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Comment: The New Normal? What is the cost of the new gay idealism?

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  1. where does he get “a conventional model to which, we should bear in mind, many gays have no interest in conforming” from? If gay people didn’t want to get married then there wouldn’t be the support that there is for the bill in the gay community.

    Nobody has said people have to do so, just that they should be able to if they want to.

    1. There hasn’t been “normal” homosexuals portrayed in television before they have all played into the stereotype in one way or another – its a good thing that those who really don’t stand out in any particular way as “different” are getting exposure.

      1. Absolutely, the personal characteristics of LGBT are as varied as those of any other section of society. Perhaps a gay/bi accountant who enjoys fishing and a an occasional flutter on the horses, and who hasn’t a clue about interior design would be difficult to fit easily into a soap? There are at least as many unobtrusive gay/bi as there are more colourful individuals.

      2. The two major gay characters in ‘The New Normal’ are BOTH stereotypes: the Screaming Queen Diva and the Nice Preppy.

        It’s as bad in its way as the Kurt character in ‘Glee’ whose actor (whatever his name is again) said he played Kurt as Over the Top Flamboyant because he wanted to show him as ‘something new and different’ – and so did the ‘Same Old, Same Old’ routine.

        And, of course, every screaming queen gets paired with the gay ‘normal’ Boy Next Door.

        Nothing has changed since ‘Are You Being Served’ made a screaming queen’s sidekick (and comedic straightman) – a ‘normal lad’ straight man.

        They just have the pair dating or ;married’ now!

        1. Yet producers wouldn’t dream of portraying black characters as banjo playing, Uncle Tom type cheery servants (except in satire) or Jewish characters as conniving shylocks . Still progress is being made slowly but surely.

          Actually I would like to see a gay character being portrayed as rather banal and ordinary. Boring even.

        2. Is it not a characteristic of all sitcoms that they portray stereotypes to some extent? The Big Bang Theory, for example, capitalises on having not one but two neurotic Jews among its principals.

  2. It’s still rare for bisexual characters to show up on TV, let alone well-portrayed. The L-word was awful on this subject, for instance, and also so bad on trans issues that I stopped watching it. But I wouldn’t expect this writer to notice this, since they only talk about gay people and don’t appear to have heard of bisexuals.

    1. I can think of one positive example of a bisexual character though: Nolan Ross in Revenge. His sexuality isnt made a big deal of, there were no huge dramatic coming out storylines, it was just there, and he’s had romances with both men and women. Sorry, just thought it might cheer you up to know there was one good bisexual case on tv xx

  3. This is your typical American stereotype of gays – again. One twink, one not so twink, occasionally posturing over dilemmas such as what to wear at the gym. So depressingly nauseating. Folks, even with gaydar, it’s impossible to “spot” our gay brothers and sisters. So let’s stop trying…..we don’t belong in straitjacket categories.

  4. I second some of what has come before, the main characters in that sitcom are stereotypes the kind of which every major city in the western world is riddled with. The fashion over-conscious, gym-going, luxury-pad buying, cocktails-sipping , drugs-taking (or not), middle class gay man. The kind that usually never has and never will lift a finger for the rights of our community.

  5. I don’t think this is a gay issue at all.

    The vulnerable people at the fringes of society are largely missing from all strains of mainstream television, gay or not. There is a disproportionately affluent, middle-class cohort in general.

    What we’re seeing is simply the arrival of the gay version of how television has always been. The problem lies with media presumptions across the board, not those of the section of the media catering to LGBT representation.

    1. Indeed. I have rarely seen USAmerican sitcoms centred on people who weren’t white and middle-class.

      1. In there US there is a actually a large number of sitcoms where the cast is mostly Afro-American, but they are certainly almost ALL middle-class.

        Then again, what’s funny about three generations of a family of seven, living in the projects, unemployed, under-educated, living on welfare or on a menial salary and cannot afford healthcare. That, unfortunately, is the reality for far too many people of all ethnicity in the USA.

  6. Equal marriage, adoption rights etc: these are not “in vogue” accessories, thse are core principles of equality.

    I could go on, but….. What a silly piece.

  7. martyn notman 14 Mar 2013, 10:22pm

    its an oddly addictive and fairly funny show, hardly groundbreaking. The relationship between the lead couple is hardly meant to reflect society in general- ones in television ones a doctor- but then again its a COMEDY not drama, it doesnt have to!

  8. Max (Adam Pally) in Happy Endings is the most “normal” gay character I’ve seen on TV.

  9. Six Feet Under was ground-breaking in its portrayal of a gay inter-racial relationship involving two sort of ordinary men. The New Normal is more cartoonish – there is little about it that is adventurous or daring (except to the Talivangicals who won’t watch anyway).

