I honestly don’t know if I can write this post without sounding homophobic so maybe I’ll just hope that I don’t get any hate for this as I already know that I’m probably not sharing this post on facebook this time around. It is an interesting question so I figure that I might as well ask it. Are gays used too much on TV shows? I’ve heard reports that there are more gays in television than ever before. Is this a good thing? Do we need this many gay characters?
One thing that I remember reading somewhere online once (a place I can’t remember and won’t bother looking for) made it seem like gay characters were forced upon some CBS shows due to what they felt was a lack of representation or something dumb like that. The example that I remember is them adding Alicia’s gay brother to The Good Wife. This is despite the fact that an LGBT character called Kalinda was a regular on the show already. Maybe because she is bi-sexual, that wasn’t good enough for people. But it would seem dumb to make shows have gay characters because the writers can make them as bad people as they want to.
But there hasn’t been as many gay characters that were horrible people. The closest example I can think of is the cast of The Real O’Neals where pretty much everyone was horrible in some way. Only I don’t think that the gay character was as bad as all the other main ones. The only other show I can think of is Survivor, only that doesn’t have made up characters; it has real people.
A problem with gays on television, if there is one, is that we can go a while without learning about their orientation. The first season of Supergirl made no hints that Alex was gay other than a lack of any love interest of either gender. But that was easily explained with her being too busy with work. Still, it wasn’t bad when they revealed that she was gay because it was never talked about before. Similarly, the show Fresh off the Boat had another character think that she’s a lesbian, which the age of the character being as young as she is, made it so that she didn’t realize it before.
Supposedly, Haley Dunphey, a character from Modern Family, is bi-sexual. This is what the actress who played her tweeted out. But this character has existed for years. There has not been any hint of her being bi-sexual. Even if they play it off as her suddenly realizing it, it would seem to suddenly change everything we know about this character. Plus, there are two gay leads on the show already. Do they need a third regular LGBT character?
Another problem that I see sometimes is that a character that is gay is not in any way different than what this character would be if he or she were straight. I saw this problem in some shows some times. This doesn’t happen too much. Like I know that it might not be too much of a problem, though. I saw it as a potential problem of Captain Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. While they have made his character more than enough different from a straight one, it seems that most of the time, he could have been easily straight with almost nothing different about him.
In case you think I’m mentioning one problem after another with gay characters, here’s one that works in a different way: straight characters of the same gender getting together. This is a huge problem that I’m surprised the LGBT community isn’t upset with. I was so upset that Walden and Alan were getting married on Two and a Half Men that I ended up not watching the final season as a result. They have been straight the whole show and remained straight as one does yet still got married to each other. What is with that?
Back to the original point: why are there so many gay characters on TV shows? You could probably more easily name shows that don’t have any gay characters than those that do. Even if there isn’t a gay main character, there is normally an important enough recurring character that’s gay. Even closeted gays are gay characters. Even if they aren’t the main focus of the show, they are there. The Simpsons has never been about gays in most episodes, but Waylon Smithers who is in a lot of episodes, has been gay for a long time, although that’s not what the show is about. Neither is Sugergirl about Alex being a lesbian, although that remains unchanged.
I guess that my closing point is that there are a lot of gays on TV shows and you’ll see more of them over time. I have read in both Time Magazine and tv.com that there are more LGBT characters than ever be for. Why is that? I don’t know. I hope that it is still okay to do shows without them. And I hope that I didn’t offend anyone with this blog post.