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Recapping 2020's Oscar Telecast: Not So Gay

Stage at 2020 oscars

 

According to Nielsen 62% of the viewers to 2020's Academy Awards telecast were women, so since the Oscars are considered the gay Super Bowl should I infer that the remaining 38% were gay men?  The rating for the telecast dropped 20% from last year (6 million fewer viewers).  Perhaps it was due to the alienation of two viewing groups - those who were upset over the under representation of women and blacks in key awards categories, and those who become tired of the constant harping about this under-representation. 

 

Besides a dearth of women and blacks in the major awards categories, the same absence seem to apply to those of the LGBTQ persuasion. Unlike the previous three years (when we had Green Mile; Bohemian Rhapsody; The Favourite; Call Me By Your Name; and Moonlight), there were no Best Picture nominations with gay themes.  Furthermore, there weren't a lot of gay "moments" in general during the telecast.  So what gay moments were there?  

  • Janelle Monae shouting out that she's queer
  • Elton John performing and winning Best Original Song
  • A Verizon Wireless commercial with a coming out theme
  • Billy Porter in all his fabulosity  
  • Judy, the movie about Judy Garland, won the Oscar for Best Actress

 

And now for some highlights/observations:

 

  • As Janelle Monae made her on-stage entrance at the start of the show, she noticed that the middle button on her blouse had come undone and buttoned it as she sang without giving it a second thought.

 

Janelle monae's popped button

Janelle monae

 

  • Mindy Kaling and Kristen Anderson-Lopez stood out in their vibrantly colored gowns in yellow and green.

 

2020 oscars mindy kaling

 Kristen anderson-lopez at 2020 oscars

 

  • Bradley Cooper usually attends the event with his mother so I was curious about the fellow sitting next to him, but was unable to find any mention of him in news reports the next day.  It seems the only Bradley Cooper chatter was about him being in the presence of his ex, Renee Zellweger.

 

Bradley cooper and mystery man at 2020 oscars

 

  • I chuckled when I saw Diane Keaton's coat because it was similar to a lost glove I spotted on a fence in my neighborhood a few weeks ago.

 

2020 oscars_diane keaton and keanu reaves

 Lost glove

  • Timothee Chalamet "owned" his offbeat formal wear.

 

 2020 oscars timothee chalmet

 

  • Taika Waititi, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for Jo Jo Rabbit got my Oscar for Sexiest Man On Stage, with Oscar Isaac a close second, and Mahershala Ali third.

 

2020 oscars taika waititi

 

  • Disney chairman Bob Iger was in the audience, but may have been upstaged by another attendee, Amazon's Jeff Bezos.  (However, Iger's seat was much farther forward.)

 

Jeff bezos at 2020 oscars

  Bob iger at 2020 oscars

 

  • Did anyone else think that female conductor, Eimear Noone, bore a striking resemblance to actress Leslie Mann?

 

2020 oscars eimar noone conductor

 Leslie mann

 

  • A touching commercial from Verizon Wireless aired in the middle of the telecast.  It featured a young guy who said that he couldn't talk about his homosexuality face to face with his family, but after moving to New York his mother signed the family up for Group Chat, and now the things they couldn't say to each other in person were a lot easier to say when sent in a text.  He closed his story with, "I've never lived further away from my family, but I've never felt more connected to them."

 

Verizon wireless gay son

.

  • It was ironic that the best thing about the movie Rocketman, the performance of the actor who portrayed Elton John (Taron Egerton), was overlooked for an Oscar nomination, yet its bland song won the Oscar for Best Original Song for Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

 

Elton john and bernie taupin at 2020 oscars

 

  • Last week I was enthralled by the stunning 50-year-old J-Lo as she performed her physically demanding halftime routine at the Super Bowl, and a week later 82-year old Jane Fonda looked equally stunning as she closed out the ceremonies.  But why did she bring her coat with her - was coat check full?

 

2020 oscars jane fonda

 

Now, some final comments ...

 

  • King & Queen of the prom.

 

Scarlett johanssen and colin jost

 

  • Regal ...

Cynthia erivo  2020 oscars

 

  • Elton must have had a spare pair of eyeglasses.

  Billy porter at 2020 oscars

 

  • Where have you gone, Dolores Claiborne?

 

Kathy bates at 2020 oscars

 

  • The most touching moment of the night was actress Diane Ladd's reaction upon hearing the name of her daughter, Laura Dern, as winner of Best Supporting Actress.

 

Diane ladd and laura dern

 

 

  • Greta Gerwig vied with Mindy Kaling for most exquisite necklace.

  Greta gerwig at 2020 oscars

 

  • And lastly, as Salma Hayek so amusingly put it, she finally got to hold an Oscar on onstage.

 Selma and oscar 2020 oscars

 

 

 


Remembering '30 Rock's' Gay Characters: Devon, and Jonathan, and D'Fwan - Oh My!