    What I object to in the opinion piece is the idea that gays don’t care about anyone other than rich white gay men. Gay bloggers have brought Uganda’s Kill the Gays bill to public awareness, publicized the generalized homophobia in Caribbean nations, and covered issues such as gay-bashing, gay youth suicides, and discrimination on a regular basis. HIV/AIDS foundations are broadly supported by the gay community, seeking treatment and cure for everyone.

    To put it in hetero terms: Why hasn’t the Western heterosexual community done anything in response to the horrific rapes in India (in the way that Indians have)? Why haven’t they done anything about women’s freedoms in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia? You get the idea…

    1. I agree with six feet under. 20 years ago we used to lead and set the cultural agenda. Now we seem to want to assimilate to a heterosexual norm. Wedding kids and middle class respectability. Which is fine for those who want it but the odd oneswho may not want that are sidelined. Gay culture seems a bit shallow if you take pride as a barometer is drag, muscles or uniform. Gay coppers ffs. Do you know people still die in police custody.

      1. Wasn’t the black gay character in Six Feet Under a copper?

        1. He was.

  10. I agree that The New Normal has that tiresome mawkishness that all but the very best US sitcoms seem unable to avoid.

    But why single it out for portraying well-to-do middle-class characters? I can’t think of a single other popular US show that doesn’t.

    1. Agreed. But TV is pretty shit anyway setting unrealistic expectations. Curt in glee would have the shit kicked out of him in 99.9% of circumstances but kids are expected to come out and be”true” to themselves or live a life of shame

      1. But why focus on TV alone? Most films are no different, neither are most novels. Like it or not, that’s the difference between comedy/drama and documentary (or art and reality, if you prefer).

  11. Charlie Tipple 15 Mar 2013, 1:16pm

    “What about the gay people who happen to live on the margins, or outside of the acceptable face of gay society – immigrants, those who are HIV-positive, undergoing gender reassignment, or struggling with addiction?”

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t I reckon. If a new show did feature a gay character who was HIV-positive or dealing with addiction, columns like this would be the first to attack it for perpetuating negative stereotypes.

    1. Yep, some people are never never happy.

  12. My partner and I are thoroughly enjoying “The New Normal”.

    However, we watch it on a computer using 4oD, so that we avoid the TEN MINUTES of spliced-in advertisements! (Each programme is actually only 20 minutes long.)

    And we also watch it on 4oD with the subtitles switched on, because the dialogue is so rapid and sometimes so complex, not to mention American and often specific to the USA.

    It’s very very clever drama. It is powerful, and cutting, and highly critical of homophobia and racism, but everything is dressed with humour, so that it’s all the more palatable to a wide cross-section of people.

    I just wish the BBC was showing it on BBC1 at 8pm on Sunday nights, so that it would more effectively help to wipe-away out-dated attitudes and homophobia here in the UK!

    GREAT STUFF! No complaints.

    1. Glad to see something positive here about it. I also have been watching it and really haven’t seen then as cliche’s at all!

      Bryan ‘seems’ silly and fluffy and yet HE was the one who stood up to the bigot in the shop and then later said it like it was to David on how hard this would be with their child. He opened David’s eyes to the fact that that could happen in front of their child and what would they do? How would they act? etc!

      Yes their middle class American…But hell all the women in L-Word were professionals as were the women in Lip Service!!

      What The New Normal does is not hide it’s head in the sand of what we face when we decide to have children. The hoops you have to jump through. The bigotry you can face, And it’s Bryan who voices all this, not David, and I love that.

  13. Uncouth Youth 15 Mar 2013, 6:25pm

    I managed to get through three episodes before deleting the series link on Tivo.

    I watched the first episode to see what it was like. I watched the second to see if it really was as bad as I first thought. The third episode confirmed how truly dreadful it is. Life’s too short. Avoid at all costs

  14. I’ve seen worse….Will and Grace NEVER ever touched on anything vaguely homophobic! This doesn’t shy away from that at all! Personally I’m enjoying it!

    At least it’s fun! We in the UK haven’t managed that yet and as much as I love Sue Perkins her new comedy is awful and not at all funny! Where as this makes me smile!!

    And I liked Lip Service to an extent…but in truth it made gay women look all look like slags. IMO the lesbian writer caved into to what the straight male BBC boses wanted…some lesbian action on screen! As opposed to something more realistic. It kind of added to that view that there’s a gay person round every corner…and I’ve realised I’ve gone off on a tangent! lol

    1. Got to agree with Lip Service. Yeah all of us gay women go round humping each other don’t we….It was dreadful, am sure every woman who turns up in Scotland was gay, blumming silly show. If you going to make a show at least make it so that it is grounded in common sense and pragmatic. This goes for all gay line stories and programs.

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