I should have known it was too good to be true. No more lesbianism on Grey’s Anatomy. (Spoilers for anyone not up to date with the fifth season).
Not that they’ve handled it as well as they could have from the start. It took a particularly weird turn with all the ‘need to seek out girl-sexing advice from a guy’. I mean, surely the golden rule of lesbianism is ‘do unto your girlfriend as you’d like done to you’, then see how successful it is and talk about what you want.
It was a huge development though, we’re talking about one of the most watched (if not any longer one of the best) shows on television. It’s turned into part of a disturbing trend though, look at House’s ’13’, a bisexual character who steps up the sleeping with women thing as a sign of spiralling out of control. Basically, her lady-lovin’ is portrayed as a vice akin to her penchant for illegal drugs. Not exactly feeling the warm and fuzzy embrace of diversity and inclusion there. Although it is on Fox, so I wasn’t exactly expecting good things. I’ve always felt that Ellen got cancelled post-coming out partly because the episodes did drop in quality, or at least I rationalised it that way. It’s hardly the first time that a show with a prominent lesbian character got booted.
I can’t believe we’re really still at this stage – that lesbian “relationships” (complete with those air quotes) are perfectly useful to shock or to titillate, but woe betide any show that tries to show it as a sustainable and valid lifestyle choice. I think the only character who had a prolonged lesbian storyline would be Dr Weaver on ER, or Lt Griggs on The Wire (I’ll be doing a guest blog for Jay about the women of The Wire, with particular reference to the realistic lesbianism sometime soon!). Please, tell me if you can think of any others.
As for British TV? Well, I can’t say I watch much these days, and it’s mostly just panel shows like Mock The Week. The only drama I watch consistently is Spooks, and though I dozed off during it last night, I’m fairly sure they haven’t turned the delicious Ros Myers into a dyke just yet. I didn’t see any lesbians in the fifteen minutes of Corrie that I caught last night, though I had heard rumours of it happening in Eastenders?
It never used to matter to me, I’ve always felt secure in my own identity as a gay woman. (The obvious exception being my bizarre love for Fernando Torres, of course.) What worries me is the lack of role models for more impressionable girls, ones whose only impressions of being gay are being shaped by the occasional risqué snog on something like Hollyoaks. Surely, even with the religious right in the US, or the unable-to-take-a-joke brigade at the Daily Mail, we can still manage one realistic depiction on TV.
After all, this is my lifestyle, and that of so many people close to me. I’m not pushing some radical agenda to get the heteros off the television, it would just be nice if someone a little like me was represented there too.