Hollywood to Lesbians: “We’re Just Not That Into You”

 
 

If you are a lesbian or bisexual woman and you own a television, now is the winter of your discontent.

So far, this season hasn’t been kind to the women who love women. In fact, it’s been downright disturbing. While relationships may have started — to mix our literary metaphors — with great expectations, they’ve almost universally ended in terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ways.

The year has been one of disappointment, despair and discombobulating developments for lesbian and bisexual characters. I mean, seriously, WTF, television?

— Callie and Erica (Sara Ramirez and Brooke Smith) on Grey’s Anatomy? Vanished into the parking lot of no return.

— Liz (Roma Maffia) on NipTuck? Sleeping with male colleague Christian and questioning her sexuality.

— Olivia (Portia de Rossi) on Nip/Tuck. Dead, so I guess maybe Liz actually lucked out.

— Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) on House? Counting out women for Snoreteen Foreteen (Note: we would never have given you a brain tumor, honey).

— Angela and Roxie (Michaela Conlin and Nichole Hiltz) on Bones? Don’t even bother settling in for the long haul because the show’s producer has called your relationship “a bump in the road.”

— Bianca and Reese (Eden Riegel and Tamara Braun) on All My Children? Coupling cold feet and hot lips is not a good sign for the last long-term lesbian relationship on American broadcast television.

Hell, even our one major lesbian drama has killed off a major character. We’re not even safe from our own kind. Yes, Ilene Chaiken, I am looking at you.

For lesbian and bisexual viewers, this has added up to a season of screaming at our televisions night after night. TV repair people of the world, don’t be surprised if you see a rash of women come into your shops with their fists through their screens.

Roxie and Angela (Michaela Conlin and Nichole Hiltz) on Bones

Queer women are all too familiar with the short-term nature of our television appearances. We’re good for a girl-on-girl kiss ratings boost during sweeps. We generate a few nice headlines and self-congratulatory slaps on the back at first.

But then, once it’s time to get down to the real business of the season, we get kicked to the curb.

Gosh, that was nice. Thanks for the fling, ladies. Now we’ve got to get back to the real relationships.

Foreman and Thirteen (Omar Epps and Olivia Wilde) on House

While we’ve resigned ourselves to the sad fact of our “very special episode”-ness in seasons past, this year it seems particularly unacceptable. With the wounds of the Proposition 8 battle still fresh and the taste of sweet hopefulness of a new President still palpable, we simply refuse to be ushered to the back of the bus of visibility once again.

Haven’t we progressed past this yet? Must we always be forced to swallow this bitter, bitter pill year after year?

Can’t anyone write a lesbian storyline that doesn’t end in a U-turn back to heteroville, an incomprehensible break-up or flat-out death?

Christian and Liz (Julian McMahon and Roma Maffia) on Nip/Tuck

Am I really being forced to pine for the days when the lesbian just got pregnant on every show?

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