Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Law and Order and Brothers and Sisters -- No Balls!

While you can't expect every TV show that deals with gay subject matter to have a gay activist – or even a gay – sensibility, sometimes you have to wonder where the tele-writers are coming from. I think that Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is one of the best shows on television, but I was very surprised by a recent episode in which there was a sub-plot in which two men haul guys into a van and rape and abuse them. Some of the victims are gay and some are straight. One straight-identified guy, who is about to get married, won't testify because he can't stand the thought of his bride-to-be knowing what happened. He is particularly horrified because he was aroused while he was being penetrated. Now these detectives are supposed to be sensitive and understanding but instead of assuring him that even if he were gay it wouldn't be the end of the world, all they do is try to persuade him that he's still straight. But what if the guy has gay leanings that remain unexplored and because of this his marriage will be a disaster? The possibility is never even suggested. Neither Stabler nor Benson suggest that there would be nothing wrong with this guy if he were gay.

On an episode of the regular Law and Order, the storyline dealt with a hypocritical married minister who claimed he could cure homosexuality yet was running around having sex with guys. What bothered me about this episode was that the detectives kept asking if this one or that one was cured without putting “cured” in figurative quotes, as if they really thought homosexuality was some sort of disease that could be banished like polio. This may not have been the tele-writer's intention, but it made it seem like a throwback to the 1970's.

But the Law and Order shows have always been inconsistent when it came to gay-themed episodes, probably depending on the sensibility of the writer [regardless of their orientation]. Law and Order has even had a few old-fashioned episodes in which the motive of the killer was to simply prevent somebody from revealing he or she was gay. Definitely very 70's.

Now on Brothers and Sisters we have the storyline involving the gay brother Kevin and his hunky closeted soap actor boyfriend. [Does anyone really see these two as a realistic couple?] In a recent development, a web site keeps threatening to out the soap actor. Kevin, who is certainly a far cry from a proud gay activist, is willing to keep dating this rather dumb, closeted schmuck [who apparently has a pattern of using women as beards and dumping boyfriends and girlfriends alike] simply because he's hot [okay, he wouldn't be the first man or women to stay with someone because of presumably great sex]. But Kevin's actions are deplorable: Contacting the owner of the web site [it has not yet been revealed if he's gay or straight], he threatens a law suit even though he knows the insinuations are perfectly true. Does he try to convince his boyfriend that a life of shivering in the closet isn't worth what may never even become a hugely successful career in the first place? Does he agonize over the fact that as a couple he and the soap hunk can never be out and proud? No, he just acts like an asshole lawyer. Yuchh. It's nice to have a gay character on the show, but he's a complete jerk. Let's hope he develops some gay balls in the future.

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