As we reach the end of LGBT history month, Boar TV writers put forward some of their favourite LGBT shows; check them out if you haven’t already!
MTV may be best remembered for the endless music videos that were probably a bit inappropriate for any 90s kid but it’s now somehow become a hidden gem for television shows.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not pumping out the next Sopranos or X-Files. But I have found myself liking several shows like Awkward and Teen Wolf, which are aimed at a teenage audience but stand out with a diverse and memorable cast of characters, and by capturing the best bits of their respective genres: comedy and drama.
A newer show, Faking It, revolves around two best friends, Amy and Karma. The latter, being the less sensible of the two, makes the use of a misconception that their friendship is actually a relationship to gain popularity at their quirky high school. Because of this, hijinks ensue. However, the show focuses on identity in a new and refreshing way by not only considering showing the ups and downs of identifying as LGBT, but those caused by the labels we put on others and ourselves.
Modern Family is a mockumentary that follows the lives of, as you guessed: a family. In funny twenty-minute bursts some hard-hitting themes are tackled and leave you wanting to watch more…
Through Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) a variety of LGBT themes – such as less than approving parents – are evoked and dealt with well. Granted, the show can play on stereotypes but it also represents Mitch and Cam as rounded individuals with successful careers and varied interests – as with Cam, unstereotypically: American football.
The best thing Modern Family does through their focus on this particular gay couple is illustrate their ability to successfully raise their daughter Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons), proving the conservative patriarch Jay (Ed O’Neill) and some could say society, wrong. In fact, Mitch and Cam’s parenting skills sometimes surpass those of the more heteronormative pleasing characters. All in all, Modern Family manages to be thought provoking in a light-hearted way.
Orange is the New Black
Orange Is The New Black is a show which has garnered major pundits for its work on representation, and this certainly doesn’t stop with regards to its depiction of the LGBT community.
Characters such as Sophia (Laverne Cox) are crucial to this—not only is it hugely gratifying to actually see a trans actress in a trans role, the character doesn’t remain sidelined, but takes on a vital importance to the narrative. The show explores the realities of her family life on the outside — her relationship with her wife, and her son’s acceptance of her transition — and does so with nuance and emotional weight.
In any other fictional show dealing with the lives of inmates, Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) would probably have been left as nothing other than a clichéd stereotype of obsessive ‘prison wife’. Here, she is given prominence and emerges as one of the most moving characters of the ensemble.
If you want a show with complex, realistically written LGBT female leads who eschew stereotypes, you’ve come to the right place.
Centring on a group of four gay friends from San Francisco, HBOs Looking was originally heralded as the male version of Girls. Unfortunately, it never quite achieved the same level of success and found itself cancelled after just two seasons.
However, for those who were fans, it was an honest account of how being gay involves exactly the same troubles as heterosexual life, especially in regards to both romantic, but also platonic relationships.
That being said, Looking also tackled subjects such as HIV and parental reaction to sexuality; issues which are more prominent in the gay community. However, this was worked naturally into the storyline in an open, and entertaining way, as opposed to an explicit ‘this is what gay males have to deal with in life’ manner.
Despite its flaws and small reach, Looking was a step in the right direction in regards to sexuality becoming more commonplace on television.