Next week's episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will feature Kathy Griffin playing a lesbian activist named Babs Duffy. The comedian and self-professed friend of the gays has been talking up the episode, "P.C.," with several press outlets in the past few months. She spoke highly of working with Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, the latter's character, Detective Olivia Benson, being a large reason the show has such a huge lesbian audience.
Because I currently have to rely on the internets for my American TV shows (save the ridiculous smattering of FBI/cop shows they export to Danish television), I'm only now catching the recently-canceled reruns of the short-lived animated sitcom by Office Space/Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge, The Goode Family. The Goodes are the epitome of clueless liberals—painfully white, completely unaware of what PC language they oughta be using, and seemingly unwilling to learn why that might matter beyond not embarrassing themselves or their black neighbor. Their adopted son Ubuntu marks "African American" on his driver's license because while white, he was born in South Africa, his academic father insists. Obsessed with environmentalism, the Goodes drive a hybrid, though dad mostly bikes everywhere and is often seen in his bike gear, totally out of context. The family is vegan, shops at a ridiculously expensive snooty grocery, and even gives their dog Che vegan dog food (though he often sneaks off to chase and eat neighborhood animals). The entire premise—if you have enough progressive political awareness to get the jokes and can laugh at yourself—is riotously funny.
Just when you though you might not want another reality show about making it big in the fashion world, along comes Boss Ladies. Billed as "an exciting hybrid of 'The Real Housewives' and 'Project Runway'" (yay?) viewers follow five transgendered women from Atlanta to Los Angeles as they try to launch a clothing line and open a boutique.
For a while, it really seemed like Rachel Maddow was respected. While conservatives surely disagreed with her, most of them would give her an interview on her show, or seem to acknowledge her as someone to watch out for. She had an educated opinion, and she was eerily intelligent and well-spoken. (To some, I'm sure, that ignored Air America, she "came out of nowhere.")
Suddenly, Rachel Maddow has become a target. Andrew Breitbart, just yesterday, told the press what he'd say to Maddow, if he ever has the pleasure of meeting her:
I hope to see you and give you a lovely hug because you validated my hopes and aspirations and my business model because you're so bad at what you do.
As a television watching feminist, I was shocked when I found out Steve Ward was asked back to do another season of his dating show, Tough Love. After all, the first season was full of all kinds of problematic messages about women and dating. At least as the season went on, his dating advice became challenged more and more. But by the second season, this dynamic has evaporated and the women on the show generally do not challenge Steve on his edicts. Season two also brings a new pet challenge in for Steve - reforming a sex worker.
Tower Block of Commons is a four-episode reality TV series in the UK that features five Members of Parliament (MP) who have agreed to live for eight days in British housing projects, or, as they're called across the pond, "tower block estates." Each MP was given £64.30 (appx $100 USD) to cover their expenses for the week. (The amount is the average weekly allowance provided to a job seeker receiving public assistance.) The point of the experiment was to pull the privileged MPs out of their posh lifestyle bubble and sensitize them to the struggles of working class people. But (surprise!) less than 24-hours into the experiment, one of them was caught cheating.
Last night, Ellen DeGeneres made her debut as a judge on American Idol and ratings soared. Also this week, her wife Portia de Rossi announced plans for her tell-all memoir and shared her feelings on gay marriage, eating disorders and being out in Hollywood as the cover girl of The Advocate. A lesbian power couple? You bet. The ideal lesbian poster women? More than ever.
Portia and Ellen are hugely influential gay women that are very important to lesbian visibility. Prior to meeting Portia, Ellen was very private and, outside of coming out in the '90s, remained relatively quiet on the subject of gay rights or sexuality in general. After she and Portia announced their nuptial plans, and allowed People magazine to capture the event, they have become outspoken on the topic of LGBT rights and we are only better off for it.
It's hard to make an argument for paying attention to the Miss America pageant because the pageant hasn't really made a compelling argument for its continued existence. Why hype up a competition that has so little ultimately at stake?