Entertainment » Culture

Bisexuals on television :: a lopsided trend

by Padraic Maroney
Monday Feb 1, 2010

The number of LGBT characters on television has always been a problem - they have yet to reflect a number and diversity they have in the real world. But an even bigger problem is there lack of sexuality, especially with gay male characters. They may crack one-liners and be everyone’s BFF, but what happens in the bedroom, stays in the bedroom.

There are exceptions -- Queer as Folk pushed the envelope and the British series Torchwood continues to; but QAF was premium channel programming and Torchwood is from the BBC, notorious for adventurous adult programming. Here in the States things are different. Even on a seemingly progressive show like Desperate Housewives, the token gay couple - who weren’t even introduced until the fourth season - has rarely, if ever, talked about their relationship, let alone be seen in any intimate scenes. Unlike, of course, Eva Longoria Parker’s romps with hottie Jesse Metcalfe during the first season that established the show’s openness towards (heterosexual) hi-jinxs.

About the time that Housewives introduced Bob and Lee to Wisteria Lane, an interesting trend began to emerge across the networks: the emergence of the bisexual, specifically women who like women and men. And while two gay men can’t kiss on television without it appearing that the End Days are upon us (witness the response to the proposed Superbowl Mancrunch.com ad), women are seen locking lips in full close-up.

Authentic inclusion or cop-out?

House features Olivia Wilde as Dr. Hadley, also affectionately known as 13. Melrose Place has Katie Cassidy as Ella Simms. Grey’s Anatomy has Callie (Sara Ramirez), who has dated both men and women. But while these characters are welcome, the unevenness of the male to female ratio of bisexual characters is lopsided - there are virtually no bisexual male characters.

With such a difference, the question begs to be asked - is the integration of bisexual characters into network television an authentic inclusion based on story needs or is it a cop out to have an LGBT character who is less threatening because they’re not exclusively gay? Story continues on following page.

Watch Olivia Wilde’s kiss on House.


  • Bill Blazak, 2010-02-01 14:28:20

    ’"I think it’s high time people start to get used to alternative lifestyles on television," she continued.’ With all due respect, screw you. Television is entertainment and if nobody is entertained by watching two queens smooching, then nobody is going to watch it. Since when does entertainment have to push some group’s social agenda just because they want it to. We gay people are just going to have to put on our big boy pants someday and realize that tens of millions of straights just aren’t that into us. God, then whining of the homosexual left is endless and embarrassing to the rest of us.

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