The Simpsons writer defends gay sex joke

Smithers will get a boyfriend in the upcoming 'Simpsons' episode 'Portrait of a Lackey on Fire'. (Fox)
Smithers will get a boyfriend in the upcoming 'Simpsons' episode 'Portrait of a Lackey on Fire'. (20th Television)

A writer for The Simpsons has defended a gay sex joke in a recent episode of the long-running animated sitcom.

Johnny LaZebnik, who is openly gay, discussed a recent episode of the show with Attitude where Lenny and Carl are mistaken for a gay couple.

In the episode, they are introduced to Smithers' new boyfriend, fashion designer Michael De Graaf. De Graaf is shown critiquing the outfits of various characters when Lenny asks him what he thinks of his 'top'. De Graaf looks at Carl and says "Very nice."

Read more: The Simpsons finally gave gay character Smithers his own love story

LaZebnik said the joke was greeted with trepidation in the writer's room but he fought for it to stay in: "I'm a huge Lenny and Carl fan… We worked on that scene a bunch of times, and I was like, 'How can we get this joke to stay in?'"

Smithers finds true love with a famous fashion designer (voiced by Victor Garber), but will his new relationship destroy Springfield? (20th Television)
Smithers finds true love with a famous fashion designer (voiced by Victor Garber), but will his new relationship destroy Springfield? (20th Television)

He added: "There are a lot of jokes for gay people that I had a hand in getting in there."

LaZebnik said his father, who has been a writer on The Simpsons since season 11 warned him that audiences wouldn't get the reference but he insisted they would as the show parodies other things such as HBO's Chernobyl.

'Portrait of a Lackey on Fire' is LaZebnik's first episode of The Simpsons. He has previously talked about how his father would ask him about gay culture and the dating app Grndr to ensure the jokes were realistic.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Speaking to The Gayest Podcast Ever, LaZebnik said: "I think my dad's specific question was like, 'Do you swipe on Grindr?' And I was like, 'Absolutely not, you don't.' That is the kind of thing that a straight person would throw in as a joke then a gay person watching it would be like, 'I feel so alienated by this content because you clearly don't know what you're talking about.'"

Part of season 33 of The Simpsons, 'Portrait of a Lackey on Fire' received mostly positive reviews with the acclaim focussed on its focus on characters.

The Simpsons airs on Sky and is available to stream on NOW with a Sky Entertainment Membership. Season 33 will hit Disney+ later this year.

Watch below: 10 facts about The Simpsons