Michaline Babich Gives Us Some Sugar

on

"In TV you’re making wallpaper for people’s lives, so

you may as well make it as diverse as possible," said

filmmaker and television producer Michaline Babich in a recent interview with

AfterEllen.com, adding that she includes underrepresented communities in all of

her projects.

Babich is the executive producer and director of the new

reality series Gimme Sugar,

currently airing on Logo, AfterEllen.com’s parent company. The show follows a

group of friends in their early 20s as they navigate the lesbian club scene in Los Angeles. Of the five

women featured, three are Asian Americans, and at least one identifies as

bisexual.

"If I have the opportunity to expand people’s

awareness, then to not do so would be a waste," Babich said.

Babich has won awards for her documentary and narrative

short films, including The Last Days of

Jonathan Perlo
(a 2005 official Sundance selection) and Solace (which won the 2008 Members

Choice Award for PlanetOut and Gay.com). Solace

is currently airing on Logo’s The

Click List: The Best in Short Film
. In May, Babich was named by Power Up as

one of 2008’s 10 Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz, and she will be honored at their

annual gala this fall.

Despite all the hype, Babich is very unassuming regarding

her own work. Referring to Gimme Sugar,

she said: "It’s not groundbreaking in any way, but just an entertaining

show about lesbians. Straight audiences and gay boys love the show, and I love

that it’s crossing over. People are watching it for pure entertainment, and

that opens people’s eyes."

The cast of Gimme Sugar

Babich grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, where "being gay seemed

crazy to some people." So she’s happy that the show makes no issue of

queer identities: "The fact that these girls are lesbians is not even

dealt with on the show, but sort of moved past, so I’m proud of that."

While no one on the show takes issue with the young women

being lesbians, bisexuality is another matter altogether. Self-identified

bisexual cast member Alex is frequently teased about her orientation by the

other four women, some of whom go as far as expressing disgust.

But is it friendly ridicule or out-and-out biphobia?

Alex from Gimme Sugar

"Girls give each other a hard time if they smoke or

wear the wrong lipstick. At end of day, it has more to do with being 20 and

drunk," Babich’s friend and fellow filmmaker Roberta Munroe (Dani & Alice) said of the apparently biphobic behavior.

"I never felt that they were really nasty about

Alex," Babich noted. "They tease Alex and think she’d be happier if

she were with a girl, but they’re just giving her s— and Alex is OK with

it." Babich added that Alex agreed to participate on the show because she

knows bisexuals are discriminated against and she wanted to represent them

well. And in order to make Alex’s orientation clear and to depict her friends’

attitudes about it, Babich said the producers decided to include a lot of

anti-bi comments from the rest of the group on the show.

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