By Ari Karpel
Originally published on Advocate.com September 16 2011 4:00 AM ET
TV doesn’t get much more LGBT-friendly than it’s been lately, what with Neil Patrick Harris’s Tony Awards hosting gig (“It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore”), a gay athlete at the center of MTV’s Teen Wolf, and True Blood’s ongoing lesbian sex scenes and “God Hates Fangs” metaphor. Then there’s the trans kid on Degrassi, gay and bisexual characters on Glee, Happily Divorced, Happy Endings, Modern Family, The Good Wife, and the baker’s dozen of gays and lesbians on recent seasons of Top Chef. And yet the networks’ fall lineup is light on gay and trans characters on scripted shows, through no fault of new gay NBC chief Robert Greenblatt, whose channel will be notably queerer this fall. Still, half the season’s new homosexuals are closeted — perhaps suggesting Americans’ latent desire to return to simpler times (simpler for straight people, that is), or maybe Hollywood just needs more cause for drama. We think Paula Abdul said it best: Two steps forward, two steps back.
A Texas-set campfest from Robert Harling, who wrote Steel Magnolias, and Darren Star, who created Melrose Place, would have to have a few queers under its 10-gallon hat. In addition to featuring Kristin Chenoweth at her bedazzled, Bible-thumping best, the pilot reveals that one belle’s husband is secretly a gay rancher. Allen Gregory, Fox, October 30
Fox’s newest addition to its Sunday night animated lineup was created by Superbad star Jonah Hill, who also voices 7-year-old Allen. The precocious boy has effete tastes, cultivated by his gay dad, who has until now homeschooled him but is busy with his new life partner. So Allen is finally attending public school, and they don’t know what they’re in for. The Playboy Club, NBC, September 19
A drama about the standard-bearer of straight male fantasies has a surprisingly subversive underbelly: Its straight lead is played by bisexual Amber Heard, and one of the other iconic bunny characters and her husband are both closeted and members of the homo-pioneering Mattachine Society. In other words, the show romanticizes objectification of women while pulling back the curtain on a little-known piece of gay history.