 

Jack and devon 30 rock

 

NBC's madcap sitcom 30 Rock aired for seven seasons (2006-2013) and won the Emmy for Best Sitcom in each of its first three seasons.  Starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, the show's cast of characters were neurotic and quirky New Yorkers, all of whom worked on a weekly sketch-comedy show that was similar to SNL.  And like any worthwhile show, a number of its characters were gay.  There were three:  Devon Banks, who was a thorn in Donaghy's side (Donaghy was played to perfection by Baldwin); Jonathan, Jack's highly protective executive assistant; and gay stylist/reality star D'Fwan.  Jack was the alpha male and the three were often in a tizzy over him.

 

DEVON BANKS - Jack Donaghy's arch-nemesis (played by Will Arnett) was always trying to usurp Jack's leadership position at the NBC-like conglomerate. There was a lot of sexual tension between the two, and their fast-paced dialogue was full of hilarious double entendres (enhanced by Devon's breathy voice).  My favorite is when Devon, during a heated discussion, tells Jack that "you're going down" and Jack responds, "No, Devon, I don't do that".  Devon's partner's name was Cashmere (he was never seen).

 

Devon banks played by will arnett

 

JONATHAN - Jack's fiercely loyal executive assistant, who Devon once referred to as "that fancy little fellow".  He brought to mind Mr. Burns' second in command, Smithers, on The Simpsons.  Although he was usually shown in the background at his desk and had a few lines each episode, he had the most screen time of the three gay characters.  (He was played by openly-gay actor Maulik Pancholy).

 

Jonathan  jack donaghy's assistant on 30 rock
 

D'FWAN -  In the show's final season, D'Fwan became the star of his eponymous reality show (played by Titus Burgess, who later became well known for his role as Titus Andromedon on Netflix's The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).  Convinced that Jack was closeted, D'fwan changed his mind when he saw him dance.

 

Dfwan 30 rock

 

OTHER GAY TOUCHES

KENNETH PARCELL - An NBC page from Georgia, he was more or less asexual, and is perhaps the 'Q' in LGBTQ (aka "questioning").  In one episode Jack used Kenneth to try to seduce Devon, who had a crush on Kenneth.

 

Kenneth 30 rock

 

COLEEN DONAGHY - Jack's hyper-critical, self-centered, mom was played by gay icon Elaine Stritch.  Another icon, Patti LuPone, appeared in one episode as the mother of one of the writers.

 

Elaine stritch 30 rock

 

LIZ LEMON (Tina Fey's character) - In one episode Liz, fed up with her poor track record with men, tried to be a lesbian but was rebuffed by one she had befriended.

 

30-rock-season-1-3-blind-date-liz-lemon-stephanie-march-tina-fey-lesbian

 

GRETA JOHANSSEN - As played by SNL alum Rachel Dratch, Greta was an all-business cat wrangler who had a crush on Liz.

 

Rachel dratch 30 rock

 


Some TV Game Shows That Trigger My Gay Sensibilities

Devin goda price is right

 

Although my viewing of game shows is limited to the times when I'm visiting my mother, I find them mildly entertaining, especially The Price Is Right, Jeopardy, Let's Make a Deal and Wheel of Fortune.  Perhaps it's because they serve up a steady diet of eye candy, whether it's the on-screen "talent" or the contestants. It's a very different viewing environment from when I was a child.  Unlike the boyhood crushes I had on some of the actors from shows in primetime, hosts of game shows in the '60s and '70s were a rather bland lot, such as Jeopardy's Art Fleming, Dick Clark from The $20,000 Pyramid, Hugh Downs from Concentration, or The Match Game's Gene Rayburn.  (Let's Make a Deal's Monty Hall was the closest to being a bit cute.) 

 

Art fleming _jeopardy
Art Fleming

 

So what is it about the game shows I watch, that arouse my gay sensibilities?  Read on ...

 

LET'S MAKE A DEAL - Of the four shows, Deal's host Wayne Brady is the sexiest (with or without eyeglasses).  As for the rest of the show, I have no interest.

 

Wayne brady let's make a deal

 

THE PRICE IS RIGHT - In the fall of 2012 the show began featuring male showcase models.  The ones I've seen are Rob, James and Devin.  Occasionally they appear bare chested, but even fully clothed they're a pleasure to ogle.  I also like host Drew Carey, who's good-natured and cute in a stocky way, a LEGO™ character come to life.  I'm also dazzled by the colorful sets.  Lastly, the show has a lot of cute male contestants as well, some who are busting out of their t-shirts as they jump around.  And it's not uncommon to hear them shouting out to boyfriends and husbands.  (And when this is happening on a show as main stream as this, there's no going back.)

 

Price is right male model james
Price is Right model James

 

Price is Right Stud
Eye-candy contestant (sexual orientation unknown

 

Priceright7
Sexual orientation known as Anthony said hello to his boyfriend in the audience.

 

JEOPARDY - Has had its shares of gay contestants (or brainy types that give off a gay vibe) but they're usually not dressed that well, and can be a bit full of themselves (this applies to the straight contestants as well).  And despite aging, host Alex Trebek has always possessed a bit of sex appeal (although, befitting a show that celebrates book knowledge, he's a bit aloof).

