In today’s Morning Jolt today (available by subscription), Jim Geraghty reflects on “the latest offering from the Family Channel”, a drama called “The Fosters” featuring an interracial lesbian couple raising a “brood of adopted, biological and foster children.”
“After watching the pilot, where the parents come across so saintly,” Geraghty suspects . . .
. . . that the writers will be terrified about portraying them with any flaws, either because they’ll be afraid they’re portraying gay parents negatively, or because they fear their audience will be even momentarily repelled by characters that the entire show’s purpose is to get you to love and accept.
In other words, if Hollywood is afraid to portray a gay character as human, with strengths and failings, moments of character and moments of weakness, and so on . . . are they really being all that groundbreaking or brave or honest in their creation?
Reading that concluding question, I recalled an essay that both Bruce and some eaders shared with me, Bret Easton Ellis’s overlong, but insightful rant, “In the Reign of the Gay Magical Elves,” where the novelist also wondered about Hollywood’s depiction of gays:
The reign of The Gay Man as Magical Elf, who whenever he comes out appears before us as some kind of saintly E.T. whose sole purpose is to be put in the position of reminding us only about Tolerance and Our Own Prejudices and To Feel Good About Ourselves and to be a symbol instead of just being a gay dude, is—lamentably—still in media play.
. . . .
Where’s the gay dude who makes crude jokes about other gays in the media (as straight dudes do of each other constantly) or express their hopelessness in seeing Modern Family being rewarded for its depiction of gays, a show where a heterosexual plays the most simpering ka-ween on TV and Wins. Emmys. For. It? . . . . But being “real” and “human” (i.e. flawed) is not necessarily what The Gay Gatekeepers want straight culture to see.
Interesting how the views of a conservative pundit and a non-conservative gay iconoclast parallel each other.
(If you have time, Ellis’s piece is a fun read and has a bit of a libertarian flavor; he does not dispute GLAAD’s decision to disinvite him from their media awards shindig, offering that “they’re allowed to invite or disinvite anyone they want to.”)
*UPDATE: As per the below, seems the answer is “Yes”:
FROM THE COMMENTS: Nick reports that one show has depicted flawed gay character and asks an important question:
FWIW, I think the most evenhanded treatment of gay characters on a TV show came from The Wire. Kima Griggs, an out lesbian, was a good cop who over the course of the series, was addicted to hunt of the suspects and lost a partner and child to breakup. Same with Omar, the shotgun-toting robber of drug dealers. He happened to be gay. Omar was a morally reprehensible yet fascinating character first, and gay somewhere down the line.
. . . .
With respect to “The Fosters” – I could care less if they’re lesbians. I mean, the first question we should ask is if the show is any good? Well written? Good acting? Compelling storyline? Do the characters make me empathize with them?