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Gay / Bi / Straight: Sexuality on TV


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#1

Castro

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Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 8:03 PM

Retired football player: I haven't seen the commericial, but sounds like it could be Esera Tualo.

Nobody said intially that QAF was created for the consumption of female viewers.

Karmen, I don't think anybody even realized initially that female viewers would take to the show as they did. In fact, the writers said something to that effect in one of their interviews. And actually there have been a lot of complaints about the limited view of gay men presented by QAF (precisely what the conservatives attack as "The Gay Lifestyle") and it looks like this might be equally true of the lesbian show. We'll see. Maybe the sex scenes will make it worth watching. Or maybe there will be good writing? We can but hope.
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#2

jo_tornblade

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Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 8:40 PM

At the upper left corner of the page, there was a picture of Tammy Lynn Michaels and Melissa Etheridge. I was really struck by how old Melissa "writesmusictostalkto" Etheridge (TM someone not me) looks and how young Tammy "always adore her as Nicole Julian" Michaels really is. What is the age difference there twenty years?


Etheridge was born in 1961, Michaels was born in '74, so there's just 13 years difference. I'm the same age as Melissa and have gone out with women Tammy's age, so to me it's not a huge gap.

It's really amusing to me that a show like QAF can come out with a cast filled with really attractive men and nobody blinks an eye. Nobody said intially that QAF was created for the consumption of female viewers. Yet the L Word comes out and there's this shock and horror and outrage that the cast is gorgeous (Jennifer Beals I'm looking at you. I can't believe she's 40). This cast is just eye candy for straight men to get off on.


Why would an attractive cast be that controversial?. Most television shows are filled with attractive people, if they made a show about lesbians an exception to that (i.e., a cast made up of "bubbettes") I'd find it insulting. And when I go out I've noticed that the women who get hit on the most are the prettier ones.

Of course, I'm a big fan of the first 3 years of "Bad Girls" so what would I know.
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#3

Qwho

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 5:15 PM

I tend to agree about QAF on the writing front. It just isn't a very well written show. The first season was all "sex sex sex" with little story telling, the 2nd and 3rd season tried to be more drama oriented, but dropped the ball on nearly all fronts. The Emmett & Pickle storyline started good, but then ended stupidly. There's no way Emmett would've turned down a million dollars in reality, just to say the "relationship" wasn't real too a bunch of people who didn't think it was real to begin with. The Ben & Michael storyline could be better. Ben is just a substitute for Brian, but they don't play it out fully, and Ben is a steroid addict, then he isn't. Michael's father plot could've been better, I mean, Michael and his mother are just going to pretend they don't know the truth even though they both know that they both know? I do have hopes that Ted's addiction isn't all gone at the beginning of the 4th season and they will play up the Blake/Ted history.
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#4

Castro

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 10:48 AM

Comments on gays in television, including a reason for the shortage of lesbian characters that hadn't occurred to me.
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#5

Penfold

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 12:28 PM

Seomin tends to bug, but he makes some good points in that article.
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#6

fadooski

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 3:04 PM

jo_tornblade, thank you for mentioning Bad Girls. I love that show to no end. I watched it on showcase diva but it's not on that channel anymore. Does anyone know where it's being shown in Canada? Or should I just go for the DVD's?

That 's a show of quality. Good writing, complex characters, believable storylines and gritty realism that never went over the top. Good times good times.

Edited by fadooski, Jan 2, 2004 @ 3:04 PM.

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#7

OneWomanArmy04

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 12:17 AM

Good points, but why must 90% of the article be about gay characters in the media? Only the last few paragraphs specifically mentioned lesbian characters. I'm glad there's a site like www.afterellen.com where I can read about lesbian representation. I'm completely for queer equality, but I just wish there was more of a balance in these articles. This Seomin guy just loves to talk about the gay community, and I'm like, "Hello? I'm here too?" It's quite frustrating. Oh well.
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#8

