Bil Browning

What a night for gay TV

Filed By Bil Browning | September 17, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

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Last night was the gayest night I've seen on network television in a long time. Remember when the community would get excited that there'd be one half hour sitcom episode that featured a gay character in a walk-on roll? Those days are long gone.

So You Think You Can Dance had a same-sex couple ballroom dancing together and the duo's dance was absolutely beautiful. This time Nigel Lithgoe was nice instead of insulting; I guess I'll be able to watch it again now.

On GLEE (also known as the gayest show on television), the gay kid came out to his high school friend and the former choir teacher's obsession with Josh Groban is a major part of the storyline too. Groban's guest cameo is priceless.

Full GLEE episode after the jump. (Sorry international readers; it's Hulu so it won't work outside America.)


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Nigel wasn't comfortable at all; he just wanted to avoid another shitstorm.

I was annoyed at both his talking during their routine, and at the fact that they had to do choreography while many inferior dancers were given a direct ticket (that girl with the chair wasn't that great).

Hopefully this won't become into a splitting of the duo into hetero couples for the competition. That's why dancing is so heteronormative to begin with, because gay couples can't compete at all; they're deemed gimmicks instead of given legitimacy.

Glee's pervasive use of racist humor & stereotypes keep me from being very excited about this show.

I love Glee because it is REAL. It is a very dark comedy. But, quiet as its kept, this is the very kind of things that go on in the schools among the teachers, a lot of politics, domineering teachers with connections and wimpy administrators who know what is right but won't stand up for it. The racial and especially the special ed slurs coming out of the mouths of the connected folks who are tolerated because of their connections and the seriously troubled teachers. We had a straight teacher who was a child toucher at one school where I worked. I wonder when the cheerleading coach will come out.

I actually was a victim of a cheerleading coach just like her who was considered a god by the principal. She thinks she is THE ONE. She was special ed. but treated her children and co-workers like crap (like the one in Glee), no boyfriend at 37. Hated anyone different from her. She reminded me very much of the one in Glee. She is still at it.

Public schools are a microcosm of the community at large. They are prone to the same strengths and weaknesses. Glee, as did Boston Public before it, shows the reality.

My partner is somewhat addicted to SYTYCD, so I usually wind up watching it. Last season, as has been previously noted here, was a public relations nightmare for SYTYCD. So much so that the show rented out Ellen DeGeneres to appease the gay audience. It was a blatant spin doctor moment, since, although Ellen loves to dance on her show, she doesn't really have the credentials to judge a serious dancer. She was there for comic relief and to mollify the LGBTQ community.

Last night, to me, was a not so subtle "Look at how benevolent we are" episode of SYTYCD. Unlike other seasons, they killed auditioners with kindness. The hearing impaired dancer, while having heartfelt appeal (and bravery), was a lovely illustration of this. To see Mary Murphy well with tears was a moment staged elicit sympathy from the show's audience. First, that anyone would believe that poor dancer could read anything from Mary's overly botoxed face and lips was a stretch of fiction(Let's face it, Mary looks like Jack Nicholson's version of the Joker from Batman). And when Mia Michaels said she was also holding back tears I tasted a bit of stomach acid.

Yes they were sweet to the gay couple. And they should have been, because those boys can dance. But I'd be shocked if either man comes remotely close to winning. Conspicuously absent was Mary's diatribe from last season as to her confusion about which dancer was in the male role and which was in the female role, which was one of the most insulting things I have ever heard. Anyone who knows anything about theatre knows that the "confusion" of genders is as old a device in story telling as William Shakespeare. The dance world is no exception. Bob Fosse often blurred the lines of sexuality. And there was a time when the tango was only danced between men in some South American countries because it was deemed not proper for women to perform such a sexually laced exhibition in public.

In addition, if you dig just a little, both Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe have roots in Scientology. Sorry, but I'm a tad snobby when it comes to cults. Mormons included.

I like Glee. It appeals to the musical theatre gay gene in me. The show also has the unfortunate tendency to dumb down the characters, which I find unappealing. Any current high school student who didn't presuppose that boy was gay, whether it is politically correct to do so or not, isn't a well written character.

That said, the musical numbers are well produced and the show is fun as long as the viewer maintains the ever necessary willing suspension of disbelief.