2011 Year in Review: TV

 
 

Logo’s Exes & Ohs also returned to Logo this year with Michelle Paradise continuing to delight viewers with her portrayal of the affable, floundering Jennifer trying to navigate the wild world of lesbian dating. In season three, she made the age-old mistake of recording a sex tape and falling in love with her best friend — much to the delight and lesbian fans everywhere. One of the most exciting things about Exes & Ohs is that it was written and acted by lots of openly gay women. A show for lesbians, by lesbians — and no one was murdered in a swimming pool. Revolutionary!

2011 also saw an upsurge in supporting and recurring lesbian and bisexual characters. CBS, a network that almost always fails miserably on GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index, gave us the lesbian Brenda on Rules of Engagement, as well as Sophia, the aforementioned love interest for Kalinda on The Good Wife. FX’s pride and joy Archer gave a little bit of screen time to bisexual Pam; TeenNick’s Degrassi considered a love interest for lesbian character Fiona; gay icon Lucy Lawless saw some lesbian action as Lucretia on Spartacus: Vengance; we finally met Dianna Barrigan’s oft mentioned girlfriend on White Collar; Nurse Jackie‘s bisexual Dr. O’Hara continued to delight us; Syfy’s American adaptation of Being Human kept Emily’s queer sexuality in tact; Showtime’s Shameless gave us three supporting lesbian and bisexual characters; and even though she lost half of her face, True Blood‘s lesbian Pam De Beaufort kept our undying affection.

THE DOWNSIDE

One of the most discouraging losses of 2011 was the cancellation of ABC’s long-running soap All My Children. In the show’s waning days, they brought back fan favorite Bianca and finally allowed her a love interest that deserved her commitment and affection. Marissa made the journey from enemy to lover, from the closet to the wide open spaces of a white picket fenced-in yard, where she hoped to make a family with Bianca once she realized she was in love with her. The Minx relationship was a slow burn, but the payoff — and their happily ever after — made it worth the investment. They may not have been the longest-running couple in TV history, but they will certainly go down as one of daytime’s most beloved.

Then there were the year’s axe-murders. Or, well, gun murders. After finally giving the long-suffering Angela Darmody an attentive, adoring women to love, Boardwalk Empire promptly killed them both. Angela’s girlfriend was enjoying a post-coital shower when she was treated to a shower of bullets from one of Angela’s husband’s enemies, and then the mobster turned his gun on Angela. Also meeting an untimely death (apparently) was True Blood‘s bisexual Tara, who took a bullet in the last episode of the season after forging a relationship with Naomi. We’re sensing an unwelcome pattern, HBO!

2011 also gave us a full season run and first season cancellation of a US remake of the beloved UK series Skins. The sexual journey of Tea Marvelli was one of the most hotly (and caustically) debated storylines on AfterEllen.com this year. Skins co-creator Bryan Elsley adapted the show for an American audience, and after giving the world the beloved Naomily, many lesbian fans believed he could do no wrong. Unfortunately, Elsey tapped into the societal stigma and long-running TV trope that lesbians are just straight women who haven’t found the right man yet. Tea started off the series as a confident, out lesbian, but spent most of the episodes battling her attraction to Tony. In the end, she realized that she was chasing Tony as a way to run away from her growing feelings for Betty and her fear of intimacy. She stripped down to nothing and climbed in Betty’s hospital bed in the closing minutes of the finale. Many mainstream critics and plenty of lesbian fan found Tea’s journey fascinating and refreshing, but a vocal majority abhorred the another portrayal of a lesbian character questioning her sexuality by sleeping with a man.

We lost HawthoRNe‘s lesbian nurse Kelly due to cancellation in 2011, as well as Alice, the Bunny from NBC’s The Playboy Club, a show that saw more hype than airtime, as the network pulled it after only three episodes. We also sent House‘s resident bisexual Thirteen off with a nod to an off-screen girlfriend as Olivia Wilde left the show to pursue a blossoming movie career.

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