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Op-ed: Who Killed ? 

Op-ed: Who Killed ? 


Although Fox has yet to release the final official word, everyone in TV land is calling Allen Gregory, the once-promising but mostly awful Fox comedy about an overbearing gay man, a cuckolded bisexual man, a precocious brat, and an adopted Asian girl, is all but canceled.

And, as sorry as I am to say it, this is one instance in which gays are most likely happy to see the TV landscape losing LGBT characters.

I wanted to like Allen Gregory. I really did. I watch the Fox animated block on Sunday nights like it's a mandatory weekly church gathering (trust me, The Simpsons is a religion in our house). I like the irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, and often offensive humor of the shows on it: Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and, yes, even The Cleveland Show sometimes (but if they don't stop with the fat hysteria that love affair may end too).

Those four TV shows are the creation of two men -- Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane -- and naysayers often argue that any show without their stamp of approval faces damnation on Fox's Sunday night. They may be right, although Fox canceled Groening's queerish animated hit Futurama (which was later picked up by Comedy Central) and, ironically, its current cash cow Family Guy (which was axed in 2002 and resurrected in 2004 after DVD money started rolling in).

While those shows rile us sometimes, they've also been kind of sweet to queers, offering up storylines about same-sex marriage, transgender parents, and coming out to your friends in midlife. There are laughs at our expense but also an awareness that we exist and in the end are much like everyone else on the shows. Allen Gregory promised to do even more, with a storyline that included a precocious and effete grade-school kid (voiced by Jonah Hill, the guy who had a man crush on Russell Brand in Forgetting Sarah Marshall) going to public school for the first time. Allen Gregory had two dads: Richard (voiced by French Stewart, who once romanced Phil Hartman as a hetero-flexible alien in Third Rock From the Sun) and Jeremy (Nat Faxon, who voices a few characters on The Cleveland Show), and a sister who was adopted from Cambodia (played by Joy Osmanski, who is also adopted and Asian in real life, so I'm at least glad she's getting work).

Julie and Jeremy are the only characters on the show that are not 100% horrific. Gay dad Richard is predatory, cruel, demanding, spoiled, unintelligent, and ridiculously entitled -- and so is the kid. When Jeremy discusses how the two men got together, he says Richard didn't let anything stand in his way: "Me being straight as an arrow, my wife and kids, the restraining orders, they were irrelevant. In the end he got what he wanted." A later episode has Richard forcing Allen's school to throw a mandatory same-sex dance to combat homophobia and going "straight" for Allen's bio-mom, and in another Allen Gregory explains how gay men have babies (complete with the phrase, "When two men love each other one man puts his stork inside the other man's storkhole"). Through it all, Allen Gregory treats his bisexual dad, Jeremy, like a service worker.

It all could be funny, but sadly it wasn't, because those storylines are just cringe-inducing moments in a show where the gay characters are either treated to a flood of verbal abuse or they're doing such evil things you want to look at the production credits and see if Anita Bryant runs the show. Sadly, while there's much to say about Allen Gregory not being PC, the problem isn't that it's not PC; it's that it's just not funny. I can handle jokes about AIDS, subversive queer recruiting, and sexual harassment, but only if they're funny as hell. Allen Gregory just isn't. And most of these actors -- and the entirety of the LGBT viewing audience -- deserves better.

What will surely be the Allen Gregory series finale airs December 18 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. If there's any justice in the world, they'll kill the kid off, a la Jenny on The L Word, and Stewart and Hill et al can go make some real queer comedy.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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