Saturday, June 22, 2013

Travels with Kevin Part 14: The City of Brotherly Love (from SCOTUS to Canceled Television Shows)

These past few weeks, I have been outside of the world of popular culture traveling to visit friends, and going to a work conference.  I have not had as much time to go to the movies, and had to catch up on any of my summer shows through my TiVo.

A a few weekends ago I went to visit my friend Dominic in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.  The slogan of the city resonated even more because it was Pride.  Philly was a blast, and Dominic is a great friend.  I watched his softball team play, we drank a lot, ate a lot, everything a vacation should be and more.  Visiting Philly helped continue my tradition of going to a different city for Pride every year. My first Pride was in New York City, then Columbus, then Boston and St. Louis, and finally Philly this year.  My goal is either DC or Chicago next year. As I look back at the fun times in Philadelphia, and Pride itself it has made me me think about what is going on in the country at the moment, and a bit of popular culture.

Any day now the Supreme Court will be ruling on two major cases for LGBT folks, one pertaining to a challenge of Proposition 8 in California, and one pertaining to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Both of these rulings will have an impact on marriage equality, but in an era when more and more states are passing legislation allowing gay marriage, could striking down either of these challenges be seen as antiquated?  I think so, but no matter which way the court rules I have faith that this country has come along way, and I believe more than ever that my nation is willing to step up to bat to protect me.  Look at Russia and the way they are treating their citizens, and many other countries in Africa, which are proposing laws called "Kill the Gays."  LGBT folks are more vocal and visible than ever before, and the United States is moving in the right direction.

In an ironic twist of fate many shows with lesbian and gay characters were cancelled this May.  This list of shows shows include the following: The New Normal, Go On, Smash, The Office, 1600 Penn, Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B___ in Apartment 23, 90210, Emily Owens, M.D., The L.A. Complex, Partners, and Southland. 

These shows on many levels tackled issues and stories, which highlighted a diverse array of characterizations. Happy Endings did a great story in one episode where Max (Adam Pally) searched for identity within the gay community showing how fitting, or having someone to connect with matters on all levels.  The New Normal tackled gay fatherhood well, and the struggles parents face.  Go On tackled the subject of loss of a partner, and how important this can be to anyone.

With all of these shows off the air, the battle for representation continues, does LGBT representation matter?  It sure does, especially on network television where the majority of folks can access this material.  In a day when people still need role models, popular culture is an important medium to help spread the word.  I hope television can challenge themselves to work harder to keep quality programming.  I am alright with them canceling 1600 Penn and Partners (they were terrible).

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