You can add Todd and Charlie to the list of tokenistic gay cast.
I'm not sure if I'd say Todd was a token gay because they never even said onair that he was gay. They stripped away anything about him as a person to make him into the one-dimensional schemer.
I think that Survivor has a very specific edit in mind with Charlie and most of his actual game is meaningless. He does have to own his embarrassing adoration of Marcus, but from the clips and the interviews that aren't on the episodes, his game is much more than simply saying "I love Marcus".
I think Survivor wants to go the laziest route this season, either through lack of inspiration or through an attempt to get new viewers. That means we don't see anything of Charlie beyond "I love Marcus", just as we don't see anything of most of the players beyond the most unimaginative caricatures. I think some producer got a good laugh at the idea of a gay man having a crush on a straight man, and they thought this would be great to show over and over.
Or maybe this will lead to some big point for Marcus and Charlie, and Charlie eventually knocks him out of the game, or Marcus betrays him, I don't know. I'd just like to see something beyond what we've had so far. Their relationship is more complex than what the episodes have shown so far.
That's why I loved Cook Islands, because there were no 'token' characters in terms of race, and those who were minorities (Jessica, Brad, Caoboi) had interesting dimensions to them.
One of the reasons I didn't care for Cook Islands was I thought through either casting or editing, they very rigidly enforced racial stereotypes. Lazy Stephannie, obnoxious Nate, meek Becky, superperfect Yul, wacky crazy Caoboi. Then there was Candice/Parvati/Adam, who all reinforced what some would see as stereotypes of whites (Adam the dumb jock, Candice the princess).
Brad could have had interesting dimensions, but instead he was invisible.
Sadly, in more recent years, it seems like Survivor may only want to bring up a gay man's sexuality if it means viewers can laugh at him, or see it as some type of novelty act (like Charlie). It's very rare that gay people can just be openly gay, matter-of-factly. I do think Survivor has had a fascinating and in terms of personality diverse group of gay men, but I don't know how many of them were ever actually shown as being out.
Edited by O2Sean, Oct 11, 2008 @ 8:41 AM.