 

John-presloid-jeopardy-winner-january-21-2019-300x258
Gay contestant John Presloid (Jan. 2019)

 

WHEEL OF FORTUNE - This one's all about Vanna.  Letter turner Vanna White is somewhat of a campy delight in her Cher-like gowns - and still looks amazing after nearly 40 years on the job.  Additionally, in episodes I've watched in the past 12 months, three contestants were members of San Francisco's Gay Men's Chorus.  As for the rest of the show, the host (rodent-like host Pat Sajak) and the contestants are sort of a sad lot, shouting out "Big Money!" as they spin the wheel.

 

Vanna white

 

 

 

 

 

 


New Sitcom "The Other Two" - When a Straight Roommate Isn't So Straight

The Other Two - Comedy Central

 

A new sitcom premiered in the winter of 2019 on Comedy Central, called The Other Two.  Set in New York, it focuses on Cary and Brooke Dubek, the floundering twenty-something brother and sister of a 13-year-old YouTube singing sensation.  I decided to give the show a view because of its SNL/Lorne Michaels pedigree and was pleasantly surprised to find that Cary is gay.  What was even more surprising is that Cary's supposedly straight roommate, Matt, is always coming on to him.  An All- American type, with washboard abs and a great smile, Matt is amusingly nonchalant after each fleeting encounter with Cary.  While sitcoms with gay characters have become less of novelty, I can't recall one in which a straight character acts on his same-sex urges.   And the show isn't shy about showing them in a lip-lock or jerking off.

 

From the premiere episode, here they are "innocently" watching TV (remember, this is a sitcom, not a XXX video):

 

The seduction1

Cary's glance
The seduction2  The pounce

 

The roommate is played by Andrew Ridings who in 2010 was in an off-Broadway play Over the Top where he played a closeted gay man (in the role of his boyfriend was Tanner Cohen, who starred in the 2008 gay-themed indie film Were the World Mine).  Cary's co-worker, Curtis, is also gay.  The actor who portrays him, Brandon Scott Jones, played a bitchy bookstore clerk in the Melissa McCarthy movie, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

 

Gay brother  the other two
Drew Tarver plays Cary Dubek

 

Of course, the show has more amusing gay-oriented stuff going on than just the furtive relationship between Cary and Matt (whose story arc appears to have ended after Episode 3).  And while the show is funny, at the end of each episode I felt oddly diminished.  Perhaps it's because of how it depicts the vacuous, social media-centric world that Millennials and Gen Xers live in.  Also, Cary is somewhat of a "sad sack", who, despite being in his 20s, acts like someone much older in the way he cringes at his peers attachment to social media.    

And although Cary's roomie may be gone, for the time being at least, you might catch Andrew Ridings, in a much more chaste role, appearing in a commercial for Dunkin' Donuts which began airing in May/June.

 

Dunkin donuts

 

The Other Two airs at Thursday at 10:30 after Broad City.

 

Other posts I've written about gay characters in TV sitcoms:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Modern Family

Roseanne

Will & Grace


Few Watch "When We Rise", ABC's Mini-Series About the Gay Rights Movement

When we rise

 

In the winter of 1977 ABC aired the eight-part mini-series, Roots, which told of the black experience in America.  It drew a huge audience, reaching an estimated 60% of the population.  40 years later ABC aired a four-part mini-series about the rise of the gay rights movement, called When We Rise, but unlike Roots, few watched it.  The first episode had only 3 million viewers and the three episodes that followed barely drew 2 million.  This was despite the fact that it had quite a creative pedigree, with Dustin Lance Black the executive producer and Gus Van Sant the director (who also paired up for the 2008 movie Milk).  By comparison, 50-60 million viewers tuned in for each installment of Roots (when there were 100 million fewer people living in the US). 

 

Of course, today's viewing landscape is much different from what it was 40 years ago, but it doesn't fully explain the pitiful level of viewership.  Was it also because non-gay viewers weren't interested, so the audience potential was limited?  Was it because of a lack of promotion (although numerous tune-in ads aired during the Academy Awards)?  Was it because, with all of the media attention in the past ten years given to several major pieces of pro-gay legislation, we've already learned a great deal gay history?  Was it apathy among young people?  Or, perhaps, avoidance by older LGBT persons who lived through the AIDS crisis and didn't wish to relive it?  (As I watched I was tense knowing that some of the characters I grew to like would succumb.)

 

AIDS panic scene

 When we rise bed scene

 

A clear sign of how times have changed was the warning at the beginning of each episode, cautioning viewers about strong "adult" language, but there was no such warning about "adult" content, such as amorous scenes between men or lesbians.  25 years ago very few mainstream advertisers would have risked placing commercials in a program with this type of content, but this time a long list of mainstream advertisers aired commercials, including Oreo, Special-K, Lysol, Bounty, Chevrolet, Perdue chickens, McDonald's, JC Penney, Downy, Red Lobster, and Little Caesar's.  However, I spotted just one ad with a gay sensibility, for the Lexus RX.  Also, L'Oreal featured trans model, Hari Nef, in its ad.

