2008 Year in Review: Television

Minor but memorable

In addition to the more headline-grabbing primetime programs
on both broadcast and cable television, there were also a number of shows in
2008 with minor lesbian and bisexual characters, as well as inventive
lesbian/bisexual subplots.

For example, the CBS comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine featured a brief lesbian
marriage storyline, centered around Christine (Julia Louis Dreyfus) marrying
her best friend Barb (played by the newly out and recently married Wanda Sykes)
to help her obtain US citizenship, back in the good old days in California when gay marriage was still legal (pre-Prop 8).

Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), left, and Barb (Wanda Sykes)

In October, ABC comedy Samantha Who? featured a predictable but funny episode involving one of the show’s straight characters vying for the attention of the hot office lesbian.

The critically acclaimed Friday
Night Lights
also included a new lesbian character who is already winning over critics and
audiences alike, and a lesbian couple made a brief appearance on a recent
episode of ER.

Helen Eigenberg (center) and Robin Weigert guest star on ER

In the case of minor characters like these, our hope is always that
their stories might just blossom into something bigger in the coming year.

ABC Family’s drama Lincoln Heights included a recurring lesbian character who finally got to dance with the girl she liked at the prom in the season finale, resulting in a rare depiction of a black lesbian couple on TV.

When 90210 premiered this fall, Lauren London guest-starred as a cheerleader who made only a brief mention of her bisexuality. This month we learned that her character would be back in 2009, this time with a girlfriend.

Christina (Lauren London) on 90210

Finally, as we’ve come to expect, the roles of lesbian
victims and villains were in abundance as usual on multiple crime procedurals
this year. As Sarah Warn noted in her Visibility Matters column “The
Disappearing Lesbian on Primetime
Broadcast TV
,” “In just the first two months of the 2009-2009 season, we’ve had sadomasochistic lesbian crime victims on Life; a dead
lesbian astronaut and her grieving partner
on Law and Order: SVU;
and a
dead lesbian victim’s advocate
on Without a Trace.”

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