HexLover

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 10:09 AM

I know that it hasn't been mentioned here for awhile but I'd like to talk about Friends. Thier handeling may not be the best when it comes to homosexual characters but I haven't seen anything that's I have thought of in a negative way. Someone mentioned how they spent a whole episode focussing on a girl/girl kiss between Rachel and an old friend of hers and how that was bad but to be fair Joey has kissed both Ross and Chandler at least once throughout the series so it's not like they were only focussing on using girl/girl action. Also Ross' first wife was a lesbian from the first episode (I think) and Chandler's dad is gay as well. I think that this show has portrayed us pretty well for a show that's all about making people laugh.
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#9

fadooski

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 1:02 PM

You know, there's an article on afterellen.com comparing gay and lesbian visibility on Television. One excellent point it made was about how while bisexual representations are lacking in both quantity and quality, bisexual men don't exist on television.

Can anyone think of positive or neutral representations of bisexual men in any media?

Edited by fadooski, Jan 4, 2004 @ 1:05 PM.

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#10

kingdead

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 1:15 PM

I think it's just the idea that bisexual men don't exist, period. It's kind of like the one-drop theory of sex - one homosexual experience marks a man as gay. A guy who is with both other guys and girls is generally read as in denial about his homosexuality. (Women have more leeway, although the same idea still applies.) Of course this doesn't carry over into "real life" all the time...
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#11

starri

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 3:53 PM

Can anyone think of positive or neutral representations of bisexual men in any media?

Bayliss dated Peter Gallagher on the last season of Homicide, and he'd been heretofore straight.
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#12

Castro

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 4:06 PM

NBC's running another episode of Queer Eye tonight.

So far as gay representations of males and females, in recent years I've seen quite a few more made-for-tv dramas focused on lesbians than on gay men. As for the theatrical films running on Sundance, IFC, etc., seems to me these are about fifty-fifty, but I wouldn't bet money on that. Don't watch enough dramas to even guess - but The Wire's Kima has got to be hands down the best recurring lesbian character.

AIDS and the other STD's make it trickier to deal with bisexual male characters, I should think. Any show that introduced one could probably expect an explosion of moral indignation on the boards. We've seen a couple of guys coming painfully out as homosexual after being married, and at least one (on The Shield) struggling to go in the other direction. But there does seem to be a shortage of happy bi's.
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#13

wonderland

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 7:28 PM

yeah, I can't remember a single bisexual male character on any show, but then I think I have only met a handful of bisexual men in my lifetime. I'm not saying that there isn't such a thing as a bisexual man, but most of the very few "bisexual" men I have met, either had only sexual relations with women and full relationships with men, or eventually stopped having sexual relations with womens and became gay.
I know several more bisexual women, but then, most of them ended up with men too.

I'm not trying to feed into the "there is no such thing as bisexual" crap, because I certainly don't think that everyone has to be one or the other, I just think that society is much more comfortable with putting people into clean and neatly wrapped packages, that so many people who are truly bisexual eventually end up on one side of the fence or the other due to societal pressure (both from straights as well as the gay community).

That probably also explains why there are few bisexuals on tv--it's better to have a character who can be labeled as "gay", but labeling someone as "bisexual", that's probably a little more than most viewers can handle (or more than the stuffy network executives think we can handle).
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#14

Ernos

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 7:59 PM

There was a bisexual guy on Ally McBeal that one time, though I pretty much tend to think that portrayals of anyone on that show are automatically negative...
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#15

Schroeder

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 9:35 PM

Played yumiliciously by Mark Firestein of Good Morning, Miami.
No, really.
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#16

biakbiak

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 9:49 PM

Didn't Ally refuse to date him after she finds out he was bisexual or am I misremembering?
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#17

HexLover

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 9:57 PM

She refused and then couldn't provide a volid reason why she won't date him.
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#18

Justin Cognito

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Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 6:19 AM

I think it was, "David E. Kelley loves the idea of women making out, but not men making out."

At least, that's what it was from my POV.
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#19

Penfold

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Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 10:45 AM

There was that bisexual that Carrie dated for a short time on Sex and the City, too. She couldn't wrap her head around it, and when she got kissed by Alanis Morrisette, totally ditched him.

