Last night, during the penultimate episode of Good Luck Charlie, The Disney Channel finally introduced its first ever gay characters: a lesbian couple named Susan and Cheryl, and while it was a really big deal for LGBTQ visibility—Susan and Cheryl are the first gay couple on any child-targeting network—the show handled their sexuality as a complete non-issue. The writers didn’t make any Everybody Loves Raymond-style jokes at the expense of the lesbian characters. There were no Three’s Company-style misunderstandings about the characters’ relationship. It was organic and breezy and revolutionary in its normalcy.
Here’s how it went down:
When Amy told Bob she’d set up a play date with one of Charlie’s friends, she dropped the name of the girl’s mom: Susan. Bob says he’s met Taylor’s mom before and he’s pretty sure her name is Cheryl. The confusion is cleared up when both Cheryl and Susan show up at the door with Taylor in tow. Taylor runs into the house to play, while Bob and Amy welcome Cheryl and Susan inside. Bob says, “Ohhh, Taylor has two moms.” And Amy replies, “Wow, nothing gets past you, Bob.” It’s a non-issue to them and it’s a non-issue for Charlier. Some kids have two moms and some kids have two dads and some kids have a mom and a dad. That’s just the shape of the world, kids. No big deal.
The Disney Channel knew the introduction of Susan and Cheryl was going to be a problem with some conservative groups (most loudly, One Million Moms, the hyper-religious group comprised of about 100 moms), so they preempted the complaining with a statement back in July, saying that the episode would be written “under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisers.” Which is ridiculous and hilarious, but they went through with their plans, so I applaud them fervently. Hopefully, Disney Channel’s future will unfold just as the One Million Moms predict: ”If Good Luck Charlie goes through with introducing LGBT content, then the floodgates will be opened for all programs on the Disney Channel–a trend that will be almost impossible to stop.”
That’s actually exactly what happened with ABC Family, and would you get a load of the dozens of queer female characters (and lesbian/gay writers and showrunners and directors) on that network now? They practically run the place! Seriously, here’s hoping Disney (and Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network and the like) hop on board the Children’s Visibility Train. It’s finally leaving the station!
Did you catch last night’s Good Luck Charlie? What did you think?