Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm Happier Will and Grace Is Off The Air Than Anyone I Know

I've come down on this same issue for many years now - Will and Grace has not been the progressive becon of light for the gay community, it has been a sad, commercialized, thoroughly unfunny, celeb-guest star obsessed disgrace (no pun intended).

Now, i am not a gay man, but if i were, i think i would be quite offended at the portrayal of what a gay man in New York is. Do i have to be a corporate and label whore, like Will? Or must i be so sterotypical and flamboyant that i confirm all the opinions that middle America has about me anyway - that i'm a squeaky little man who oozes obnoxiousness, like Jack? (I do think that Will's character not being so flamboyant was a good move, but its like making a female character on a TV show who is a tomboy, has short hair, and says that she is a feminist, but at night has dreams of having a man come by and let her spend all her time in the kitchen and pumping out babies. I'm not saying that caring about fashion makes you a bad person, but i don't see why producers would create a seemingly anti-stereotype character, but then throw in yet another stereotype. Sure, i know there are people like Will out there, but if we're trying to break down boundaries here, then i think it would have made more sense to have left out as many potential sterotypes as possible.)

And what about the portrayal of the women in the show? The so called "hag" Grace is just a big sign saying "Hey Ladies! All (or at least many) of the good ones are gay, so just be content with being an old maid!" And Karen is flatly the most annoying character on TV in a long time - and let's not forget that Joey was on during its run.

I did not enjoy or regularly watch the show when it was on, but i've watched enough episodes with friends to have been offended by their sterotyping and, frankly, their exploitation of the gay community. I know there are many people who disagree with me, but i feel strongly about this. To get America to get its head out of its ass and realize that the Declaration of Independence had the right idea when it said that all are created equal, we have a responsibility to project gay men and women as diverse and unique as us straightees. Just like for the first 30 years of TV, all black characters had unfortunate ties to the stereotypes of the times. It wasn't until Bill Cosby came in, and was more white than a picket fence, that a black person on television didn't have to fall into the unfortunate place of comic relief vis a vis a borderline racist performance.

Now, i'm not saying that the proper way to assimilate the diverse gay character into the mainstream press is to make a character as straight as Cosby was white, because i think that Cosby has done a lot of both good and, to his own community especially, bad, but i do think that a brave producer has to do something that the Cosby Show did very well - it was never a show about being black. It was a show about being a family. We have to stop making all shows featuring gay characters to be 'gay shows,' or make the character nothing more than a shop-aholic. Gay people can, and do, interact with straight folks, just as blacks and whites and hispanics and asians all can co-exist, so can the gays and the straights. And there is no reason why we can't make some more characters who are normal! But until TV takes the punchline out of gay relationships, i'm afraid that this is the best we'll ever do. RIP Will and Grace, and may America's ignorance die with you.


At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As always, The Onion has a hilarious response to this crisis.

Hoping you burn with the Great Satan, your wacky Xtremist pal,

Matt P


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