“50 Greatest TV Icons” – and 5 Great TV Dykons


I really like my Entertainment

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.

Lucille Ball

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

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

, 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

) — 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?

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