WGA panel “The State of LGBT Characters on TV: What’s New?” touches on lesbian tropes

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Rachel Bloom kissed a girl and she liked it.

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At a panel last night held at the Writers Guild of America in Los Angeles called “The State of LGBT Characters on TV: What’s New?” Bloom, who co-created and stars in the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, gushed at a moment early in the series where she locked lips with another female character.

“In the second episode I make out with a girl and Gabrielle [Ruiz, who plays straight character Valencia] and I [were] so psyched because we had never made out with another girl before…I get to tongue kiss another girl! How fun! I just want to say for me it was really fun. I was really excited about it,” Bloom happily said to which another panelist, lesbian writer Becky Mann (The Real O’Neals), said with a smile, “Me, too.”

Could we see more LGBT characters in season two of the CW series? Crazy Ex-GF co-creator/executive producer Aline Brosh McKenna teased, “there could be more” to which Bloom added that she has a character in mind but wasn’t ready to reveal who that might be or whether they’d be female or male.

Besides Bloom, McKenna and Mann, the panel also included Sonay Hoffman (American Crime), Carter Covington (Faking It), Pete Nowalk (How To Get Away With Murder) and Dan Goor (Brooklyn 99), who all have LGBT characters in their respective shows.

Also on the panel was Jane the Virgin executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman, who talked about the lesbian character of Luisa. With a cast of mostly straight men and women, the beloved Yara Martinez character, Snyder explained, “is sort of the catalyst for all the drama on our show and who early on we identified as married in some states in the pilot and now that’s out of date, which is amazing.” She also noted that especially in the first season, Luisa was having more sex than any of the other characters.

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Asked about a quote from an earlier interview with AfterEllen where she talked about how she and her writers work sexuality into the fabric of the show without it being an issue, Urman explained, “I think it’s just by thinking about a lot of details about them so who their family is, who they want to sleep with, what their religion is, how much money they have and we try to really think about all those things at once in coming up with the character. We don’t lay a lot of that on sexuality, we lay that on personality.” She also added that when Luisa comes on the show all the writers on staff are dying to write for her.

During the Q&A portion of the event, a female audience member asked the panel about The Lexa Pledge in terms of the writers’ responsibility of protecting their gay characters from death. Urman said she wasn’t aware of the death of lesbian character trope [before The 100 killed off Lexa] and said she can’t always respond to tweets and fan reaction because Jane is a lot about secrets and she doesn’t want to spoil story developments that have yet to air. (Rose, aka Sin Rostro, played by Bridget Regan, was strangled earlier this season but could there be more to this story?)

“I think about it a lot,” Urman admitted about killing off LGBT characters and the fan reaction. “I really empathize with the lack of representation and with what those representations mean and I think they’re always going to be so meaningful until there’s so many that each one doesn’t have the burden of happy endings. Once it becomes in every show there are LGBT characters hat are good, and that are bad and that cheat and that die and that live and get married…I feel like Jane, in particular, has been a part of that and I’m trying to let the season play out and then I’m interested in what people have to say when the season is done.”

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In terms of LGBT fans for Crazy Ex-GF, a show that has LGBT characters but isn’t necessarily what anyone would call a ‘gay show,’ Bloom explained enthusiastically that she sees having gay fans of her work as a very, very good thing. “It’s the highest honor for me that we can have fans of the show who also happen to be gay,” she said.

She admitted that while she doesn’t fully understand it, she feels a strong bond to other LGBT people, especially men. “When I meet gay men it’s like when I meet other Jews. It’s like a dog whistle common ground.…when I was doing music videos and when I found out that some of my songs were being performed in drag clubs, that was the highest compliment.”

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