Homosexuality: TV's Crusade Continues
by L. Brent Bozell III
During its 1995-'96 season, prime time television tried as
never before to legitimize the homosexual lifestyle. Gay characters were
featured on three debuting series (NBC's "The Pursuit of Happiness,"
CBS's "High Society," and Fox's "The Crew"). A homosexual
man on Fox's "Melrose Place" fought and won a
workplace-discrimination lawsuit. Two men tied the knot on ABC's
"Roseanne." One week last fall, NBC's entire "Must See TV"
lineup -- "Frasier," "Friends," "The Single
Guy," and "Seinfeld" -- featured storylines of straights
mistaken for gays.
Lesbian storylines were prevalent, too. A February episode
of "Friends" featured the wedding of two women raising the child one
had with her ex-husband. In March, Fox's "Living Single" discussed,
but did not depict, another lesbian wedding. One episode of CBS's
"Chicago Hope" revolved around lesbian lovers having a doctor
artificially inseminate one of them.
The networks are rolling out their '96-'97 lineups, and this
year the lesbian wave has a militant attitude to boot. On the season premiere
of NBC's "Mad About You," Debbie's new live-in lover, Joan, is
introduced to Debbie's parents, who quickly accept her as
"essentially" a member of the family. The morality of Joan and
Debbie's relationship is irrelevant, beneath discussion.
When homosexuality is debated, as in ABC's movie "Two
Mothers for Zachary," one side is glorified, the other vilified. The
protagonist is Jody Ann, a divorcee with a young son, who moves in with her
lover, Maggie. Jody Ann's mother, objecting strongly to this arrangement,
seeks custody of Zachary.
Jody Ann is presented as a noble crusader for justice. When
Maggie considers moving out for fear her presence will hurt Jody Ann in her
custody battle, Jody Ann responds, "I'm supposed to set a good example
for [Zachary], right? Make the world a better place, all that crap. What am I
teaching him if I don't stand up for myself, for what I believe in?...If she
wants a fight, let's just give it to her! I love you! You got a problem with
that?" With that, the women kiss and embrace. All the while, Jody Ann's
mother is the bigot, given to pronouncements on the order of, "As long as
you're with [Maggie], you're not my daughter."
But the big news concerning prime time lesbianism, and what
has made headlines all over the country, is truly bizarre. It deals with the
possible coming-out of Ellen DeGeneres' title character on ABC's
"Ellen" because it is speculated that DeGeneres in real life is
homosexual and may be making that declaration. Since when should the latter
dictate the former? And they said Dan Quayle couldn't distinguish fiction from
reality when he attacked Murphy Brown!
DeGeneres and the show's creative staff apparently favor the
coming-out. According to John Carmody of the Washington Post, Disney, which
produces the show and owns ABC, the network airing it, has reportedly said it
would consider ideas for a new series "with a major gay character."
A column by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Gail Shister fueled
the fire with this lead: "Come out, come out, wherever you are, Ellen
Morgan." The four people -- two actors, two producers -- interviewed for
the piece, Shister eventually acknowledges, are "all openly gay."
Not acknowledged in the column: Shister's activism in the National Lesbian and
Gay Journalists' Association.
Naturally, Ellen's coming-out is being encouraged by the Gay
and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). "The Ellen character
coming out would be a fantastic thing," said a GLAAD spokesman.
"This would help to normalize [homosexuality] for millions of
It is the stated objective of some of the most prominent
players in Hollywood to do just that. This is no hushed conspiracy; it is a
loudly proclaimed fact. In a nine-page spread in the May issue of Los Angeles
magazine, the headline said it all: "More Than 'Friends': You may not
have noticed, but your favorite sitcoms are written by gays and lesbians. As
outsiders in the mainstream, they're redefining prime time -- and sex on
television will never be the same."
The article backs it up with interviews from countless
sitcom writers, maintaining that there "are openly gay and lesbian
writers on almost every major prime time situation comedy you can think of,
including 'Friends,' 'Seinfeld,' 'Murphy Brown,' 'Roseanne,' 'Mad About You,'
'The Nanny,' 'Wings,' 'The Single Guy,' 'Caroline in the City,' 'Coach,'
'Dave's World,' [and] 'Boston Common.'" As the writer of the article,
David Ehrenstein, points out, "The gay and lesbian TV writers of today
have been pushing the envelope every chance they get. In fact, they're
encouraged to do so."
Remember that when next your children turn on the
television. If you are trying to teach them that the homosexual lifestyle is
decadent and immoral, understand that television is telling them just the
opposite -- and telling you to go fly a kite.
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