 

Lexus gay ad
Lexus RX

 

Loreal transexual
L'Oreal

 

I was startled by a quick scene in Episode 3 when the fellow walking out of the offices of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) in DC bore a striking resemblance to Vice President Mike Pence.

 

Mike pence

 

At the end of Episode 3 I found it curious when a comment by Cleve Jones about President George W. Bush's endorsement of a Constitutional amendment making marriage only between a man and a woman, was immediately followed by a voiceover during the credits telling viewers that Bush would be on Jimmy Kimmel's show later that night.   

 

When interviewed about the mini-series, Dustin Lance Black said that, "Young LGBT people deserve to know we have a rich history."  However, with such tepid viewer response his quote made me think of the well-worn phrase, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."  Hopefully, additional viewers will see this ambitious, and well-done, series via On Demand or delayed viewing from DVR recording.

 

You-can-lead-a-horse-to-water-clip-art

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shannon Sharpe Dazzles ESPN Viewers With NFL Bombast, Drag Queen Fierceness

Shannon sharpe cropped photo

 

The TV monitor mounted in the kitchen at my workplace is often tuned to ESPN's sports commentary show, Skip & Shannon Undisputed.  The show has drawn my attention because of Shannon Sharpe, a former wide receiver in the NFL Hall of Fame who's one of the show's hosts.  He's quite the "dandy", wearing bold, patterned shirts and vibrantly colored ties and bow ties.  These flashy shirt/tie combinations suit his bombastic persona perfectly.  And although another former NFL star with a broadcast career, Michael Strahan, may be better known, Sharpe is far more telegenic. 

 

Because of his strong facial features (a strong jaw and broad grin), and a confident, dramatic presence, along with a forceful speaking manner, every time I watch Sharpe I think to myself what a fabulous drag queen he'd be.  Give this man some lipstick!  He brings to mind Wesley Snipes' drag queen character in the 1995 film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.  (And I've always thought that Arsenio Hall would be a natural for drag.)

 

Wesley snipes in To Wong Foo

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 Shannon sharpe 

 Shannonsharpe

 Shannon sharpe

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2016 Tony Awards Air on Same Day as Homophobic Attack in Orlando (June 12, 2016)

 

James.corden.2016tonys

 

Who could have imagined that the highlight of the Broadway season, the gay Super Bowl, would be held on the same day as the nation's deadliest attack against America's LGBT population?  Yet it did on June 12, 2016.  Before the opening of the telecast, master of ceremonies James Corden soberly, yet compassionately, addressed viewers at home with his back to those attending the awards ceremony.  With his brief commemoration completed, the coronation of Hamilton began.  During the telecast, comments about the slaughter of 49 patrons at Orlando's gay club, Pulse, were made by Lin Manuel-Miranda, Jessica Lange, Frank Langella and Barbra Streisand (yes, Babs made her first appearance in 50 years).  And everyone was sporting a silver ribbon on their lapel or gown in a show of solidarity for the city of Orlando.

 

Of course, in this day and age of 24/7 news, the coverage of the attack was continuous and unnerving.  This was in stark contrast to the indifference shown more than 40 years earlier after the previous deadliest attack against gays, in June 1973, when 32 patrons of the New Orleans bar Upstairs Lounge died in an arson fire.  Sadly, hate continues in the present day, but this time it was publicized worldwide rather than ignored.      

 

NOW, ON WITH THE SHOW!

The lovable James Corden was wonderful - and such a relief from the silliness of last year's hosts, Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth.  (Actually, Corden's love of Broadway is similar to that of another former host, Hugh Jackman.)  The introduction of Corden at the top of the show was genius, replicating the rap patter of Hamilton and sung by cast members.  It poked fun at Corden being relatively unknown.  One excerpt:

CBS said, "This collision of theater and television needs a risk taker, it needs a rule breaker, it needs a troublemaker, a mover and a shaker - It needs that chubby dude from 'Into the Woods' who played the baker."    

 

Jame corden dancing tony awards  

 

PROUD PAPA

Lin-Manuel Miranda had plenty of opportunities to beam as Hamilton won 11 Tony's.  The widespread acclaim the show has received is no doubt the biggest reason the telecast's rating was the highest in 15 years.

 

Lin-manuel_miranda.tonys

Lin-manuel-tonys

Proud

 

CALLING THE FASHION POLICE!

There's always one and this year it was Cate Blanchett, resplendent in raccoon-eye makeup and an "outfit" that looked like it was made from a sweatshirt and leather harness.

 

Cate.blanchet.2016tonys

 

80+ NEVER LOOKED BETTER

At 83, the vibrant Chita Rivera introduced the In Memoriam tribute, a list she's not likely to appear on for many years.

