I really like my Entertainment
Weekly subscription. It was a total suckered-in kind of thing. I got the “free
trial” that I was going to cancel before the not-free period began.
Right. But I enjoy the magazine, and I particularly appreciate the subscription
when I learn of fun things — such as the Entertainment Weeky/TV Land special The 50 Greatest TV Icons, scheduled to air this Friday night.
I’ll be out of town on Friday
night, but my DVR is already set. I love me some TV and I want to know
who is crowned the Greatest TV Icon of all time. I know who I’d pick:
Kermit the Frog.
Unfortunately, I suspect that
Kermit will not be number one because he’s pictured in the listing in
the magazine. Where would the suspense be then?
But let’s watch a video of
TV icon Kermit singing his iconic song, “The Rainbow Connection,”
with punk icon Debbie Harry —
just because it’s fun.
A number of the other icons
have also been explicitly or implicitly mentioned in one news source or another: Simon Cowell, Ed Sullivan,
Andy Griffith, Homer Simpson, Lassie, Milton Berle.
And there are some women, too.
is an obvious one. (I feel a sad connection to her because she died
on my birthday.)
Susan Lucci is a less obvious
one. (I feel an affectionate connection because I was her one Halloween.
My friend was an Emmy running away from me.)
Oprah, of course, is one of the top icons.
As is Carol Burnett
(whom I sat near in a restaurant once.)
Finally, there’s Buffy.
And, of course, Ellen DeGeneres.
The other 37 or so are a secret
and will be revealed on Friday night. (Can you handle the suspense?)
It’s fairly easy to speculate about some of the others. I’ll bet Mary
Tyler Moore will be one. (I may have seen that confirmed somewhere.)
I’d like to see Maude (Bea Arthur) in there. Someone from The Brady
Bunch has to be there, as does Fonzie from Happy Days. I’m
sure I could go on. But I won’t.
Instead, I’ll muse for a moment
about the TV icons that mattered most to me when I was growing up glued
to the TV set. That’s right: the lesbian icon (or dykon, if you prefer). Ellen, of course, will
represent, but I was an adult by the time she was on the scene. The
lesbian icons I’m talking about are the ones I glommed onto when I was
an impressionable youth. These characters were not actually out lesbians,
but they were as lesbian as TV got during my childhood — with one from
my adulthood thrown in for good measure. So here are my top five.
5. Letita “Buddy” Lawrence
(Kristy McNichol) — Family
She was always dating or interested
in boys — Willie Aames, Leif Garrett — but little Buddy was the
baby dyke character of the ’70s. When she was afraid of her lesbian teacher
(Blair Brown), I knew that it was her own feelings she really
4. Charlie’s Angels (Farrah
Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith) — Charlie’s Angels
They were athletic and smart
and knew martial arts. Enough said. I know that Sabrina (Kate Jackson)
was the one whom most young lesbians found most compelling, but I was
always drawn to Kelly (Jaclyn Smith). I guess I’ve always liked a girly-girl
who can kick ass.
3. Jaime Sommers (Lindsay
Wagner) — The Bionic Woman
This is another no-brainer.
Yes, she was romantically involved with Steve Austin at one point, but
they dispensed with that relationship as soon as she got bionic. And
she was a professional tennis player. And she was hot.
2. Jane Lane — Daria
I was an adult when Daria
was on the air. And Jane, of course, was a cartoon character. But if
my Emmy-costume friend could have a crush on Flounder (the fish best
friend in The Little Mermaid), I figured I could have a crush
on Jane. Yes, she dated Tom for a while, but Jane was the nonconformist
artist with the multiple earrings and the bad attitude. She had so much
lesbian role model potential.
1. Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon) — The Facts of Life
Oh, Jo. You were the
lesbian icon of my youth. I don’t know whether I had a crush on you
or identified with you, but you are the most enduring TV icon from my
early adolescence. So I crown you Greatest TV Dykon of all time.
Here’s a subtexty clip of Jo
and Blair realizing how much more alike than different they are:
So who are your favorite icons,
lesbian or otherwise?