Monday, March 12, 2007

After Ellen: An Amazing 10 Years

Four of the 14 remaining contestants on The Amazing Race "All Stars" edition are gay men. Having four gay men at a single time on any mainstream American reality TV show has to be a first of some sort.

Remember when there would be one token gay on these reality shows and that was it?

What is really amazing is the increasing frequency of gay people on television in the last decade.

Ten years ago next month, April of 1997, Ellen Degeneres came out of the closet in Time magazine and also on her show Ellen. Then her ratings tanked. And then she couldn't even get arrested after her show was canceled.

And now she has a top-rated syndicated show and is hosting the Oscars.

Despite the best efforts of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, there is growing acceptance in this world for people like Mary Cheney and Karl Rove's gay father.

And Joe, and Bill, and Oswald, and Danny, and Ellen.

This type of progress in such a short time is extraordinary.

7 comments:

Michael said...

I breathed a sigh of relief last night watching Amazing Race as all 4 of "our brothers" made it to the pit stop on time.

I didn't know about Rove's father--INTERESTING!

Anonymous said...

Four gay men on one mainstream reality show, what about: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It was on both NBC and Bravo and the gay men on that show became celebrities.

... Joey P. said...

... I was talking about mainstream reality shows where homosexuality is not germaine to what the show is basically about, which is why I wouldn't have included some of the other gay reality shows such as "Gay, Straight or Taken" or "Boy Meets Boy." These shows, by their very design, have to include gay people because they have no show concept without gay people. The Amazing Race does not in any way revolve around sexuality and does not have to include gay contestants.

In a show where gay people do not have to play any part whatsoever, I can't recall another show with this level of gay casting. I think it's a very good thing.

Hopefully this is leading to a point where it's not even a consideration in casting -- no token gays, just interesting people, gay or straight. maybe?

thanks for the reminder about Queer Eye actually airing on NBC. I had forgotten.

Michael said...

Joey P--The other show that has that level of gay casting is Project Runway (not surprisingly). It, too, does not revolve around sexual orientation but has numerous gay contestants every season. Not to mention Tim Gunn, an openly gay man as a host and mentor.

... Joey P. said...

doh! ah, project runway. but of course.

tim gunn, by the way, is leaving PR for his own show, I hear.

Anonymous said...

But don't shows like Amazing Race actually detract from the goal you are hoping to accomplish. Here's my thinking, on Amazing Race you may be tuning in to watch your favorite team or you maybe watching to actually root against the gay team. Shows for Queer Eye are straightforward--the gays are the heroes. The more people watch shows that shed gays in a positive light the quicker the corner may be turned. People listen to Rush because they like him and others, because they hate him, I see that as the same as shows like the Amazing Race.

This reminds me of the recent Death of Captain America. Joe I'm sure you read the column in the WSJ yesterday about how Captain America evolved. He had to be a hero to his audience to sell comic books, isn't that how we have to portray certain "groups" in the media to win the hearts of Americans.

Maybe I'm wrong, either way progress is a good thing.

... Joey P. said...

Good comments, all.

The funny thing is, some gays watch these same shows because they are no fans of their fellows Mos on these shows.