We've come a long way. It appears gay story lines have become so commonplace that to make a show more unique an additional trait needs to be added to a gay character in order to gain viewer attention. That's the case with the sitcom Special, in which the gay lead character, Ryan, has cerebral palsy; the show premiered this April on Netflix. Ironically, revealing that he had CP is what causes Ryan angst, not the fact that he's gay. Because of its premise I was afraid it might be too treacly for my taste, but I found myself quickly charmed by it its lead and the show's light and breezy sensibility - with touches of drama added to the mix. Ryan has a wonderful shy smile and a quirky sense of humor. Each episode is just 15 minutes long, so, like a bag of potato chips, it was easy to watch Season One's eight episodes in one sitting. (Believe it or not, this was my first time binge-watching a show.) Two of the actors in leading roles are openly gay, Ryan McConnell (the show's creator, who plays Ryan) and Augustus Prew (Carey).
The show has somewhat of a Disney-fied sheen to it and brought to mind High School Musical in that it portrayed the world in an idealized way, e.g., Ryan is able to rent his own place in pricey LA despite having no income, the body-beautiful gay Hollywood boys are relatively friendly and approachable, and Ryan didn't seem to experience much discomfort the first time he had anal sex. Also, his mother begins dating the next-door neighbor, a retired fire fighter who looks like he walked off the Silver Daddies website.
Happily, the show was recognized by the Emmy Awards committee, getting three nominations in the Shortform Comedy or Drama category: Best Show and two nods for Best Actress (Jessica Hecht, who plays Ryan's mom, and Punam Patel, who plays his best friend from work).