After all, why should a woman who is supposed to be some sort of expert on sexuality and writes a popular column about it be expected to understand bisexuality? [/sarcasm]
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#20

Albanyguy

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Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 12:08 PM

Because Carrie is unable to understand why any person on the planet, gay, straight or bi, would ever want to have sex with anyone but her.
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#21

billabonged

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Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 1:21 PM

Yeah, none of the girls believed that a man who was bisexual wasn't gay and in denial, (because being bisexual is just so easy) apart from Samantha.
Carrie is such a fucking prude and narrow-minded considering she's a sex columnist.
There was a bisexual guy on (excellent) British drama This Life.
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#22

Marmie

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Posted Jan 6, 2004 @ 1:30 PM

This Life was indeed excellent, billabonged.
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#23

HexLover

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Posted Jan 10, 2004 @ 3:09 PM

I was wondering who everyone's favorite gay and lesbian characters were. Mine are Tobey from DC and Tara from BTVS.
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#24

starri

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Posted Jan 10, 2004 @ 3:15 PM

Tara, and Jack from DC, with the caveat that Jack only counts on all of the both times he was written well.

And Clark and Lex, naturally.
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#25

Blairish

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Posted Jan 10, 2004 @ 4:46 PM

Methos from Highlander, cos he's bound to have racked up more than a few guys in his 5,000 plus years. Also Stuart Jones from Queer as Folk UK.
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#26

Bach-us

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Posted Jan 10, 2004 @ 5:13 PM

I agree completely about Tara. I'd like to add Lindsey McDonald and Lorne, both from Angel, as the best bisexuals who never identify as bi (that we know).

From soap operas, Lena on All My Children is my favorite lesbian. Henry on As the World Turns is just like Lorne, except for the green and the horns and he's allowed to use non-pastry nicknames. Guy-y'know-like-Guy-Pierce from General Hospital was excellent and had the good taste to ogle Dillon. Too bad the idiots in charge only wrote him on for a couple of days.

From reality, I can't pick one from Queer Eye, so all of them except Blair. Ellen DeGeneres is my favorite female comic ever since her "phone call to God" standup routine, so I guess that makes her my favorite "reality" lesbian.
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#27

Schroeder

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Posted Jan 10, 2004 @ 6:25 PM

When and how did Lindsey McDonald identify as bisexual? This is news to me. I stopped watching this season, but know that he's back.
Or are you just reading into the character?

Tobey from DC is one of my all-time faves.
None of the real gay people in real life are favs of mine, if only because their shtick is so tiresome, and they're usually playing themselves. But when Ellen plays someone else (Dori on Finding Nemo), she's really good.
The QE guys are too into being their personalities, and Reichen and Chip were too into themselves.
QAF is just trash.

Maybe this The L Word will be interesting.

Edited by Schroeder, Jan 10, 2004 @ 6:27 PM.

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#28

Bach-us

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Posted Jan 10, 2004 @ 6:48 PM

I said they never identify as bi (that we know). Onscreen, both have shared gayest looks of the episode with Angel, and Lindsey behaved as if he was attracted to Darla and they shared a kiss and an implied affair. Lorne has commented repeatedly on Cordelia's hotness. That's my evidence for calling them bi, but no, as far as I know (I stopped watching after the fourth episode this season) they've never described themselves as bi (or gay or pansexual or whatever word they like).
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#29

Castro

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Posted Jan 10, 2004 @ 7:28 PM

If the question means "regular characters specifically identified as gay," mine would be David in Six Feet Under and Kima in The Wire. David isn't at all pretty, has plenty of problems, only some of which relate to sex, and is an undertaker. Kima is beautiful, but dresses and acts like a working detective (no conducting rooftop surveillances in nylons and long coats that flap around her shins) and - like a lot of cops - has some conflicts between her home life and her work. In other words, they have lives.

Or as my favorite guest gay character said on The West Wing, "My life doesn't have to be about being a homosexual."
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#30

biakbiak

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Posted Jan 10, 2004 @ 7:57 PM

David isn't at all pretty,


Huh? I think Michael C. Hall is hot.

Or as my favorite guest gay character said on The West Wing, "My life doesn't have to be about being a homosexual."


See I hate that line in the context that it was given. The only reason his party asked him to go to Josh's office to fight for the Defense of Marriage Act was because he was gay.
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