Inspired by the Eric Stonestreet thread...
What do you consider to be the best ever or most realistic portrayal of gay men/lesbians on TV? If you don't think there have been any, then what do you think would be most authentic? It doesn't matter if no one would watch it, etc., but it has to be what you think would be 'real'. For example, I don't think 'DTLA' or anything with Reichen is realistic in terms of how most gay men live their lives, but that's just my opinion. It's the same way I don't think 'Sex and the City' represents most women in New York. And yes - I acknowledge that a TV show has to spark interest.
The only thing that unites gay people is attraction to the same sex. Other than that we all have different lives. The main problem with Modern Family is they are supposed to be a couple who don't actually seem like a couple.
There are those who do live similar to the sex-obsessed gay scenters of QAF to the closeted thugs of Mickey from Shameless. There are those who are e-ffeminate and those who aren't.
This just becomes a question of what character is closest to your life. And also what character (who happened to be gay) was written well enough to to seem like a real person.
Definitely "Six Feet Under." They were a real couple, warts and all.
Ricky from My So-Called Life. Felt very real, but I was literally the same age they were when the show aired (15), and was in the same situation socially. My friends were my family.
Bert & Ernie
There are aspects of David and Bryan's relationship I like, but the fundamental premise, "We are gay + we are married = we must breed", is faultly IMO.
Having children is a bullet we gay people missed. Why is it a given in TV land that gay men want children? Is it a generational thing (I'm a boomer)? I simply have no interest in having a child, and I have never had one. And the same is true for almost everyone I've ever known.
On DOOL, they're turning the Will/Sonny story into the Sonny/Will/Gabi/Nick story into something which, if we are to root for our protagonist, we are to want Will to be the father of his child. Except for the fact that Nick, whom I had never seen prior to his being let out of jail to participate in this Gayby excrescence, is a crazy motherfucker, I would find it a perfect ending for Gabi and her spouse to bring up the baby, leaving Will out of it.
I'm not saying they should lie about it, but this thing the writers are driving now, with Sami and Lucas telling Will how he's going to fall in love with his child, oh, forgetaboutit.
Captain Jack and Ianto Jones on Torchwood.
I've taken some recent media and LGBT studies classes, and did a project on this very topic.
There's still a lot of room for improvement, but the representations are better than the 70s, 80s and early 90s, where any mention of homosexuality was just making us the "problem of the week."
The soaps have done a really good job of showing the most realistic aspects of our lives. Sadly, every storyline so far has also had an unrealistic interaction with straight people: Kish on OLTL (one partner fathered a baby), Will and Sonny on DAYS (same), Olivia and Natalia on Guiding Light (same) and Luke/Noah on World Turns (Noah married Ameera).
The Olivia/Natalia story was otherwise a very realistic story of two women falling in love.
[quote] The only thing that unites gay people is attraction to the same sex. Other than that we all have different lives.
Agreed 1000000%. We are very diverse and it needs to start showing on TV and in movies.
[quote] The main problem with Modern Family is they are supposed to be a couple who don't actually seem like a couple.
YES! I don't have a big issue with Eric Stonestreet's portrayal - one of my best friends IS that person. But Cam and Mitchell are so sexless. And COLD - I understand they aren't supposed to be passionate lovers, but there's no warmth. It's clear they don't like each other very much. I just don't buy them.
There's a cartoonish, superficial idea of gayness that Hollywood likes and that some gay men enjoy - and are responsible for creating (Ryan Murphy, Max Mutchnik) - because it avoids addressing the more real, complicated, melancholy and corrosive aspects of gayness that they prefer to keep hidden. It's reached its apex with Murphy, who by many accounts is a sad, unhappy man, making the astoundingly superficial "You're O-Gay, I'm O-Gay" The New Normal and basing the character on himself. The New Normal reduces gayness to argot, material consumption, candy colors and sexy guest stars, and the stress of being gay is primarily interpreted as an external conflict with the Ellen Barkin character. A "gay conflict" on The New Normal is "Should we photograph the baby in a dress?" This is not real. The essential conflict of the gay man is and will always be internal. The best written gay characters recognize this - David and Keith from Six Feet Under being the gold standard in drama, but that's not to say that it's impossible to do in comedy - Michael Urie on Ugly Betty brought a lot of pathos to his character when they fleshed him out.
