What Is Gay TV?
By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/20/2005 7:00:00 PM
With the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the phrase “gay sensibility” has been working overtime in the entertainment business. But what does it really mean?
A television program such as Nip/Tuck might have a gay sensibility even if it isn't primarily focused on gay themes and characters, says openly gay writer, director and producer Randy Barbato. But a show such as FX's The Shield, which features a main character who struggles with his sexual identity, doesn't necessarily have a gay sensibility, he adds.
World of Wonder Productions, the company Barbato runs with business partner Fenton Bailey, often produces projects that focus on gay topics (the documentary Gay Republicans, for instance) or have a gay sensibility without a gay subject matter (two films about Tammy Faye Bakker).
But Barbato says that even he finds the sensibility question difficult to define. “It's like that Supreme Court ruling on pornography: I know it when I see it.”
These days it is much more likely to be seen—and acknowledged—than in the past—as in the 1970s, when Paul Lynde could camp up Hollywood Squares without anyone ever quite approaching the subject directly.
“What used to essentially be the secret and subtext is now the subject and the text,” says Linda Voorhees, a professor at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television.
For further deconstruction, see below.
|Text or subtext or no text? This whole gay-sensibility thing can be very confusing. Here is a roadmap to help sort out programming across the years.|
|Desperate Housewives||Law & Order|
|The Swan||Extreme Makeover Home Edition: How'd They Do That?|
|Friends||Everybody Loves Raymond|
|America's Next Top Model||The Apprentice|
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