LGBT Visibility This Season

Today’s guest post will be hosted by Dickie from Rainbow MMO, one of the newer additions to my RSS feed that I always seem to make time for.

LGBT TV This year is shaping up to be a banner year in LGBT visibility in TV programs. Of the ridiculous number of new programs that started up this fall, 5 feature Lesbian or Gay characters, and those are just the shows that I’ve been watching. Even some of the veteran shows out there are started to flirt with LGB storylines. All of this new visibility is a great thing for the LGBT community, but it all adds up to only a part of a step forward, but I’ll touch on that in a moment. First, let’s take a look at some of the new LGBT plotlines, as well as one show that has a gaping hole where a good queer story line would make sense:

  • Glee

Glee Logo My favorite of the new shows to kick off this year, Glee focuses on a high school glee club full of the school’s misfits and their struggles through high school. Sure, that’s an old story to tell, but has anyone done it in musical form before? Or has anyone done it in a way that uses traditional musical theater conventions combined with fantastically accessible pop music arranged by the writers and sung by the cast? That is what makes Glee a great show. On top of that, Glee includes Kurt, an out gay high school student, and boasts Jane Lynch as the wonderfully catty Sue Sylvester. While Sue the character is not a lesbian (although you could have fooled me), Jane is. The show has already tackled a coming out story and promises to hit on a few other topics relevant to young queer kids.

  • Modern Family

This would be my second favorite new show this year. The show is trying a storytelling style somewhere between traditional set comedies and mockumentary style shows like The Office, and it follows around one extended family full or hilarious characters. One of the couples is a gay couple that just adopted a Korean baby to start their own family. The show has presented a few ideas that run through every gay persons mind: How should I act if I want to fit in? How do get my family to accept me and my family? Should we raise our daughter on a diet of show tunes? You know, simple things. This is a great show that I hope sticks around for a long time.

  • FlashForward

J.J. Abrams should be concerned, because if FlashForward lives up to its initial episodes, then he won’t be able to hold on to the crown of suspense shows for much longer. In the show, everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. During that time, everyone had a vision of what they would be doing in 6 month’s time, which is what they have come to call their flash forwards. Just recently, we found out one of the females leads in FlashForward is a lesbian who oddly envisioned that she would be pregnant in six months. This has been adding some drama to the character as it has made dating difficult for her because the women that she meets find out that she will be pregnant in 6 months and then question her lesbian authenticity, so to speak.

  • Stargate: Universe

SG: U is the next in the long line of Stargate shows and hopes to be able to take the series in a new, more dramatic direction. This cast ends up stranded on a space ship called the Destiny that leads them where it chooses, and they cannot seem to operate the Stargate on the ship to get them back to Earth. One of the main characters, Eli, has been collecting brief clips from the crew members on the ship in hopes of documenting their journey so that if they never make it back the people on board will be remembered. The show’s director uses this mechanic to give us an insight into the story behind the characters on board. One recent minor female character said “Send my love to Sarah” in her recording, which is a signal to the audience that she has a female lover back home. Sure, she is coded gay character and not explicit like the other mentioned, but I’m claiming her nonetheless!

  • Heroes

Heroes Logo I think we’re all familiar with Heroes at this point. Super-powered humans struggling with their identities as such and drama ensues. If we can all politely forget about the third season all together, I’m sure we could agree that season four is already shaping up to be much better than we expected. Interestingly, the writers have thrown in a lesbian twist to Clair’s story by having her college roommate make kiss her and subsequently pursue her. Even more interestingly, Clair isn’t shooting her down completely. We’ll see where this leads, but I like seeing the squeaky clean Hayden Panettiere take on a role that she hasn’t already explored.

  • Dollhouse

This is one show that the Professor has talked about before, and while it’s not a new show this year, it is a show that has made promises of queer content in the past and not delivered. Joss Whedon is kind of a big deal within the LGBT TV watching set, and early on in the Dollhouse promotion process he had promised to bring in some gay and lesbian themes to the show. And why not? I could easily imagine a lonely, rich gay guy paying for a fantasy night with Victor, but we’ve yet to see these stories come to fruition. Sure, we’ve got a few more episodes to go, but we’re in the thick of season 2 now Joss and team are going to have to start directing the story arch to a big bad soon.

Conclusion

This year has brought us some interesting new LGBT stories to follow weekly, and I’m pretty well excited for all of them. With the exception of SG: U and Dollhouse, it even appears all the show are doing well and may stick around for at least another season. Personally, I’m excited to see this proud, bold face of queer characters on television and I salute the networks and writers that have taken the time and initiative to put together a line up full of characters that I can relate to and happily tune in to watch every week.

Comments

    • On the subject of Dollhouse, the original pilot did feature some girl-girl kissing, though it’s hard to say this is really gay or bi, considering that the Dolls are programmed to kiss whoever they want. In Belle Chose, they showed us some transgendered motifs – the “female family” Terry kept had “drag” sort of makeup on, and of course Kiki being in Victor’s body and Terry being in Echo’s body made for some interesting cross-gendered experiences.
      .-= jane´s last blog ..Dollhouse Belonging =-.

  1. Agree on Modern Family and Glee, both my top debuts this year. I am very happy with the LGBT representation this season, although it still doesn’t compare with the Will & Grace, Queer as Folk, The L Word olden days.

    Glee definitely creates some controversial images with Kurt, but I think it makes the show all the more different.

    Basically, I say carry on!
    .-= Robert´s last blog ..V pilot review: the real home run for ABC =-.