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The Post-Game Show » 2010 » March

Archive for March, 2010

Idol: Rhythm & Balls

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

It’s R&B and soul week on Idol. I’m hoping this means they’re performing songs by Cab Calloway, Sam Cooke and Ray Charles (and not Aretha Franklin, because no-one should touch that). I fear that it’s actually going to be Rihanna, Boyz II Men and Jodeci (and Whitney Houston, but no-one should touch that). Let’s find out together, shall we?

Instead of a mentor, they’ve provided a young man who they refer to only as ‘usher’, who will presumably check tickets, hand out programs and show people to their seats. Here are this week’s performances, in order from least loved to most bestest.

didi-benami

10. Didi Benami, aka the Senator’s Murdered Nanny
Didi’s thin reed voice is not at all suited to R&B. She has a nice voice, a folksy tone, but pitting it against the rich texture of Jimmy Ruffin on What Becomes of the Brokenhearted seems hopelessly ambitious, and she looks and sounds like Cheryl Crowe struggling under the weight of Isaac Hayes. I will give her this; she’s very game. If she survives this week, it can only get better from here. (Down 5.)

9. Andrew Garcia, aka Paul ab-Dull
Last week, Simon spoke truth unto Garcia; you are not as good as your one good moment, and we’re no longer even sure how good that moment was. Garcia needs to pull off a miracle to get back into my good books now. Singing Forever by Chris Brown is not going to fix anything. It sounded like a chewing gum commercial. And why is he giving Chris Brown any exposure? If you’re going to sing a soul song by a domestic abuser, sing Fool In Love! (No change.)

8. Siobhan Magnus, aka Madame Medusa
Some serious throwing back going on here with an 80s Chaka Khan song, Through The Fire. Siobhan goes period with the sort of 80s lounge singing style wherein you can never let your mouth close for fear that the lipgloss will cement. I think they must have fixed her hair with a magical can of vintage Aqua Net to get her into character. Unfortunately she sound awful; more Wrath of Khan than Chaka Khan. I thought last week was her off week, so I wasn’t prepared for this. (Down 6.)

katie-stevens

7. Katie Stevens, aka Darth Mallrat
I said no Aretha. Didn’t I say, no Aretha? Katie has actually been at her best doing blues, which is inexplicable given that she has as much soul as a Pez dispenser. Yet this is not blues, this is Chain of Fools, and you don’t attempt to climb Mount Aretha without spare oxygen tanks. This girl has all the spare oxygen of a whoopee cushion. Watching her trying to give it some head bobbing sass is just cringeworthy. Don’t sass me, girl. If you haven’t done your homework, you’re staying behind. (Up 1.)

6. Lee DeWyse, aka Blue Collar Tofu
Lee sang Treat Her Like A Lady, and I don’t know where it’s from (it’s not the Celine Dion song, that’s for sure), but if this was ever an R&B song, he sanded off the sparkling blue paint, took out the white leather seats, and refitted it for the demolition derby. On the one hand, it was probably his best performance. On the other hand, I don’t remember any of his previous performances and I won’t remember this one. In a boring world, even hiccups seem exciting. (No change.)

5. Tim Urban, aka Mannequin Piss
You’re wondering what Tim is doing up here, aren’t you? It’s not because he was any good. It’s because he’s entertaining. I know he’s a troll, and I usually hate those (though he’s a pretty troll) - but it does make me laugh that Tim is still on the show. He never does well with the voters, but somehow he keeps scraping through, and his pretty little face and his weak little voice get flung at another genre that he doesn’t know, doesn’t feel, and cannot do. This week, hilariously, he sang Anita Baker’s Sweet Love, which is one of the great soul seduction numbers. Could he handle it? Not even close! Strained, tuneless and desparate. Let’s do opera next week! It can’t get any worse! In a year of duff contestants, Tim’s performances are now among the ones I most look forward to, and his upbeat responses to the judges’ brutal critiques are kind of charming. (Up 5.)

