Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Law and Order: SVU Hits Rock Bottom

You know I've complained that I'd like to see an honest-to-goodness gay activist on one of the Law and Order programs, but what they gave us instead on last night's Law and Order: SVU [3/3/10] was anything but.

Comedienne Kathy Griffin [who seems to have latched onto the LGBT community as some sort of audience niche] played Babs Duffy, supposedly a lesbian activist who heads a group with a cute name. Although she is criticized by another character for concentrating on lesbians instead of the whole LGBT spectrum,- -- what's wrong with that; I mean, she is a lesbian [more on that later] -- she snidely snaps at Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) when they say they support the LGBT community: "That's L G B T Q I A community!" [Yes, the Q is for questioning, the I is for intersexed, and the A is not for Asexual but for Allies. Stabler remarks that he just isn't up on his political correctness and I could have kissed him, even though Meloni is not my type.]

So right away we're getting inconsistencies. But it gets worse.

Babs is all worked up because she believes an unknown man is targeting lesbians. It turns out that she's right. But one of the first suspects is actually the lesbian lover of the first victim; she is a very tough, aggressive, and violent lady. The show's recurring gay character, the nice Asian-American psychiatrist, of course explains that the gay/lesbian community is just as diverse as any other community -- very good point -- and this rather butch brutal lesbian is only one type of gay gal.

It's good that this point is made because the show also has one lesbian saying "we don't hang out with a lot of men," and completely ignoring the male Stabler, when most of the lesbians I've met not only don't ignore men but have many loving male friends.

Meanwhile Babs, who's so concerned about this investigation, bothers to stop to sort of flirt with the pretty D.A., and even comes on to Detective Benson.

But wouldn't you know there's a Law and Order twist, which might have looked good on paper but is just disastrous. The strident, ever-so-lesbian Babs has actually been dating a man for the past few months and told no one. Seems that at about age forty-five she realized she was also attracted to the opposite sex. She's realized that she's actually bisexual.

At age forty-five?

I mean, she never noticed that she found some men attractive long before that? Are we to believe that? True, she may have spent most of her time with women in her adult years, but surely she hung out with some guys in high school and college. Surely she saw men in magazine and TV ads. I mean, come on!

I'm sure the writer -- a guy named Daniel Truly [truly you jest!] thought this was very clever and all pc and hip bisexual and all that -- but it's also remarkably stupid.

People may repress their homosexuality -- but their heterosexuality! I doubt it. If Babs came to realize -- rightly or wrongly -- that she was bisexual, why wouldn't she have re-invented herself as a bisexual activist long before this? I mean, they do exist after all.

It's almost as if they were reinventing that awful old cliche: a woman is only a "dyke" until she meets the right man -- giving it a pc "bi" twist. But it still comes off as Godawful!

Realism was sacrificed for the all-important twist, but Truly could have delivered the twist and saved himself from severe script embarrassment in a very simple manner. Suppose Babs had been romancing this guy not because she was bisexual, but because she suspected he was the killer and wanted to get inside his head or something along those lines. Sure, when she finds out the killer is targeting her she's understandably "petrified," but she also comes off as a pretty tough broad. In any case, the show could have come up with a more believable explanation for why she was involved with this mysterious fellow.

At least Truly resisted making Babs straight. Just as we've now got imbeciles claiming that some guys who seek out sex with men [outside of prison, mind you] are really straight, I figure it's only a matter of time before there will be dumb-nuts claiming that some women who seek out gals to have sex with are really hetero as well.

Now I have met a few obnoxious gay activists in my day, and I have certainly met a few totally obnoxious bi-identified women, but Babs -- lesbian or bi -- gets the prize for one of the most obnoxious activists of any stripe ever. In her belligerence [it is suggested she acts like a nasty "dyke" to cover up her craving for men or some such stupidity] she comes off more like a caricature than a real person. I don't think Griffin will be getting a Emmy for this portrayal; in any case she doesn't deserve one as her performance is only average.

Even more annoying is that the publicity for the show claimed that Griffin shared a kiss with Mariska Hargitay. Never happened. Instead Griffin -- as Babs -- locked lips with Christopher Meloni and asked male Detective Stabler to call her for a date.

So this is Law and Order's idea of a "lesbian activist!"

Were there changes made to the script? Did supposedly gay-friendly Griffin ultimately balk at the idea of playing a "dyke" and prefer to go "bi" instead, sharing a kiss with the male detective instead of the female? [Frankly a kiss between Babs and Olivia Benson would have been ridiculous, as Benson has never been depicted as either gay or bi in all these years, but did they have to go to the other extreme instead?]

At least the script had enough sensitivity -- if you could call it that -- for Babs to realize that many of her followers would feel betrayed [it wasn't clear if she had a lesbian lover or not, who would especially feel betrayed on more than one level] and it didn't go so far as to make them out to be "biphobic" bigots, although who knows what would have happened had there been enough time to go into all of the ramifications. Like I've said before, the fast-moving Law and Order programs throw all sorts of things and issues out at the viewer but never take time -- never have time -- to explore these issues in any great depth.

In any case, middle-aged gays who "suddenly" realize that they're attracted to the opposite sex are generally just unhappy people who want to go straight -- they are not militant lesbian activists who simply took, like, half of their lives to realize they were really bi! The very idea is not only ludicrous but idiotic; even offensive.

So I'm still waiting for a real gay activist to show up on Law and Order.

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