Shockingly the ‘The New Normal,’ a comedy on NBC about a gay couple trying to start a family, is under fire by gays for being too gay. Some in social media and a recent Out Magazine post lambasted ‘The New Normal’ for playing into gay stereotypes.
Out Magazine cited such horrible stereotypes as gays being wealthy, materialistic and having lots of disposable income. That’s not too bad. I mean do certain ethnic groups really hate the stereotype of having a large dong.
The real crux of the argument against the show, I feel, is when Out describes one of the characters as an “effeminate man-boy.” My observations tells me some gay guys feel gay couples on TV should be betrayed as two macho guys who just happen to be into dudes (i.e. Brokeback Mountain). It’s offensive to some gay people that ‘The New Normal’ has one guy that is a bit vein, into fashion, worked out and likes to have nice things.
The reason they have this feeling may be from their hypersensitivity to how the world-at-large will perceive a gay person, thus the show’s portrayal will be how the world will actually perceive themselves. Since “macho” or “normal” gay guys don’t want to be perceived as “effeminate” they are expressing their outrage at the show.
The “effeminate” (Out’s characterization) played by Andrew Rannells is really not that over the top–he seems like a guy that I could actually know. I think Rannells does a fine job with the character by not taking it to the extreme. The show also balances out Rannells’ character with his life partner who is not into fashion, loves sports and is a gynecologist. Between the two characters it shows gay people come in all types.
Gay people’s problems with the show is more of reflection on how they fear people perceive them, rather than any stereotype the show is thought to portray.
In reality kids aren’t being bullied at school for having excessive income, great bodies or vanity, they are being bullied for being “effeminate.” Those kids are considered not normal. How does something become normal? You have to be exposed to it. To be honest the first time I saw two guys kiss on TV (Melrose Place), even as a gay man, I was weirded out a bit–it wasn’t normal to me. But over time as gay characters became more prevalent on television I became accustom to it, in a sense desensitized to it. The more society is exposed to “effeminate” (a word which I hate) characters the more society will become desensitized to it, so it might be seen as, lets say, the New Normal.
P.S. the post is not a total puff piece because I think Andre Rennells is really really cute.