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Fall 2011: What’s Gay on TV?

 Labor Day has come and gone… making it officially fall to many people. With fall comes cooler weather (right???), football games, the turning of the leaves… and TV shows! Whether back from summer hiatus or brand new, let’s take a look at a few of the shows in this fall’s Fall Line Up… through the lens of how LGBT friendly they might be.

 First up, Dancing With The Stars comes back with a bang and makes history with the inclusion of Chaz Bono . I doubt he needs an introduction on this site, but here goes: Chaz, formerly Chastity Bono, is the sole child of Sonny and Cher. His female to male transition has been public for the past three years and has been supremely instrumental in bringing the idea of transition into the day to day lives of a lot of Americans who had never heard the term before. He is, I think, one of the most famous transgendered men in pop culture and is an activist and a lecturer. Transgendered groups, as well as Cher herself, are loudly supportive of this casting choice, and while there has been a flurry of “The sky is falling” rhetoric from the Christian right, one can only hope that the more often the general public is reminded that trans people are not just present in our society but also dramatically active and useful members to boot, the better. DWTS premiers on September 18th.

 Next up we have The Playboy Club which many are calling NBC’s answer to AMC’s Mad Men. Also set in 1961 (but in Chicago) this period piece will showcase the changing American world through the lens of, you guessed it, a Playboy Club. The tag line for the show is “Where the men hold the keys but the women hold the power” and for us skeptical women out there, the show promises to dwell on the positive aspects of being a bunny. Like the money. And to bring it back to our LGBT theme, there is a lesbian bunny. Alice a closeted lesbian bunny who is married to a gay man. Together, they pool money for theMattachine Society Chicago chapter, which was a huge LGBT rights group in the 1960s. Although this storyline was only a small part of the pilot, the producers say it will definitely be a big part of the show.

Glee returns on Tuesday the 20th . With new cast members and the eventual story arcs involving the winners of the Glee Project ( including Alex who performed in drag a good part of the time) we have high hopes for the third season of this very LGBT friendly show.

 Attempting to market to those a bit too old for Glee but who still love musical theater, NBC offers Smash which promises to deal with LGBT related themes as well as appeal to a broad LGBT audience. Only time will tell if they can hit the high notes on this. (Smash is a midseason show and won’t premier until 2012.)

 On The Good Wife, Owen will finally get a long term love interest moving this gay side character into the gay limelight. Producers want to be realistic… gay brothers aren’t always single, apparently. Also a reoccurring guest spot will go to out actor Harvey Fierstein The Good Wife already gets a nod of appreciation for a series regular bisexual character, Kalinda. (Archie Panjabi won an Emmy for her portrayal.) The next season begins on September 25th.

 On FX, Archer, home to two regular gay and bisexual characters, will premier its 3rd season In late September but keep the rest of the season for 2012. If you need to catch up on this animated twisted espionage show that is really like no other, the episodes are available on hulu.com 

Gossip Girl returns on the CW on September 26th. This fan favorite broke ground with its gay character and GLADD has repeatedly showered praise on the CW for its portrayal of its queer characters.

 And lastly a random tid bit of information from GLADD and The Advocate : ABC Family: The only cable network to receive an "excellent" rating [from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's annual report on the media's portrayal of LGBT people]. ABC Family was initially founded in 1977 as an extension of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network. Nowadays the channel is nothing like Robertson's network, with a history of gay-inclusive shows like Kyle XY and Greek, which have attracted a young, loyal viewership. Fifty-five percent of the network's prime-time programming was LGBT-inclusive, thanks to shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Huge, and Make It or Break It

 ABC Fall Preview:


 CW Fall Preview:
 

 NBC Fall Preview:
 

 FOX Fall Preview
 

 I know this list isn’t complete, but I hope it helps you figure out what to watch while procrastinating whether it be your homework or your laundry. Happy viewing!

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