I bring him up too much, but Bret Easton Ellis - a sad, unhappy gay man who presents himself to the world as a sad, unhappy gay man - makes a point when he says that he doesn't identify with "gay" when it's represented by "Modern Family" or the homongenous gay Murphy-Mutchnik shows. We're all very different.
"Ugly Betty" did a really nice job of showing why Marc was Marc, and the story about Justin coming out was EXQUISITELY done.
I think the thing you raise is legitimate but I think it is a conscious effort on the part of gay producers like Mutchnik and Murphy to stop what used to be the entirety of gay literature and media portrayals: the horrible spectre of AIDS, the wrenching coming-out process, and being the gbf of the serious characters. Forget that most portrayals of gay men before AIDS were of psychopaths and killers.
With apologies to you evolved hyper-masculine DLers, camp is still fun.
Bullshit, r10. Not every gay person lives "The Boys in the Band." Not everyone lives a life of internal torment.
I don't really understand the question. There are all sorts of gay people. There is no generic gay person to serve as a frame of reference for your question.
Not every person lives "Boys in the Band", but nobody lives "The New Normal."
Murphy and Mutchnik are actually portraying gay characters like they've always been portrayed, just with the volume turned up in some areas and silenced in the others.
How about Carol and Susan on "Friends"?
[quote]melancholy and corrosive aspects of gayness
Yikes! That is a really sad view of gay people. I don't feel that way and know very few people who do. The gay people I do know like that are usually just using gayness as an excuse to keep from facing the the real causes of their unhappiness.
If you do feel that way, you should have loved the christening gown story line because it points up the corrosive behavior of trying to meet others expectations, "we can't do anything that might lead straight people to think we are raising our son gay"
For the lesbians? Aside from the witch stuff, I've always thought Willow from "Buffy" was a fairly authentic portrayal of a young gay woman.
[quote]That is a really sad view of gay people.
You know what is a really sad view of gay people? When after twenty years of public AIDS education, I read in the news that 50% of gay men on Grindr admit to having bareback sex. Or that 25% of gay men continue to vote for candidates who hate them. Breaking news: it does not always get better.
No love for Kevin and Scotty from Brothers and Sisters?
I thought the Michael and Ben relationship in Showtime's Queer as Folk was pretty good and real.
Sometimes I do wonder what gay posters who constantly complain about the gay community being badly represented and mocked by shows and movies watch themselves. Surely they don't watch stuff where other groups of people are laughed at by being stereotyped or being mispresprented, right?
Personally I find it really strange when people take it so personal and feel downright insulted because there's a show with one gay characters who are so very different from those people who take offense.
I thought Ben was kind of a self-righteous prick sometimes and ridiculously patronizing to Michael. Nothing to do with his portrayal as a gay man though I guess.
David Fisher & Keith Charles - "Six Feet Under"
Omar Little & Kima Greggs - "The Wire"
Warren - "This Life" (ancient history edition 1996-1997)
ups, I am so sorry. The last paragraph of my post got pretty bad.
Personally I find it really strange when people take it so personal and feel downright insulted because there's a show with gay characters who are so very different from those people who take offense.
I like the gay couple in "Spartacus: Vengeance".
I'd probably say that Kevin from B&S is most like me in most respects. That is, aside from the fact that I would never fall for someone like Scotty. Not my type at all.
C,mon Kurt Hummel. Theater Queen, total attitude, lusted after the straight high school jock and devasted when it was unrequited and the last of the Glee Club to get laid, even after a straight kid in a wheelchair. All of you know Kurt Hummell, Hell some of you ARE Kurt Hummell.
