MICHAEL AND BRIAN TOGETHER — IT'S TWICE THE FUN!
This week's column is a little different as it's written by both myself (Michael) and AfterElton.com's associate editor Brian Juergens who was holding down the fort while I was out of the office at the Television Critics Association July Press Tour in Los Angeles. Everything about press tour is by me while Brian did the rest!
SO WHAT'S THE TCA TAKEAWAY?
Well, it's been three weeks of the TCA Press Tour in Los Angeles, and while I still haven't digested the whole thing (think python swallowing a zebra), I think it's possible to draw certain conclusions. Unfortunately, I can't report this fall will present any great breakthroughs in gay representation. We're going to continue to see a lot of "gay" episodes (think Cold Case's "Forever Blue") and secondary gay characters who get occasional screen time. On the plus side, there is no Help Me Help You or The Class with "gay" characters that either don't know they are gay or are supposed to be funny because they act really gay but supposedly aren't.
Of the major broadcast networks, ABC still clearly leads the pack when it comes to gay representation. While ABC itself hasn't added another character as high profile as Brother & Sister's Kevin Walker (Matthew Rhys), ABC Family does have a character who might very well be as interesting and well-rounded with Calvin (Paul James) on Greek, a show that is being shockingly upfront about its gay content.
How upfront? Before each TCA panel they show a clip of the show designed to convince critics that their show is something they should write about. And the clip from Greek that ABC Family chose to show is from this coming Monday's episode when ***SPOILER ALERT*** Calvin comes out to Rusty (Jacob Zachar). It was a great scene and that managed to feel real and fresh, yet will be familiar to most gay men. Even better, it confirms Calvin is a character comfortable with his sexuality. Thankfully we're not looking at an exercise is "Oh, no I'm gay!" angst.
Not surprisingly, the first question after the clip concerned Calvin, however it wasn't about how the character might be "controversial," but rather just a standard question about the character's personality. But Sean Smith, Greek's out creator and executive producer did address Calvin's sexuality, saying, "his sexuality is part of him…but he's more than just a sexual orientation … He doesn't seem burdened by it…I feel like we've seen that story before. He's totally comfortable with it and that's great."
Amen, to that!
After the panel, I spoke to Smith who talked about the genesis of the show, how supportive ABC Family has been, the difficulties in casting the role of Calvin, and more that you can read in our upcoming article on the show. Oh, and that's a picture of Heath (Zack Lively, pictured) the frat boy Calvin has been hooking up with — just like a regular college kid! Three cheers for Smith and ABC Family.