simpsons: Waylon Smithers
Waylon Smithers Jr. (voiced by Harry Shearer) is a fictional
character from The Simpsons. He is the self-proclaimed best friend
and personal assistant of Mr. Burns (often simply referred to as
Smithers), and serves as an executive administrator at the Springfield
Nuclear Power Plant. Since the debut of the show, the term
"Smithers" has become a common synonym for a spineless
Born around 1954, Smithers is divorced and lives alone in an apartment
with a Yorkshire terrier named Hercules. He is an alumnus of the Alpha Tau
fraternity. His father, Waylon Smithers Sr., worked for Burns until he
died saving Springfield from a potential nuclear meltdown (The Blunder
In his first appearance in the series, the episode "Homer's
Odyssey", Smithers was unintentionally made African American by the
production team in Korea due to a misunderstanding. The studios have
stated that Smithers was intended to be yellow, and that his first
appearance should be considered extreme sun tan.
there was much speculation about Smithers' sexual orientation, but
eventually he was revealed to be gay, but officially he is currently
"in the closet".
In many ways Smithers represents the stereotype of the closeted gay
man. In his private life he has many gay friends and hangs out at
Springfield's gay village. In public, however he remains insecure and
uncomfortable with his sexuality, denying it when questioned. The brevity
of his marriage is portrayed as being a result of this, in a Cat on a Hot
Tin Roof parody. Because of this past relationship, Smithers might be
regarded as bisexual, though he has shown little interest in women since.
While he has had other boyfriends – in "Homer's Phobia", he
confronts John (guest-voiced by John Waters) after realizing he lied to
get out of a date (claiming he was caring for his sick mother) –
Smithers's great love is Burns. His sexual orientation has been
characterized by the writers of the show as "burnsasexual". He
periodically has fantasies about his boss (in "Rosebud", Burns
pops nude out of a birthday cake and sings "Happy Birthday, Mr.
Smithers," and has a computer screensaver that features a nude Mr.
Burns that say to him: "Hello Smithers, you're quite good at turning
me on."). In "Secrets of a Successful Marriage", Smithers's
then-wife blames Burns for ruining their marriage. He has openly declared
his love for Burns at least twice, most dramatically in "Lisa the
Skeptic", when, believing the world is coming to an end, Smithers
kisses him on the lips; the oblivious Burns dismisses the whole episode.
Perhaps because of the large generation gap between the two men (Burns
still regards "gay" as meaning happy), Burns has remained
largely indifferent or ignorant of Smithers' subtle advances, much to his
frustration, even when Smithers says "I love you" (although in
more recent episodes Burns appears to have some concerns).
His catch-phrase can be heard whenever Burns almost dies in various
accidents; he sobs "Oh Mr. Burns! You were too beautiful for this
world!". However, Burns never hears him say that because he's always
unconscious at the time.
Smithers is also lethally allergic to bee-stings.
Smithers has the world's largest collection of Malibu
Stacy dolls, is president of the Malibu Stacy Fan Club, and staged Malibu
Stacy, The Musical.
In the 2005 episode Future-Drama (Which takes place 8 years into
the future), Smithers is shown as being on a date with a woman, explaining
that he injects anti-gay drugs into his arm every 10 minutes.
Smithers' official job at the powerplant appears to be that of a
high-level executive, as well as being Burns' private assistant. He is
responsible for monitoring attendance among employees, and is often a
disciplinarian. He has often hinted at wanting to be promoted to the
position of executive vice president, but Burns has repeatedly squashed
this dream, while whimsically bestowing the vice presidency on Homer, a
dog, and a monkey. Burns has also refused to make Smithers his heir,
insisting that it would be a far greater honor for him to be buried alive
in the same casket when he dies.
His role in the series is often that as Burns' comic foil or straight
man. Patient and calm, he often tries to talk Burns out of his more
outrageous schemes while still being polite and respectful of his boss.
Burns routinely takes his anger out on Smithers and rarely praises him, a
fact which Smithers just views as a sign he is not working hard enough.
He was fired by Burns only twice, the first being after a heated
argument in the Who Shot Mr. Burns? episode. His job with Burns being the
only thing that gave his life meaning, Smithers quickly became a drunk and
spent all his free time watching Comedy Central. He was ultimately
re-hired. The second time was when Homer became his temporary replacement
while Smithers went on vacation. After punching Burns, Homer wasn't
allowed to go near him. With no one to help him, Burns learned how to do
everything himself. When Smithers returned, he was no longer needed. He
was later re-hired when Burns became seriously injured after a fight
between Homer and Smithers.
Smithers' job is actually 2,800 small odd jobs that he does for Burns.
Though he often does Burns' dirty work, such as kidnapping Tom Jones or
lying to Congress, Smithers cannot be regarded as a truly evil character,
but instead as a victim of his own loyalty to an unpleasant individual.
His other duties for Burns include moistening his eye balls, preparing his
breakfast, driving his car, assisting with his chewing and swallowing,
tucking him in at night, and some light typing. All this indicates that
Burns has a seemingly childlike dependence on Smithers.
The town of Smithers, West Virginia, lies directly across the Kanawha
River from the town of Montgomery, West Virginia (as in Montgomery Burns).
Also, the town of Smithers, British Columbia is just down the road from
the community of Burns Lake, British Columbia.
Weyland was the Anglo-Saxon god of blacksmithing (also see Wayland's
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