A review of the new CBS comedy The McCarthys appearing in the Los Angeles Times last week praised the characters as "affectionate" and highlighted actor Tyler Ritter. He is the son of the late sitcom star John Ritter, and longtime television critic Robert Lloyd singled him out for his warmth and for his prowess playing a gay character leading a network comedy created by a gay man.
Friends of Ritter and his representatives and the cast, crew, and network were pleased with such a glowing review of their new show. The only glitch was that he originally described Ritter as gay.
And he's not.
"It was simple conflation of research on a deadline," Lloyd told The Advocate. He said that in the crunch, he confused Ritter's orientation with that of creator Brian Gallivan, who is described as gay.
"Having that in my head, mixed with the fact that in 2014 it is more likely -- though of course not necessary -- that gay characters are played by gay actors. I had no source that identified Tyler Ritter as gay, nor have seen any since," Lloyd said. He added, "It was a case of misremembering, a mistake."
Fortunately for Lloyd and the Times, there was no fallout or outrage over what is, essentially, nothing more than a mistake that has since been corrected. The irony in all this, of course, is that Ritter's father came to fame as a straight actor playing a straight character pretending to be gay so he could live with two women in the 1970s sitcom Three's Company.
Lloyd told The Advocate that thought was on his mind as he wrote the review: "We have come a long way since Three's Company, Ritter's father's sitcom, in which a fake gay character was played outrageously for laughs. That much, at least, is true." (John Ritter also played an important not-fake gay character in the 1996 film Sling Blade.)
Upon learning of Lloyd's mistake, editors at the Times corrected the copy in the review online and added a one-sentence paragraph calling attention to that fix, topped with the words "For the Record."