4. Aaron Kelly, aka the Second Trimester Kid
I literally forgot about the existence of Aaron Kelly. He was on last, and I nearly turned the TV off after Crystal. It was like the producers were telling me I could go home early. Kelly’s song was Ain’t No Sunshine, and the usher gave him some good advice; find something to do with the endless string of ‘I know’s, or we’re all just going to be sitting around waiting for you to unstick the needle. Kelly did OK. I have to start finding nice things to say about some of these contestants because I know I’m going to be stuck with them for a while, and I’m sure I’m stuck with Aaron for the long haul, so that’s the nice thing I have to say about Aaron Kelly. It was OK. A bit patchy. (Up 3.)

casey-james1

3. Casey James, aka Thin White Earl
Casey wins major points for bringing Sam & Dave’s Hold On, I’m Comin’ to the Idol stage, but he loses points for a milquetoast performance that walks a delicate path between gritty and smooth without ever committing to either redemptive path. I don’t think that song has ever sounded so peaches n’ cream. I suspect that Casey is lazy, and it’s beginning to annoy me. And this was the third best performance of the night. (Up 1.)

2. Mike Lynche, aka Always Big Mike
Mike sings soulful R&B every week. Give him a Christina Aguilera song and it would probably come out as soulful R&B. He’s cheesy, but he’s good at it. Given that this theme is deep into his comfort zone, it’s striking that he chooses to sing an obscure modern song and not something from the Smokey Robinson songbook; Ready for Love by India.Arie. As a result, he’s not as good as he’s been in past weeks, but he is instantly more commercial and less of a caricature, so it was probably a good idea. Simon’s comments bear out my suspicions; this is what they want from Mike. Less talent, more generic marketability. (No change.)

And with that, we are done with all the insipid performances, and we move on to the good stuff, by which I mean…

1. Crystal Bowersox, aka Buskerella
Midnight Train To Georgia! MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA, MOTHERNUDGER! Pinned behind a grand piano (you can’t just wheel one of those down to the platform at Grand Central Station, you know), Crystal seemed rattled at the start of the song, but as soon as she knew she was ditching the piano, she was able to swagger into position and take the room. While my brain couldn’t quite accept the sight of the Reverend Dame Bowersox in a red dress and heels, she sounded as great as ever, and I think she finally understands that she’s in a singing contest, and that she’s competing, and that she’s winning. Let’s hope that Siobhan Magnus comes back next week to put up a fight. (No change.)

The score at the end of the night, by my count, was six proper R&B songs out of ten, which is not bad going, but one of them was Aretha, and I was very clear about that, and most of the rest were performed by terrible singers. I assume Tim will continue to hold steady in the bottom three, and he’ll be joined this week by Didi and Andrew, possibly Siobhan, whom the judges would surely save. I hope we lose Andrew. I’ll be sorry if we lose Didi. I’ll be devastated if we lose Tim.

Idol: Billbored

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Tonight’s theme was supposed to be ‘teen idols’, but it was changed belatedly to ‘Billboard #1s’, aka ‘close your eyes and stick a pin in it’. I like to imagine that one of the contestants had a diva fit and refused to sing a Taylor Swift song, but as none of the contestants ended up singing a teen idol song, I sadly can’t decide who to pin the ‘difficult’ label to.

Perhaps the most likely candidate is this week’s mentor, prodigious Vocoder-voiced marketing asset Miley Cyrus. Maybe she’s decided it’s time to throw off the heavy shackles of her ‘teen idol’ identity (well, ‘tween idol’) and redefine herself as a serious artists. Honestly, teenagers! You will notice, in the mentoring scenes, that the former Ms Montana is wearing a dress so short that her age of consent is showing.

Cyrus is an invaluable guide for these contestants, because who else can speak with such expertise about having their youth destroyed in order to become a micro-managed record company asset? Miley probably slipped a note into each of the contestants’ hands that said, in crayon, ‘Run and never look back’.

Once again I’m ranking the contestants from worst to best. My assessments are not necessarily based solely on this week’s performances, but that’s what I’ll be talking about. Oh, and as it’s performance night, not results night, I won’t be revealing the results this week, so as the Blue Erster Cult once said, don’t fear the spoilers.

paige-miles

11. Paige Miles, aka Bushbaby
Paige sang Against All Odds, which could almost be considered deft given that she’s clearly doing the Mariah Carey version, yet it’s the Phil Collins original that was the Billboard #1. But it’s not deft, because she was awful, and when the judges called her awful, the audience could barely summon a boo. The poor girl was drowning in the song, and given that she was bottom three last week, this should be her last week in the contest. (Down 5.)

