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What are the best and worst depictions of LGBT characters on TV?

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  • Daniel Montgomery
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    #364111

    Part of me wants to include the “Modern Family” guys in both best and worst columns. On the one hand, they’ve been great for visibility on a show about the various ways happy families can be configured. On the other hand, the way they represent gayness can be a little problematic, since they’re often vain, materialistic, and petty. And they don’t have friendships so much as status competitions.

    Elsewhere, I’m loving how matter-of-factly bisexual Annalise Keating has been made to be on “How to Get Away with Murder.” That’s refreshing.

    But probably my favorite LGBT character right now is a relatively small one: Aaron on “The Walking Dead.” Mostly because as a gay viewer of a show I’ve liked a lot for several seasons, he’s the first person I’ve been able to really project myself onto, and for a relatively new recurring character, he’s already got a lot of dimension.

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    SamEckmann
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    #364113

    Aaron is awesome! Ross Marquand brings a great new energy to The Walking Dead (especially his use of comedy as a defense mechanism last season). And If rumors are true, we may be getting one more gay character in the zombie apocalypse!

    Willow and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer might be my favorite gay couple. In a time where there was essentially no lgbt representation on TV (they were actually primetimes first gay kiss), it was really affirming as a gay kid to see a gay couple treated just the same as everyone else. 

    Modern Family ranges from positive to awful in terms of lgbt portrayal. There was definitely a moment last season where Cam and Mitchell were in the mirror and basically sashaying through clouds of cologne and powdering themselves…and my boyfriend and I looked at each other and cringed. Comedies will probably never be the best examples because so much of comedy is exploiting stereotypes. Not just of gay people, but everyone.

    The best current example i can think of is The Outs. It’s a webseries and has been picked up for season 2 by Vimeo. I can’t really think of a better example of what its like to be gay in New York. The writing is really top notch.

     

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    mikeboy898
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    #364114

    Modern Family is tricky. The fact that they have a married gay couple being broadcasted onto millions of American’s televisions weekly is great. It gives exposure to so many people who don’t know a thing about gay people (and would probably care not to learn). At the same time, its portrayal of Mitch and Cam is so incredibly stereotypical, I cringe almost everytime they are on screen. The wedding was beautifully done though, but almost everything else is unwatchable.

    How to Get Away with Murder is probably my favorite show to incorprate LGBT characters. That show does wonders with its inclusion of a broad range of sexualities, and ethnicities. Jack Falahee’s character, while sexually adventurous, has become very nuanced in Season 2, and teh writers have now introduced Annelise’s bisexuality into the storyline, almost as an afterthought.

    Looking was also great. It treated its gay men as regular people who just happened to be gay but weren’t defined by it (this needs to happen more frequently by the way). While some criticized its boring, tedious nature – I happened to enjoy it.

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    AMG
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    #364115

    Does a show have as many varying and diverse LGBT characters as Orange Is The New Black?

    In some shows, it can almost be a case of box ticking for having one or two LGBT characters. This show has several, and shows how different all are.

    Plus, Transparent seems to do a great job to me.

    I’d be tempted to add House of Cards for Frank Underwood. His bisexuality is mentioned and seen briefly, without it becoming the defining factor of the character.

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    Blacktie
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    #364116

    Cyrus from Scandal – if for no other reason than his monolouge regarding how Chief of Staff is the closest he could ever get to being POTUS since he’s gay

    Arizona and Callie from Grey’s Anatomy…I loved everything about their courtship, relationship, and breakup.

    Kalinda from The Good Wife was a case study.

    Jamal from Empire is interesting. He reminds me of myself, but I hate how his character is written with regards to his relationships..both familial and romantic.

    Poussey, Boo, and Nicky are the most authentic lesbians from OITNB. I guess Sophia is a lesbian as well…great trans role and depiction regarding the intricacies of the trans community.

    Lafayette from True Blood made no sense in a world that made no sense.

    Mark from Ugly Betty was a caricature.

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    Josh Labron
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    #364117

    Cosima on Orphan Black is fantastic!

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    leothescorpio
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    #364118

    Empire did a great job with Jamal in season 1, but his arc in season 2 is well… Confusing. I’d love to see more black gay/bi men being represented on TV, but we still have a very long way to go.

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    Juan
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    #364119

    Max on Happy Endings was awesome and a great LGBT character. I also second Arizona and Callie on Grey’s

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    mikeboy898
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    #364120

    ^ Completely forgot about Max, his character is just great!

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    Atypical
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    #364121

    “Looking” was one of the best examples of across-the-board strong LGBT portrayals that I’ve seen on television. I’m also going to throw into the mix “Orange Is the New Black,” “Transparent,” and “Six Feet Under” (few performances got to me like Michael C. Hall’s David Fisher did in its original run). On the negative side, I cringe at some of the “Queer as Folk” repeats that air on Showtime (the entire series is on Netflix too). I don’t know what to make of these cartoonish, stereotypical characters today who were considered groundbreaking for their era. Gale Harold’s Brian Kenney? Yeah. I think the only player who left that series relatively unscathed was Sharon Gless (finding some shreads of humanity in a very outlandish Debbie). I wonder if I’ll think of Mitch and Cam in the future the same way I think of Will and Jack, where they’re somehow advancing the “cause” and setting it back in the mainstream with all of their broad characterizations. Only time will reveal those answers.

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    Daniel Montgomery
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    #364122

    I agree with the above mentions of “Looking” and “Orange is the New Black.” Probably the best and most dimensional depictions of LGBT men and LGBT women that have been on television, maybe ever.

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    WaltEagle
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    #364124

    Willow and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer might be my favorite gay couple. In a time where there was essentially no lgbt representation on TV (they were actually primetimes first gay kiss), it was really affirming as a gay kid to see a gay couple treated just the same as everyone else. 

    Willow and Tara are great. However, I’m not sure why I see people say so often that they’re the first primetime gay kiss. They’re not even close; it happened 10 years before that on L.A. Law, and plenty more times in between (Dawson’s Creek, Picket Fences, Roseanne, DS9, Ally McBeal, Sex and the City, among others). Some of them were problematic (some weren’t), but that still doesn’t make Buffy the first.

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    WaltEagle
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    #364125

    Mitch and Cam have no case for being in the “best” category. If they were written exactly the same but the show got low ratings and was culturally irrelevant, everyone would agree that their portrayal has no real pros. Gay visilibity is nice as it is, but it’s perpetrating stereotypes (and sometimes even inventing new ones) at the same time.

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    eastwest
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    #364126

    OITNB is a strong 99%. It’s not 100% b/c of Piper and Alex.

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    WaltEagle
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    #364127

    In that regard (not their overall characters): Poussey > Boo > Nicky > Sophia > Morello > Tricia > Soso > Suzanne > that time Flaca and Maritza kissed > Piper > Alex > Stella

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