 

Chita rivera 2016 tony awards

 

A COMEDIC TRIBUTE TO "LAW & ORDER"

There was a hilarious routine about various Broadway actors who may be better known for their roles on Law & Order than on Broadway (ending with six roles by Fiddler's Danny Burstein).

 

Billporter.lalaw
Billy Porter ("Shuffle Along")

 

Daveed.diggs.tonyawards
Daveed Diggs ("Hamilton")

 

Danny.burstein.tonyawards
Danny Burstein ("Fiddler on the Roof")

 

SKEWERING TRUMP

There were three swipes at Donald Trump.  In applauding the diversity of the Tony nominees, Corden said that Donald Trump had threatened to build a wall around the theater; Nathan Lane said he learned about the great importance of winning awards at Trump University; then, near the end of the show, in a real slap at him, there was a little routine about a show about Trump coming to Broadway in the fall titled "House of Moron".

 

Book.of.moron

 

HEY, HAVEN'T I SEEN THAT DRESS BEFORE?

 

Renee.elise.goldsberry
Renee Elise Goldsberry, 2016 Tony Winner

 

Alicia.vikander.justjared
Alicia Vikander, 2016 Oscar Winner

 

UNDERSTATED CHARM

I found myself enchanted by the number, If You Knew My Story, from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's nominated show Bright StarThe song had a countrified charm, and the stage setting's soft blue hues brought to mind a water color.

 

Bright.star

 

BECAUSE OUTRAGEOUS TICKET PRICES DON'T RAISE ENOUGH REVENUE 

New York senator Charles Schumer was applauded for passing legislation providing tax breaks for Broadway.  The cynical question in my mind - does that mean ticket prices will go down?

 

Charles.schumer 

 

CUTE, HORNY BOYS IN KNICKERS

The number from Spring Awakening had the cutest display of boys in knickers since the Tony ceremony from a few years ago that featured a number from Newsies.

 

Springawakening

 

EMILIO RUINED THE SURPRISE

In introducing a number from Get on Your Feet, Emilio Estefan spoiled a surprise when he mentioned that wife Gloria wasn't at the podium with him because she was appearing in the number.  I loved the two little boys dancing the rumba while playing maracas; the Ricky Martin-esque lead also got my attention.  One of the songs in the medley was Estefan's remake of Turn the Beat Around, but for me only Vicki Sue Robinson's original version will do.

 

Getonyourfeet  

 

THE REVIVAL THAT WON'T DIE

There was a special shout-out for the 20th anniversary of the revival of Chicago, but I found it odd that no mention was made of its original run 40 years ago.

 

Chicago

 

LOVE HIM, LOVE HIM, LOVE HIM!

Lin-Manuel Miranda gave a powerful, emotional acceptance speech upon accepting his Tony for Best Score.  The most memorable, emphatic line alluded to the day's tragedy in Orlando: "Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside" .

 

Lin_manuel miranda tony awards 

 

THE LIGHTS OF BROADWAY ARE SO BRIGHT SHE'S GOTTA WEAR SHADES

 

Anna.wintour.2016tonys
Anna Wintour, as always, showed up wearing sunglasses.  And, again, she went home without a Tony.

 

DIVERSITY, THY NAME IS THE TONYS

 

Asian.tonys
The night's much-touted "diversity" included presenter Daniel Dae Kim, starring in "The King & I"

 

THRILLED JUST TO BE NOMINATED

 

Janekrakowski
Jane Krakowski ("She Loves Me")
 
Jonathan.groff
Jonathan Groff ("Hamilton")
 
Shufflingalong.actor.tonys
Brandon Victor Dixon ("Shuffle Along")
 
Michelle.williams
Michelle Williams ("Blackbird")

 

PAYING TRIBUTE TO CLASSIC BROADWAY

During commercial breaks cast members of the nominated musicals would rush outside and do a quick verse from a classic Broadway show, for all of 10-15 seconds.  The giddy energy brought to mind young kids putting on a show, a la Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.

 

Lin-manuel_miranda.beacon theater
At the end of the song from "Rent" sung by the cast of "Hamilton" it was amusing to hear Lin-Manuel Miranda doing light shilling for CBS, shouting, "The Tonys, only on CBS!"

 

LOVE THOSE CROWD SHOTS!

 

Audience.shot
Something must have been going on in the cheap seats ...

 

TWO MORE "HAMILTON" FANS

 

Barack.and.michelle.obama.tonyawards
The president and first lady briefly talked about, what else?, "Hamilton", offering an anecdote about seeing a version of the show in its embryonic stage at the White House a number of years ago.

 

"SHUFFLING" PAST 11:00

Unlike the Oscars, the Tonys have a reputation for ending on time, but this year the telecast went until 11:15.  Perhaps it would have ended at 11:00 if it weren't for the need for presenters to say the official title of Shuffle Along ("Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed").  Because it received ten Tony nominations it was mentioned throughout the night.

 

Shuffling.along

 

THEN ... AND NOW, THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD!

