The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation just dropped its “Where We Are on TV” report 2012, its annual analysis of LGBT presence in broadcast and cable TV. GLAAD reports that the 2012-2013 TV season has the highest-ever percentage of LGBT characters on scripted primetime network TV, and comedy-wise, ABC led the pack in terms of having the most gay characters (thanks to Happy Endings, Modern Family, and a handful of other sitcoms). While some of ABC’s LGBT characters, in particular Adam Pally’s Max Blum, are unique ones that defy stereotypes, three of the network’s six gay characters fall into a “sassy gay assistant” archetype (the three characters in question are Ray Ford as James Van Der Beek’s assistant Luther on Don’t Trust the B—-, Jai Rodriguez as Geoffrey, a record label assistant on Reba McEntire’s new comedy Malibu Country, and Rex Lee as school guidance counselor Mr. Wolfe on Suburgatory). Here’s gay stand-up Gabe Liedman describing this type of role in a recent Splitsider interview:
“There are good, smart, nice gay characters out there, but there’s so many… snarky, gay assholes that work at the front desk of whatever office the show takes place in… I have a pretty gay voice, but a lot of the characters I try out for, I need to change my voice to be like, offensively gay… It’s just exactly what you think. A fucking bad version of Michael Urie from Ugly Betty a million times over.”
While it’s great that there’s such a high amount of visibility for LGBTers on ABC, it’s a shame that half of the network’s gay characters fall into this stereotypical stock character. I’d like to see more characters like Happy Endings’s Max and fewer catty gay assistants.