There is a lot to complain about these days. Television, our greatest and most damaging addiction, seems to be the object of one bad news story after another. It’s bad for our health, bad for our kids, bad for our bodies and our eyes and you name it, it’s bad for it. But some recent events have actually illuminated something quite nice for once.
As gossip blogs are outing gay people right and left, and as actors we’ve grown comfortable with on television are being forced to declare their homosexuality, many have been wondering, what will be the fallout? Well, as it turns out, it’s sort of a non-issue. Whoda thunk it?
T.R. Knight, who plays George on Grey’s Anatomy, is known for being obsessed with Meredith, and now dating hottie Doctor Torres (Sara Ramirez), was outed by fellow cast member Isaiah Washington, who plays Dr. Burke, on the show’s set, and shortly thereafter had to out himself to the American public.
On the heels of that announcement, came Neil Patrick Harris’ confession that, yes, he too was gay. He played a gay character in the Madonna film, The Next Best Thing but has always been Doogie to us. Moreover, he plays a womanizer on How I Met Your Mother. The funny thing is, it doesn’t even matter!
George is as believable as a hetero on Grey’s as he ever was. There is no difference in his character – we still want to see him get down on one knee and propose to Callie. Who would have ever thought the transition would be that easy?
How much do Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell have to do with normalizing something that Americans had been kept in the dark about? It’s hard to say. But it doesn’t hurt that Ellen is so popular she’s hosting the 79th Academy Awards next year.
The practice of outing people is mean and vicious. It has to do with the ease of the spread of information on the Internet. Scarily enough, most of it turns out to be true but it is also true that it is none of our business.
The really sad part is that many of those who are outing actors who were in the closet are very out gay men. They have no problem with their sexuality and appear to want everyone else to feel the same way. But it makes we, the American public, feel like we’re peering into a window we shouldn’t be looking in. If they choose it for themselves, fine. If not, fine.
Neil Patrick Harris is a standup guy and frankly, this writer is relieved that he finally came out because it’s good for him and good for everyone. I remember playing with my daughter in a park in West Hollywood and Harris was there with his partner and some kids and I knew then that he had to be gay. That was a few years ago. I remember thinking, he’s so open about it here and now I wonder how long it will be before the rest of the world finds out and what that will mean?
I’m happy to report that it hasn’t changed anything. Both Harris and Knight will be just fine. Good for them. Better, though, that the gay thing turned out not to be a thing at all but just another disposable news story.