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Ryan Murphy, the Glee co-creator who seemingly never stops talking or revealing plot points from upcoming episodes, turned vicious against a rival network show yesterday. He didn't name names, but I think you can guess who he's criticizing in the below quote (via Greg in Hollywood):
“I hate it on TV shows, and there’s one show that I won’t name right now, where it’s like ‘Why aren’t these character kissing? Don’t they have a child?’ That’s ridiculous to me. I don’t understand it.”
He's referring, of course, to Modern Family, which has been roundly (and properly) criticized for featuring a gay couple as lead characters but never allowing them any physical affection, even a kiss. Fans took notice earlier this year and started the Facebook group titled Let Cam & Mitchell Kiss On Modern Family, and the show's creators have basically responded with a "wait and see what we have in store for next season." It was a dodge, but an acceptable one, since now that the show is a hit we can assume the writers and actors will have more room to push the envelope and force its fans to acknowledge that, well, two men raising a child together probably make out once in a while.
Had Murphy stopped there I'd probably be on board with him, but he then went on to gloat about how "as a gay man" he'd never do that on Glee, and promote an upcoming kiss between Brittany and Santana that's supposedly a direct reaction to Modern Family's prudishness:
“If I did it on my show, I would just have them do it in every scene and not have a big deal about it. I don’t think that you have to announce a very special episode. Weren’t they doing it back on Roseanne? It is just so outdated and archaic to me and as a gay man, I would never do that. I would make it very organic and do it several times and not make it a stunt.”
Pardon my language, but fuck Ryan Murphy. It's remarkably short-sighted of him to claim that a kiss between hot young cheerleaders-- cheerleaders who have also slept with male characters on the show-- is as progressive as one between two older gay men. Surely he's not so obtuse he doesn't know we're a society that embraces Girls Gone Wild and Lindsay Lohan's dabble with lesbianism but yelps "No homo!" at the sight of men hugging.
In fact, I know he's not that obtuse-- he's created a gay character, Kurt, who has yet to have a romance beyond a doomed crush on straight Finn. Murphy has couched immense theatricality and camp-- things typically associated with gay culture-- within a show obsessed with heterosexual romance. Glee is the TV equivalent of the "gay best friend as accessory" trend among teen girls-- a way to accept gays into the mainstream without having to deal with all the "icky" sex stuff. Glee may be more flamboyant than Modern Family, but its reluctance to show any actual gay relationships-- and no, Brittany and Santana making out does not count-- makes it about as progressive as innuendo exchanged between Rock Hudson and Doris Day.
I don't blame Murphy for wanting to start shit with Modern Family-- they're stealing his oh-so-progressive spotlight, and on a rival network to boot-- but he's being ridiculously disingenuous here. Glee's Kurt and Modern Family's Cam and Mitchell are all important steps forward for the inclusion of realistic gay characters on television, but all three are so far utterly sexless. Sit tight in your glass house, Mr. Murphy, until you prove you're actually willing to cross that line.