Television shows can generally be addicting, but in recent years, one that really comes to mind in the LGBT community is “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. The show has become a cultural phenomenon, with millions tuning in each week to see who shantays, and who sashays away. Whereas this show has been a vital movement in the media presence of LGBT over the past decade, I have to wonder why this is the only damn show on television right now where the entire cast is gay, and not just a supporting character, IE “Modern Family”.
Think about it, seriously. LGBT have been a primary focus as television characters for years, but for the most part, the amount of shows where we are the majority is slim considering the choices that are out there. Yes, we had big shows in “Will & Grace”, “Queer as Folk”, “The L Word”, and even (gulp), “Looking”, but it seems the only show that really gets our heart rates going and social media ablaze lately is RPDR. And it is a reality show, nonetheless. This isn’t taking anything away from RuPaul and the brand she has developed with this show, it is just odd that we have such intelligent LGBT writers out there and we can’t seem to find anything cohesive to put on a major or minor network. Isn’t LOGO a gay network? Why is everything on there a consistent rerun of The Golden Girls or Designing Women, or a corny game show with past Drag Race contestants and judges?
Granted, we do live in a world where opinions are a lot more seen and rampant nowadays, especially with the ever growing presence of social media. Take for instance, “Looking”, which was practically destroyed before the show even got on the air. Granted, I had a lot of doubts as the show went on, but it did have a ton of great points to it that I enjoyed in each episode. It was pulled after two seasons due to low ratings, but at the same time was almost matching what “Girls” did, and they are going strong until they finish in 2017. Was it because the audience was too niche for a major network like HBO overall, or was the public backlash from our community so strong that it made the people behind the show worry about its creative future?
I’m fully aware that major networks like CBS and ABC have reservations in making an all LGBT type show, as the conservative backlash would outshine the show itself, but there has to be another network that would be willing to take a chance. We have made such progression over the past decade, with gay marriage being legalized throughout the country, as well as many other facets, that can easily translate into a prime time series, whether it is comedy or drama. Our focal TV tune in shouldn’t be reserved for 3-4 months a year to watch drag queens compete for a crown. As great as that is, there has to be something else on the creative spectrum that we can all watch together and have lively debates about shortly after it is over. I fail to understand why this hasn’t happened yet.
I still think casting gay men and women as the funny supporting characters have some great points, but in the end they are just there to provide comic humor and not much else. The storyline is barely developed and we hardly see them come together outside of coming into wherever the scene is shooting, making their silly jokes, and heading out.
I look at Bravo, who consistently recycles franchises like “The Real Housewives”, “Top Chef”, amongst others, and it is dwindling down into the same format over and over again, to where the repetitiveness of the shows become boring and have nothing great about them. Seeing though, as they have had success with “Girlfriends Guide To Divorce”, their first scripted series, why can’t there be a gay version of that? “Transparent”, which is a fantastic show taken out of this, there really is nothing else on the scripted side. A zillion networks, hours upon hours of programming. We gotta get something together in order to make this work.