NBC goes super straight with “Parenthood” and “Marriage Ref”


If you watched the Olympics even a little on NBC the last two weeks you know one thing for certain: the network loves straight married people. This is not to say the Peacock is anti-gay, it’s just really, really, really straight thanks to its non-stop promoting of its two new shows — The Marriage Ref and Parenthood.

How straight are the promos? Well let me break down the basic premise. Married straight couples with issues — hilarity ensues. Married straight couples with kids with issues — hilarity ensues. Divorced straight mom with kids with issues — hilarity ensues. Married straight couples with pets with issues — hilarity ensues. You get the picture.


The one variation: Married straight couples with kids without problems — awww, they grow up so fast.


Look, I’m not bitter. I have no problems with married straight people. My parents were married for 34 years, bless their hearts. But I just think it’s important to include those of us who can’t legally marry (at least in 45 of the 50 states) in the picture, too.

Parenthood, NBC’s new family dramedy has been promoted relentlessly during the Olympics. As excited as I am to have Lauren Graham back on my television (and trust me, that’s exciting), I can’t help but feel a little left out by the program. First of all, it has perhaps the whitest cast of any new major network show I’ve seen in a while.

Second, as a non-parent and non-married person, the show isn’t offering me a lot in its previews. Granted, if I only watched TV shows that included gay characters, I’d read a lot more books. But in such an ensemble which is supposed to represent an average America family, wouldn’t it be nice if someone way gay — or gayish?

As for The Marriage Ref, the Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show that has celebrities help settle crazy marriage disputes, it would be so simple to incorporate gay couples into the mix. The promos feature only straight couples so far, though I guess it’s possible they have some gay or lesbian couples waiting in the wings. But, yeah, I’m not holding my breath.

Also, let me make sure I’m clear on the concept here: These heterosexual couples have such dysfunctional marriages they’re willing to let a bunch of celebrities decide who is right and who is wrong? Yeah, and they say letting gays and lesbians marry would damage the institution of marriage.

Now, normally this sort of aggressively heteronormative programming wouldn’t phase me. That’s just what you call turning on your TV. But NBC’s non-stop promoting of both shows during the Olympics pushed me over the edge. Perhaps the recent sting of the high-profile marriage equality losses. Or I could just be grumpy.

Also, sheesh NBC, don’t you have any other shows that need promoting? So, is it just me? And will you watch any of these happy — or unhappily — married shows?

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