If your DVR stopped recording at 11:00, you missed the uplifting closing few minutes, featuring a number from, no surprise, "Hamilton",  with lyrics that were so very apt on this day:

Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now ... we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world - in the greatest city in the world! 

 

Hamilton_2016tonyawards

 

Here are reviews of previous Tony Awards:

2015 Tony Awards

2014 Tony Awards

2013 Tony Awards

 


From the Twisted, Gay Mind of Ryan Murphy ...

Scream.queens.nickjonas American.horror.story.hotelEarlier this year I wrote a post about gay personalities who at one point in their careers did something that turned them into villains.  Gay screenwriter/director/producer Ryan Murphy, the creative force behind Nip/Tuck and Glee, wasn't on this list.  However, there is something deeply disturbing about two of his shows currently on TV, American Horror Story (in its fourth season) and Scream Queens, that fetishize sociopathic behavior.  (He no doubt got a hard-on from movies such as Saw or Human Centipede.)  What's further troubling is that the entertainment industry enables his demented mind by airing these vile shows.  Because of my strong distaste for watching gratuitous violence as a form of entertainment, I've watched neither, but a few friends have filled me in on the sickening content.  

 

It puzzles me that we recoil in horror at the real-life slaughter carried out on a regular basis in this country, or the atrocities that ISIS publicizes through social media, yet embrace fictional portrayals of inhumanity shown on TV (many of which are celebrated by critics).  Weren't gay men once celebrated for their style and class?  And while kudos go to Murphy for his gay storylines and homoerotic scenarios, this is neutralized when his gay characters end up being raped, impaled or sliced up with axes.  I suppose this is just another way in which LGBTs are assimilating into the general population (or lowering themselves into it). 

 

Ryanmurphy

 

Fast-forward to 2018.  In a captivating profile of Murphy in The New Yorker, he commented that now that he and his husband are raising children he was having second thoughts about the bloody violence shown in many of his productions.  That was encouraging to read, but his critically-acclaimed mini-series The Assassination of Gianni Versace, which aired shortly before the profile was published, continued his glorification of murder.

 

Versace mini series_cunanan
 

I prefer gay men and lesbians who use their talents to bring beauty and laughter to the world, persons such as Bob Mackie, Tommy Tune, Lily Tomlin, or Ellen DeGeneres, rather than assault viewers with the horrors of sociopaths Murphy revels in.  In a previous post I called Bravo's Andy Cohen to task for celebrating anti-social behavior with his dreadful Housewives of (Every City in America) series.  Yet, compared to what Murphy creates, Housewives is like The Brady Bunch

 

Real housewives nyc

 

 


Not Everything Neil Patrick Harris Appears In Turns to Gold - "Best Time Ever" Variety Show Flops

Best.time.everIf ever there was a show created with middle America in mind, this is it.  NBC's mess of a variety show, starring Neil Patrick Harris, brings to mind a cross between America's Funniest Home Videos, the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, and Sabado Gigante.  It's the type of show you might expect rambunctious kids with no adult supervision to throw together.  Harris, vying with Ellen DeGeneres for the title of America's most ubiquitous gay personality, is never off camera.  (The term "overstaying your welcome" easily comes to mind.)  Each show has a celebrity host - the first was Reese Witherspoon, the second telecast featured Alec Baldwin, both who were woefully underutilized.  (I was embarrassed for them.)  And too much time is spent with contrived audience participation segments.

 

Gloriagaynor.neilpatrickharrisWhen he hosted the Tony Awards to great acclaim, NPH's patter was peppered with gay references, but watching him here you'd never know he was gay.  For one thing, he didn't acknowledge his husband seated in the audience (on the aisle) although he stood by him a number of times during an opening skit.  And the closest tribute to gay culture was Gloria Gaynor (pictured, left) singing I Will Survive for a tired karaoke competition, which was de-gayed by featuring families from Ohio, Tennessee and Texas who competed from their living rooms.  Actually, there was one gay personality who made an appearance - Carrot Top; however, after getting all of 10 seconds of screen time he was never seen again (which is a good thing.)  At the end of the second show there was a shout-out to the NYC Gay Men's Chorus for performing, but I had no recollection of them appearing.

 

Thumbs.downThe show closes with a segment titled "Best Closing Ever," but a better name might be "Attention Deficit on Parade" as it's a three-minute mash-up of stunts and acrobatic acts that you'd expect to see on America's Got Talent.  Bottom line, this show is in desperate need of an infusion of gay sensibility to make it less cringe-worthy to watch.  A lot of energy was expended to create a product with little entertainment value to speak of.  However, NPH's toddlers might find it captivating.

 

 

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TV's Most Annoying & Most Entertaining Gay Characters

Andre.braugher.brooklyn99 TV series with gay characters are now commonplace and include popular shows such as  Modern Family, Empire and Downton Abbey.  But before 2000, shows such as Roseanne and Will & Grace also exposed viewers to gay characters (and drew considerably larger audiences than today's hit shows).  Of course, not every gay character is memorable, so for this post I've focused on those who are (of the shows I've watched), grouping them by most annoying and most amusing.  Twenty-five shows are represented, with four of them - Modern Family, Looking, Queer as Folk and Will & Grace - having characters on both lists.