I liked Just Shoot Me -- their gay characters were the most realistic and fun.
"You know what is a really sad view of gay people? When after twenty years of public AIDS education, I read in the news that 50% of gay men on Grindr admit to having bareback sex"
Men on Grindr don't represent all gays
Lucy and Ethel
Laverne and Shirley
[quote]Not every person lives "Boys in the Band", but nobody lives "The New Normal."
Disagree. One of my friends from college and his husband are very much like TNN couple, minus Nene. They have one son already and are looking to adopt another child.
The Voice of the Night
[quote]Not every person lives "Boys in the Band", but nobody lives "The New Normal."
Well, Ryan Murphy is living it. As are some of the other gays in Hollywood like Matt Bomer (to the admittedly superficial extent that we see).
Even outside of the Hollywood bubble, there are couples like that, who fit the TNN profile and seem to badly want a stable, conventional family with 2.4 kids. It may not be a lifestyle you like, but it is one that is valid for some (probably a minority) gay men and it's nice to see it represented on TV.
God, some of you are dense.
Not living "The New Normal" as in their family situation, but living it by having every aspect of your life defined through the sunniest camp abstractions of gayness. Duhhhhh...
TV shows are MADE UP! NOT REAL! FANTASY!
I like the lesbian in Matthew Perry's support group in "Go On."
Nance from Delray
gays on tv (especially sitcoms) are like a modern day minstrel how--mostly all you see represented are prissy, bitchy [childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool] men (Glle, the new normal, modern family, will and grace, et al)
Some us aren't as dense as those who confuse a situation comedy with a documentary.
There will never be an accurate, non-offensive portrayal of gays in film or TV until gays figure out how we want to be represented.
Often the most hurtful people to gays are other gays. Datalounge is proof.
Of all shows, That '70s Show gave a realistic portrayal of a gay high schooler. Played by DL fave Joseph Gordon Levitt, Buddy mistakes the somewhat fey Eric for being gay. The Mitch Hedberg cameo is a plus too.
Admittedly, it's outside of my jurisdiction to judge the authenticity of Shameless US and its gay story - but the relationship between Ian and Micky rings true to me.
[quote]Is it a generational thing (I'm a boomer)?
You're that fucking old and you haven't yet figured out that not everyone shares your interests, tastes and values?
THIS IS WHY PEOPLE HATE ELDERGAYS.
R24: WAY TO ACT IN PUBLIC, DOUCHEBAG.
R42 -- you remind me of why I am leery of any guys under 40.
I'm old enough to have actually watched "That Certain Summer" when it was first run ... and yes, I sure as hell wanted to be in that bed with Hal Holbrook!
Will's boss on Will & Grace in season 1.
He comes over for drinks and Grace STORMS out of the room b/c Will has pushed her last button (he was kind of control-freaky.)
Will witnesses their dynamic and says, "Will, are you sure you're gay? 'Cuz this feels like a night at home with the Missus."
It seems that most gay characters on broadcast TV appear in either comedies or in ensemble musical-themed shows (e.g. Glee, Smash) and have nonexistent sex lives. Is this as far as broadcast networks are willing to go in their depiction gay characters? Basic cable hasn't done a lot better. The most interesting and most fully realized gay characters on TV so far have been on premium cable which has a different business model and they don't have to worry about offending advertisers.
We need an episode of Modern Family where Lily walks in on her fathers.
Alicia's brother on The Good Wife!
That was R42, not R24, to whom I meant to say "WAY TO ACT IN PUBLIC, DOUCHEBAG." Sorry, R24.
Bert and Ernie
Exactly, r34. I couldn't even finish the first episode of TNN. After the queeny gay sees the kid in the stroller, we encounter one of the worst stereotypes: The fickle, easily swayed materialistic homosexual, essentially starting down this poor tot and thinking, "OMG it's so pretty I want it I want it!" Then he of course comes home with some baby outfit and present it to his partner as evidence he wants a kid so bad. A bit creepy.