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Portrayal of 'gay' on TV

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 5101/26/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 101/24/2013

Definitely "Six Feet Under." They were a real couple, warts and all.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 201/24/2013

wow

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 301/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 401/24/2013

Bert & Ernie

Enough said.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 501/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 601/24/2013

Captain Jack and Ianto Jones on Torchwood.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 701/24/2013

Dr. Smith

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 801/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 901/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1001/24/2013

Agreed R10.

"Ugly Betty" did a really nice job of showing why Marc was Marc, and the story about Justin coming out was EXQUISITELY done.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1101/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1201/24/2013

Bullshit, r10. Not every gay person lives "The Boys in the Band." Not everyone lives a life of internal torment.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1301/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1401/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1501/24/2013

How about Carol and Susan on "Friends"?

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1601/24/2013

[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"

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1701/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1801/24/2013

[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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 1901/24/2013

No love for Kevin and Scotty from Brothers and Sisters?

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2001/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2101/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2201/24/2013

David Fisher & Keith Charles - "Six Feet Under"

Omar Little & Kima Greggs - "The Wire"

Warren - "This Life" (ancient history edition 1996-1997)

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2301/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2401/24/2013

I like the gay couple in "Spartacus: Vengeance".

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2501/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2601/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2701/24/2013

Cagney, Lacey.

Fraiser, Niles.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2801/24/2013

I liked Just Shoot Me -- their gay characters were the most realistic and fun.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 2901/24/2013

"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

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3001/24/2013

Lucy and Ethel

Laverne and Shirley

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3101/24/2013

[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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3201/24/2013

[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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3301/24/2013

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...

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3401/24/2013

TV shows are MADE UP! NOT REAL! FANTASY!

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3501/24/2013

I like the lesbian in Matthew Perry's support group in "Go On."

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3601/24/2013

gays on tv (especially sitcoms) are like a modern day minstrel how--mostly all you see represented are prissy, bitchy effeminate men (Glle, the new normal, modern family, will and grace, et al)

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3701/24/2013

Some us aren't as dense as those who confuse a situation comedy with a documentary.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3801/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 3901/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4001/24/2013

Tinky Winky the Teletubbie.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4101/24/2013

[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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4201/24/2013

R24: WAY TO ACT IN PUBLIC, DOUCHEBAG.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4301/24/2013

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!

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4401/24/2013

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."

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4501/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4601/24/2013

We need an episode of Modern Family where Lily walks in on her fathers.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4701/24/2013

Alicia's brother on The Good Wife!

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4801/24/2013

That was R42, not R24, to whom I meant to say "WAY TO ACT IN PUBLIC, DOUCHEBAG." Sorry, R24.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 4901/24/2013

Bert and Ernie

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 5001/24/2013

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.

by Not a TV exec, either. reply 5101/26/2013
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