AfterEllen.com 2007 Visibility Awards

BEST SPECIAL LESBIAN EPISODE ON SCRIPTED TELEVISION

WINNER: "Muffin Man" (March 1, 2007), The Sarah Silverman
Program
(Comedy Central)

When Sarah temporarily decides she’s gay after meeting a butch lesbian cop,
the stereotypes start flying fast and thick, complete with flannel, folksinging
and motorcycles, plus Sarah’s awkward attempt to show just how OK she is with
lesbianism by asking: "What is a lesbian? What is anything? Like, what’s
a unicorn? It’s a horse with a horn on its head that’s magic. A lesbian is just
a woman with a horn on her head that’s magic." But the funniest moment
occurs when Sarah tells her straight friend, "As a lesbian, I resent your
laughter. And all laughter."

We’re not always a fan of lesbian jokes made by straight people on television,
but when Silverman’s telling them, it works because we’re in on the joke, not
the butt of it.

RUNNER-UP: "Long Weekend" (Sept. 27, 2007), Mad
Men
(AMC)

On this episode of AMC’s drama about
a group of New York ad execs in the ’60s, Carol (Kate Norby) confesses her love
for her straight roommate, Joan (Christina Hendricks), a bookkeeper at the ad
firm who is sleeping with the boss (and various other men at any given time).
Joan’s easy dismissal of Carol’s confession is both heartbreaking and all too
familiar to lesbians of any generation.

WORST SPECIAL LESBIAN EPISODE ON SCRIPTED TELEVISION

WINNER: "Lonelyville" (Oct. 25, 2007), Law and Order: Criminal
Intent
(NBC)

Detectives Logan (Chris Noth) and Falacci’s (Alicia Witt) investigation into
the murder of a young Ukrainian woman leads them to a blackmailing scheme masterminded
by a lesbian lawyer (played by Lola Glaudini), who was fired from her last job
for sexually harassing her female secretary, and who is currently sexually and
emotionally manipulating another woman into doing her dirty work for her.
A lesbian as sexual harasser, blackmailer and murderer? It’s a
plot straight out of The Religious Right’s Guide to the Lesbian Lifestyle,
with no lesbian detectives or lawyers on any version of Law and Order to balance it out with a more realistic or positive portrayal.

BEST AND WORST GUESTBIAN ON A SCRIPTED TV SERIES

WINNER: Jennifer Aniston on FX’s Dirt
(March 27, 2007)

Jennifer Aniston‘s appearance
as a lesbian tabloid editor in competition with Lucy (Courteney Cox) in the
season finale was brilliant and well-played — a lesbian wolf in sheep’s
clothing. But the show itself was a sleazefest (and not in a good way), and
the kiss between Aniston and Cox completely overhyped and exploited for ratings.
Like Aniston’s character herself, the episode was one big tease. That doesn’t
mean some of us didn’t like it.

BEST CANCELLED SERIES STARRING AN OUT LESBIAN/BI
WOMAN

WINNER: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC)

Criticized for being too elitist, self-absorbed or simply uninteresting, this
Aaron Sorkin series about the drama behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show à la Saturday Night Live wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea (hence the
cancellation). But it still had many devoted fans, and out actress Sarah
Paulson
delivered an excellent performance as a Christian actress struggling
with her feelings for her on-again, off-again boyfriend Matt (Matthew Perry),
and with her efforts to reconcile her faith with the demands of her career.
Not a great show, but often a good one — and an excellent introduction to Paulson’s
talent for those who don’t frequent Broadway.

WORST CANCELLED SERIES STARRING AN OUT LESBIAN/BI
WOMAN

WINNER: Painkiller Jane (Sci Fi)

Technically, this sci-fi series based on the comic about a woman who is impervious
to injury but not pain wasn’t cancelled, it just wasn’t renewed for a second
season. But either way, it wasn’t a hit with viewers — and for good reason.
Although out actress Kristanna Loken
was convincing in the lead role, her character wasn’t fleshed out enough, the
supporting characters were uninteresting, and the episodes quickly devolved
into boring monster-of-the-week stories. Here’s hoping Loken finds a better
vehicle for her talents in 2008!

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