Comedic TV Characters that Crushed LGBT Stereotypes

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The following is a guest post from the adult store, Adam and Eve.

SPOILER ALERT
The plot of the upcoming series finale of Two and a Half Men has been revealed. Like any long-running series, fans are eager to see how the show is wrapped up. So how are they planning on bringing the story full-circle? With a gay wedding. Walden (Ashton Kutcher) finds that the only way he can adopt a child is if he’s married, so Allen (Jon Cryer) agrees to marry him. The story will end with the two men taking care of another young boy, reaffirming the title of the show once again.

While I love seeing gay marriage further represented on TV, it seems as though Two and Half Men is using it simply as a shock factor to end the show with a bang. The very fact that gay marriage can be played as a joke in a sit-com shows how far we’ve come on the subject, but it seems to me that actors that played actual homosexual and transgender characters have a bigger impact on audiences for their diverse portrayals of members of the LGBT community. And some of them do so in such a powerful way that they’re earning awards as often as their making audiences laugh.

 

Adam_Pally_2010_(cropped)Happy Endings’ Adam Pally as Max Blum

Max was a late twenties character on ABC’s short-lived series Happy Endings. He was the guy that was still trying to figure things out, never wanted to settle down, and was always there with a witty remark or hilarious joke. He also happened to be gay.

Any stereotype someone could possibly think to associate with a homosexual man, Max was the opposite. He was by far the grossest character on the show, so gross that he was the one guy in college that chose to pee in the in-room sink instead walking down the hall to the dorm bathroom. But somehow, it made him even more lovable. He didn’t work out, he gave little thought to his appearance, and couldn’t care less about fashion. Instead, this bearded, beer-drinking sports fan wanted nothing more than to sleep all day, eat a pizza, and hang out with his buddies.

He also regularly used his sexuality as a way of poking fun at himself, leaving nothing for others to ever use against him. Other characters were taken aback, but ultimately laughed when he said lines like, “Even I think rollerblades are gay. And I had sex with a dude last night.” He’s perfectly happy with himself, and doesn’t let anyone make him feel bad about it. As an article on Buzzfeed shows, he’s always good for a laugh.

Laverne_Cox_2014_crop_2Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset

Laverne Cox was a perfect choice to play the transgender character Sophia on Netflix’s hit original show, Orange is the New Black. As a transgender woman herself, Cox knows the hardships that Sophia has had to go through.

The show gave her an amazing back story, complete with the difficulty her character faced within her marriage and with her children when she decided to live life as a woman. And Cox’s close relationship to the character hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Orange is the New Black is currently in its third season and has won a slew of awards, everything form the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series to a Peabody award. But it was Cox who really stolen headlines, being named the first openly trans actress to be nominated for an Emmy. After receiving the news that she was up for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, she told the cast of The View, “I hope people out there now can associate being transgender with being accomplished, being successful and achieving your dreams.”

But of course being on a comedy series means she’s not always so serious. One of the more humorous spots for her character came during season two in an episode titled, “A Whole Other Hole.” In a conversation about female anatomy, Sophia realizes that a lot of the other inmates are woefully unaware of how their bodies work. In an effort to educate her fellow prison mates, Sophia becomes her own version of Adam & Eve’s Doctor Kat—a psychologist who frequently blogs about sex—to the inmates. She answers the inmates questions about sex and explains how each part of their vaginas and sexual organs work.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andre Braugher as Capt. Ray Holt

andre-braugher-Brooklyn Nine-Nine won the award for “Best Comedy” at the 2014 Golden Globes, and lead actor Andy Samberg walked away with the win for “Best Actor in a Comedy Series,” but it’s Andre Braugher’s character, Capt. Ray Holt, that attracted the attention of the LGBT community. Slate praised the show on a particular episode that involved Holt having a romantic anniversary dinner with his husband. The article said that, “In less than a minute, Brooklyn Nine-Nine managed to make a more thoughtful, heartfelt, and compelling argument for ENDA than any other show on prime-time network television. And it did so without losing its sense of humor, keeping viewers laughing, despite the heavy subject matter.”

A strong and powerful authority figure, Holt is quiet, intense, and at times, difficult to read. Even though the show is a comedy series, they actually take a deep look into the struggles that Holt has had to go through in his career. Being a homosexual in the police force, he’s faced prejudice and discrimination, and his actions are constantly put under a microscope by those who would do anything to see him removed from the department because of his sexuality. But the character never lets that faze him, and continues to plug away at his job.

Braugher did an interview with the LA Times about his recent Emmy nomination for supporting actor in a comedy series. When asked how he feels that Holt would congratulate him on his nomination, Braugher said, “He would make a small pointing gesture with his index finger and say, “Good job.” I mean, that’s the highest praise you can get from Holt.”

It’s the sign of true acting talent. The ability to make you laugh, cry, and feel every bit of pain that they do. Of stepping outside stereotypes when depicting members of the LBGT community and saying, “Hey, we’re more than just our sexual identity.” These comedic stars have a special way of sharing with the audience the deeper challenges of coming out, and presenting them in a manner that makes such challenges understandable to the average viewer. One thing is for certain, their influence in the LGBT community won’t soon be forgotten.

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