 

MOST ANNOYING

Stefon (Sat. Night Live/NBC) - I tired of him after three appearances, but he appeared for five seasons (2008-2013).

 

Stefon

 

Brian Kinney (Queer as Folk/Showtime/2000-2005) - I rolled my eyes at how he was portrayed as the hottest piece of meat in Pittsburgh since Polish kielbasa.

 

Brian.kinney.queerasfolk

 

Will Truman (Will & Grace /NBC/1998-2006)- Too whiny.

 

Will.truman

 

Cameron Tucker (Modern Family /ABC/2009-present) - Although he does give me an occasional chuckle, a little of him goes a long way.

 

Cam.modfamily

 

Patrick Murray (Looking/HBO/2014-2015) - I found this main character from the HBO drama (cancelled after two seasons) too self-centered.

 

Jonathan.groff.looking

 

Kurt Hummel (Glee /Fox/2009-2015) - A sweet kid who stood up for himself, but he got on my nerves because he was too "light in the loafers" for my taste.

 

Kurt.glee  

 

TJ Hammond (Political Animals /USA Network/2012) - A drugged-out mess (unlike his hunky, straight-laced and hetero twin brother Douglas, played by the scrumptious James Wolk).

 

Tjhammond.politicalanimals

 

Kevin Matheson (Looking/HBO/2014-2015) - I was bothered by the fact that he was partnered while carrying on an affair with Patrick.  I also found his little ears distracting.

 

Russell.tovey.looking.ears

 

MOST ENTERTAINING

Pepper Saltzman (Modern Family/ABC/2009-present) -  Played by Nathan Lane, his occasional appearances always added some additional spark.  Another friend of Cam and Mitchell's I liked was Longinus - largely because of his name.

 

Nathanlane.pepper.modfamily

 

Mitchell Pritchett (Modern Family/ABC/2009-present) - A great foil to hubby Cameron, actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson should have won one of Eric Stonestreet's Emmys for this role.

 

Mitchell.pritchett.modfamily

 

Michael Novotny & Ben Bruckner (Queer as Folk /Showtime/2000-2005) - Sweet and puppy-like, Michael could be a bit of a dim bulb.  He carried a torch for Brian but then partnered with hunky and loving Ben (the taller of the two, below).

 

Michael.and.ben.queerasfolk

 

Tim Gunn (Project Runway /Lifetime/2004-present) - Classy and avuncular, Gunn played himself as a fashion expert on this competition show.  The phrase he made popular, "Make it work!", will probably be on his headstone.

 

Tim.gunn 

 

Sal Romano (Mad Men/AMC/2007-2015) - A closeted art director at the Sterling Cooper ad agency, Sal was unjustly fired after rebuffing the homosexual advances of the agency's biggest client.  I delighted in his rendition of Ann-Margret singing Bye-Bye Birdie (below) as well as his excitement watching Jackie Kennedy's televised tour of the White House.  I could feel the anxiety he experienced working in such an oppressively conformist, homo-unfriendly era. 

 

Sal.romano.madmen

 

Bob Benson (Mad Men/AMC/2007-2015) -  A few seasons after Sal's departure another gay character, the mysterious Bob Benson (played by hunky James Wolk) was introduced for a few seasons.  He wanted Joan to be his beard but she declined.

 

Bobbenson.madmen

 

Lloyd Lee (Entourage/HBO/2004-2011) - Agent Ari Gold's whip-smart and loyal assistant who endured Ari's demeaning comments about his sexual orientation and eventually rose to become an agent himself. 

 

Lloyd.lee.entourage

 

Brian & Steven (The Sarah Silverman Program/Comedy Central/2007-2010) - A lovingly schlubby gay couple who lived next door to Silverman.

 

Brian.steven.sarah.silverman.program

 

Richie Donado (Looking /HBO/2014-2015) - A sweet, sexy and loving character.  Although he was the youngest, he was perhaps the most grounded of all the characters.

 

Richie.looking

 

Thomas Barrow (Downton Abbey /PBS/2011-present) - He came close to being placed in the Most Annoying group.  On the one hand, he's a schemer with a chip on his shoulder, but on the other, perhaps it's because of what he had to deal with as a gay man in the 1910s and 1920s.  (Not everyone back then could be Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde.)  It's this latter consideration that held sway so I put him here (although I'd hardly call him entertaining).

 

Thomas.barrow.downton.abbey

 

Captain Ray Holt (Brooklyn Nine-Nine /Fox/2013-present) - I'm not a big fan of the show's star, Andy Samberg, but I decided to watch the show when I read that Andre Braugher was in a sitcom - and playing this gay character.

