Best. Gay. Week. Ever. (February 05, 2010)

Can we talk just amongst ourselves for a second? We all know that ad isn’t really any good right? Come on, MAD TV did that joke years ago. Frankly, they did it better.

And I know ManCrunch says they have the $2.5 million dollars to pay for the spot, but I can’t be the only one who thinks they would’ve found a loophole to get out of actually airing the ad (um, our gay dog … ate the check), and that this was really all just a brilliant publicity stunt, right?

Two football fans suddenly kissing was funny … four years ago

Which of course means, CBS was perfectly within their rights to reject the ad.

And yet, I couldn’t be happier to see the network hang on the cross over this. Call it Karma. Call it payback. Call it fun to watch.

So often in life, people — or giant corporations — don’t get their comeuppance for that which they most deserve it. Think O.J. Simpson going to prison over those "stolen" souvenirs in Las Vegas. Except he deserved to go to prison for that, too. Anyway, this whole ManCrunch fiasco seems like a case in point. 

Honestly, if CBS had done a better job with gay issues over the years — say by not blurring out Adam Lambert‘s same-sex kiss during a news story the network aired about the American Music Awards — not only would I be a lot less hard on them over this, but I don’t think they would look as guilty of being homophobic as they do.

This is what happens when you not only previously turn down a pro-gay ad from a gay-friendly church because you don’t do advocacy advertisements, only to then turn around and secretly (and probably retroactively) change your policy so you can take money from one of the most homophobic groups in the country. Then on top of that, it comes out that you also worked with said group in order to create their ad. (Check out the Super Bowl commercial ads CBS didn’t want you seeing!) 

How can us ‘mos not enjoy watching that blow up in the network’s face? 

At least when ABC censored Adam Lambert on the American Music Awards, the network could legitimately rebut claims of their being homophobic by pointing to their record of GLBT visibility on the network from Brothers & Sisters to Ugly Betty to Modern Family.

Meanwhile, all CBS primetime has are their reality programs, even the best of which — The Amazing Race — has had a few issues (you’re the deaf one, Luke. Don’t talk about being gay!). And when the subject turns to scripted characters on CBS, forget about it as the network currently has … none. That’s right, there are no regular or recurring GLBT characters anywhere on the network.

In fact, for the last really good gay scripted character on CBS, you have to go all the way back to December of 2006 and the "Forever Blue" episode of Cold Case. Hmm, not exactly a record of inclusiveness that CBS can fall back on there, is it?

Sean: Can you believe three years from now, we’ll still be the best gay characters on CBS?
Jimmy: Um, you sure know how to sweet talk a guy, don’t you?

Which isn’t to say CBS hasn’t said all the right things about GLBT visibility. Back in the spring of 2008, we published our  Gays in Primetime &#8212 A Special Investigative Report which included an interview with CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler who told us that “philosophically” [CBS] is about is a “policy of inclusion,” and that CBS programming “has got to reflect what our audience looks like.”

In this case, "philosophically" means "I have no excuse for our pathetic record so am going to instead use pretty, big words that mean nothing in this context in hopes of distracting you. This is why I get paid millions of dollars. Is it working?

Um, no, Nina. Sorry. 

Tassler also said the network was working really really hard to make sure writers and producers knew how much the network wanted to be diverse by constantly asking “Could this character be transgender, or could this character be gay or lesbian?” 

Gosh, I wonder if Tassler was speaking some long dead language none of the writers spoke because not much changed despite that philosophy of inclusion. When we pointed out that their policy wasn’t showing much in the way of dividends, Tassler admitted “It is few and far between. I know we haven’t done enough. And I know we can do more.”

Yeah, so do we. And yet when I again asked Tassler about the issue more than a year later in the summer of 2009, I got more of the same promises that the network again failed to fulfill. 

So while I don’t really think homophobia fueled CBS’ decision to pass on the ManCrunch’s ad, the network clearly does have a problem when it comes to GLBT visibility. And if getting pummeled over this is what it takes to finally get their attention, then so be it. Hand me my pummeling stick and let’s get started.

Not that I’m really expecting much to change. 

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