9/09/2011

The Big C and Gays

I should probably subtitle this: "Or does Laura Linney still think it's 1976 in San Francisco?"

I know, Laura Linney has nothing to do with the writing or production of the Showtime series, The Big C, but it still strikes me as weird that the gays on the show and gay culture on the show seems to be stuck in the Castro in 1976, the era of her miniseries "Tales from the City."

I'll be honest, I love the show. I loved it from episode one. I love the characters with all their ups and downs and virtues and foibles. I love John Benjamin Hickey as Cathy's bi-polar brother who chose a life of homelessness to thumb his nose at society. I love that even dirty and scruffy JBH still is sexy and interesting. I love Oliver Platt as Cathy's hapless hubby, Paul, who tries his best but always seems to be just slightly behind the eight ball. I just genuinely like the show.

But, they decided to add a gay character, Lee, played by the very handsome Hugh Dancy. Nothing wrong with that, three cheers in fact! I'll even give them applause for not making him a mincing little queen as so often happens on other more "enlightened" shows. Unfortunately, the gay character seems to live in the 1970's.

Hugh Dancy and Laura Linney in "The Big C" on Showtime.
In one episode he takes Cathy and Paul to a gay bar. This is 2011 and yet the bar is seedy and dark with a "back room" where people can go for a quick anonymous and very public sex. Really? I haven't set foot in a gay bar in about 16 years or so, but even then the days of the "back room" were pretty much gone. In fact, I can only think of a few bars back then that were that seedy (I'm thinking the Eagle in Atlanta, mainly.)

If that weren't bad enough a few episodes later Cathy is helping Lee with his "bucket list" and decides to let him cop a feel of her breasts. After all, we all know that secretly every gay man wants him some titty from his female best friend. Honestly, that was as annoying as anything. I'm so tired of the gay character who secretly wants to bed the female lead. That is, if he's not the mincing stereotypical queen. The mincing stereotypical queen is shown to be 100% gay while the more masculine gay is always shown as having some sort of secret longing for a heterosexual life or at least heterosexual sex. What's the deal with that?

Do the writers for the show think that if a gay man is somewhat masculine then he can't be a "real" gay man? Do they equate masculinity with the Kinsey Scale (another irony since Linney played Kinsey's wife in the movie of the same name)? I really wish someone in Hollywood would explain.

I'm still watching The Big C and will tune in again next season unless something really odious happens in the remaining episode or two. But, seriously, guys - can't we get past the "gays are sex fiends" and "masculine gay men secretly want women" thing? After all it IS 2011!

1 comment:

Troy said...

I agree with you 100% the latest season has gotten worse for the layer season. I'm talking about the brothers gay sex phone venture. It's funny to me as a gay man but I stop laughing and think to myself is it ok to use this raunchy caricature of gay persona with out balancing out a decent portrayal of a gay person.

I love the show and it's a complex plot so I'm not super angry they haven inserted a decent non stereotypical gay character. But I would love the show better if there was a positive non stereotypical portrayal of a gay character doing something good or possibly making the right moral decision

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