 

Brooklyn.nine-nine

 

Oscar Martinez (The Office/NBC/2005-2013) - Quiet and private, his annoying boss Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) would find ways at staff meetings to tactlessly bring up the fact that Oscar was gay.

 

Oscar.martinez.theoffice

 

Devin Banks (30 Rock/NBC/2006-2013) - Jack Donaghy's nemesis.  Besides being devious and delightfully campy, Devin (played by Will Arnet) also had the hots for Jack (played by Alec Baldwin) - who got a charge flirting with and teasing Devin.

 

Devin.banks.30rock

 

Buddy Cole (Kids in the Hall/Comedy Central/1988-1994) - An over-the-top, tell-it-like-it-is bar fly.  At the time this type of gay representation was considered transgressive.

 

Buddycole.kidsinthehall

 

Jack McFarland (Will & Grace/NBC/1998-2007) - I considered putting him in the annoying group alongside Will Truman but I always laugh when I watch reruns of this groundbreaking Thursday night sitcom, and it's largely because of his scenes with Karen.

 

Jack.and.karen.will.grace

 

Lt. Jim Dangle (Reno: 911/Comedy Central/2003-2009) - A sight to behold in his short shorts, he had a crush on straight fellow officer Deputy Jones and was constantly frustrated by his inattention - until one episode Jones obliged him and Lt. Dangle had trouble walking the next day (but he was a happy camper).

 

Jim.dangle.reno911

 

Kip Wallace (Web Therapy) /Showtime/2011-present) - The closeted husband of Lisa Kudrow's self-centered main character, Fiona.  Apparently they never had sex in 15 years of marriage.  Victor Garber played Kip and I enjoyed seeing him in a comedic roll (and I told him so when I saw him waiting for the uptown 1 train at the 14th St. station a number of years ago.)

 

Victor.garber.webtherapy

 

Blaine & Antoine (Men on Films/Fox/1990-1994) - MOF was a regularly occurring segment on Fox's Sunday night comedy sketch show In Living Color.  Blaine, played by Damon Wayans, usually wore a tiny hat.

 

Antoine.blaine

 

Anthony Marentino (Sex & the City/HBO/1998-2004) - He was great as Charlotte's advisor on all matters concerning fashion and sex.

 

Mario.cantone.sexandcity

 

Nancy Bartlett (Roseanne /ABC/1988-1997) - Nancy was introduced back in 1992, becoming TV's first regular lesbian character.  The show would also have another gay character, Roseanne's boss, Leon, at the luncheonette (played by Martin Mull).

 

Sandra.bernhard.roseanne2

 

Craig Middlebrooks (Parks & Recreation/NBC/2009-2015) - A high-intensity employee of the Parks department (added in the show's last two seasons), this was a perfect role for Billy Eichner.

 

Billy.eichner.parksandrecreation

 

Marc St. James (Ugly Betty/ABC/2006-2010) - This ABC sitcom took off like a rocket but then fizzled out in its second, third and fourth seasons.  The character development of Marc St. James, however, went in the opposite direction, from sarcastic and mean-spirited to a more caring, well-rounded individual.  But still wide-eyed and ditzy. 

 

Michael.urie.ugly.betty

 

Carson Kressley (Queer Guy for the Straight Guy /Bravo/2003-2007) - Like Tim Gunn, Cressley is a real person.  Although flamboyant I liked him because he wasn't a bitchy queen.  Instead, he came across as a caring individual as he advised clueless hetero men how to dress with flair.

 

Carson.kressley

 

Waylon Smithers (The Simpsons/Fox/1989-present) - Or simply "Smithers", he's devoted to Mr. Burns and fantasizes about him in his dreams.

 

Smithers

 

Jonathan - (30 Rock/NBC/2006-2013) - A character with no last name, he played Jack Donaghy's overly devoted and protective executive assistant.  A human version of Smithers?

 

Jonathan30rock 

 

Besides portraying characters who are gay, more than half of the actors on these two lists are openly gay in real life.

 

GAY ACTORS WHO PLAY GAY CHARACTERS ON TV
     
Actor Show Character Played
Bryan Batt Mad Men Sal Romano
Sandra Bernhard Roseanne Nancy Bartlett
Mario Cantone Sex & the City Anthony Marentino
Chris Colfer Glee Kurt Hummel
Billy Eichner Parks & Rec Craig Middlebrook
Jesse Tyler Ferguson Modern Family Mitchell Pritchett
Robert Gant Queer as Folk Ben Bruckner
Victor Garber Web Therapy Kip Wallace
Jonathan Groff Looking Patrick Murray
Tim Gunn Project Runway Himself
Sean Hayes Will & Grace Jack MacFarland
Carson Kressley Queer Eye Himself
Nathan Lane Modern Family Pepper Saltzman
Rex Lee Entourage Lloyd Lee
Maulik  Pancholy 30 Rock Jonathan
Scott Thompson Kids in the Hall Buddy Cole
Russell Tovey Looking Kevin Matheson
Michael Urie Ugly Betty Marc St. James