2009 Year in Review: Television


Her second talk show appearance was an interview on The View. She went on to promote Ted, but ended up defending marriage equality to Elizabeth Hasselbeck:

Of course the word [“marriage”] isn’t more important than the rights. But without the word, we don’t have equal rights … Every citizen of this country should have that legal right to be married. Marriage the word actually does mean something because people who see a gay coupling as like a lesser thing in society can continue to be lesser than marriage when really it’s the exact same thing. The exact same love, the exact same commitment, love of family, you know.

An equal defender of marriage equality in 2009 was out political pundit Rachel Maddow, whose Rachel Maddow Show has never tried to hide its progressively gay agenda.

Airing after MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olberman, The Rachel Maddow show has held onto steady ratings of about 1,000,000 viewers. One of Maddow’s more conspicuous shows aired in December, when she took “reparative therapist” Richard Cohen to task because his book, “Coming Out Straight” was the catalyst for Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

In the interview, Cohen purported that he is, in fact, able to coach people out of homosexuality, and that his mission is one of love and understanding. Maddow eviscerated him, reading various passages from his books and newsletters in which he claimed that gay people “go after children” and that “divorce, death of a parent, adoption, religion, race, rejection by opposite sex peers” are all factors in a person “becoming” homosexual.

When he tried to back-peddle, Maddow said, “I’m reading from your book, dude.”

She also noted that his license had been stripped by the American Psychological Association.

Openly gay CNN Headline News anchor, Jane Velez-Mitchell, also enjoyed mainstream success this year. In fact, she published a book about getting sober and coming out, and she even visited Dr. Phil to promote it.

We probably can’t consider Wanda Sykes late night talk show “news,” but the lesbian comic tackles plenty of politics and headlines on her hour-long Saturday night show, which premiered in November.

Sykes has been offered various talk shows and hosting gigs for years. What finally made her decide to take the plunge? She told TV Guide:

There’s so much going on in the country: First black president, I’m married, I have kids. The opportunity to be out here every week, with my face out here, especially an African American woman and a lesbian, too. How many times do you get an opportunity to have a network show?

After coming out as gay and married in November 2008, Sykes has spoken openly and warmly about her sexuality and family in every interview she’s given, and that includes her Wanda Sykes Show media blitz on The View, Oprah, The Joy Behar Show and Late Night With Jay Leno.

And, of course, no list of actual lesbian entertainers would be complete without mentioning Glee breakout baddie, the ubiquitous Jane Lynch

After years of playing supporting characters in various TV shows and movies (thank you, Judd Appatow), Jane Lynch found her household name-maker as Cheerios head coach Sue Sylvester. With half a season down, Lynch already received a Golden Globe nomination for her role.

Here are some of Sue’s best Glee quips:

Get ready for the ride of your life Will Schuester. You’re about to board the Sue Sylvester Express. Destination: horror!

You’re too busy chasing tail and loading your hair with enormous amounts of product. Today, it just looks like you put lard in it.

All I want is just one day a year when I’m not visually assaulted by uglies and fatties.

I empower my Cheerios to be champions. Do they go to college? I don’t know. I don’t care. Should they learn Spanish? Sure, if they wanna become dishwashers and gardeners.

Lynch also guest starred on Reno 911, Two and Half Men, The Cleveland Show and Party Down in 2009.

In her 2008 TV Review, Karman Kregloe wrote:

While it seems there will always be a place for lesbians and bisexual women in the unruly world of reality television, what was perhaps most notable about the representation of “real” queer women on television this year was the high number of out lesbian and bisexual actors (and one particularly notable newswoman) regularly seen on daytime and primetime broadcast and cable television.

The continuation of that trend in 2009 makes us hopeful about the future of lesbian and bisexual visibility on TV. After all, both Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres — the most successful, highest profile lesbian couple in the world — were convinced that they would never work again after they came out. Thankfully, they were both wrong.

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