10. Tim Urban, aka Crappercrombie & Fitch
The Timbot has been programmed with a series of gestures and swivels downloaded from years of ‘hot young musical thang’ video footage, from Elvis to the Jonas Brothers, but sadly machine technology is not yet sophisticated enough for the emulation to look organic, and Timbot’s stage slide looked like a Star Trek ensign doing the ship-shake tango on a wet floor. Disastrously, Tim is wearing a jacket this week, so we can’t even admire his biceps or his extraordinarily tiny waist. The song was billed as Crazy Little Thing Called Love, but I have heard that song, and this was not it. (Up 1.)

9. Andrew Garcia, aka Straight Down Now
I imagine Mike Lynche would do a pretty good Heard It Through the Grapevine. He’d keep it Motown. He’d keep it slick. He’d keep all the original notes. Andrew Garcia doesn’t do any of these things. His performance is the aural equivalent of cardboard salad. I think he thinks it’s sexy, but it’s just… MILEY CYRUS SPIT OUT THAT GUM RIGHT NOW! Young lady, you are on television! Have some class. You’re not just Billy Ray in a dress, you know. (Down 1.)

8. Katie Stevens, aka Miley Cyrish
Katie can learn so much from Miley, who is a little over two weeks older than her. Those two weeks give a person a completely different perspective on life. In auditions, Katie did an impressive rendition of Etta James’s At Last. I don’t know what happened to that girl, but I think she’s Benjamin Buttoning at a rate of one trimester a week. Katie sounded flat and strained, but it was a Fergie song, so maybe it was meant to sound like that? (Up 4.)

7. Aaron Kelly, aka Kid Ganglion
He has tonsilitis, or laryngitis, or snivelitis. I don’t know or care. He’s astonishingly boring on the best of nights, and this was a bad night. His I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing was dependably dull and wholly unmemorable. (Up 3.)

lee-dewyse

6. Lee DeWyse, aka Generic Supermarket Brand
A peculiar jazz arrangement of The Letter allowed DeWyse, who has the air of a waxed orang-utan, to lumpenly bump around the stage like a simian Michael Bublé. Yet the vocal was the same coffee-grinder rocker stuff we’ve come to expect from him. It’s not that Lee is bad, it’s just that this is airtime that could be better used to advertise Dr Scholl’s skin tag remover. (Up 3.)

5. Didi Benami, aka Folksteady
Did’s rendition of You’re No Good makes me think we have a potential Nancy Sinatra on our hands. Nancy always stuck safely within the limits of her voice, but she had the looks and the style to sell her songs. Didi is no Nancy just yet, but that’s where her safe zone lies. She had technical problems and a clod-footed shuffling dance style this week, but I think she was better than the judges gave her credit for. (No change.)

4. Casey James, aka Redneck Messiah
The cornstalk was on fair form this week with a faithful rendition of Huey Lewis’s Power of Love. He walked through it and didn’et exert himself in the least, but his voice sounded good. Certainly, there were more offensive Texans in the public eye this week. (Up 3.)

3. Siobhan Magnus, aka Tuney Loon
After another long week buying toy soldiers on eBay so she can suck off the lead paint, Siobhan Magnus took to the stage with a badger brush up-do and a poorly chosen Stevie Wonder classic, Superstition. It was too orchestrated, too arranged for Magnus, whose golden moments have come in her stripped and spooky performances. Here she was fighting with the brass section and unleashing some fearsome screams. It wasn’t right. This was her ‘off’ week, and she was still better than almost everyone else. (Down 2.)

big-mike

2. Mike Lynche, aka Big Mike
Mike Lynche is a whole big bucket of cream coffee. Even Starbucks doesn’t serve in these sizes. When A Man Loves A Woman is a safe choice, but the performance was smooth, soulful and sincere. I like Big Mike more each week, because although he never offers any surprises, he always delivers. He’s the UPS of American Idol. (Up 1.)

1. Crystal Bowersox, aka Gypsy Ford Cortina
Dame Bowersox is seven actual years older than Miley, and about seventy musical years older than Miley, and you just know they would never normally even make eye contact in the Mean Girls canteen of life, so I applaud Crystal for not sending the little snit upstairs to play with a Bratz Terrifically Tacky Tramp Stamping Playset while she smoked dope in the garage with her friend Snake who owns a pick-up and is feeling vulnerable because his brother is in Afghanistan. Anyway, Crystal sang Me And Bobby McGee, but not much of it. Mostly she just riffed and noodled around it. It was good, of course, but the Bowersox is capable of better. (Up 1.)

This was a terribly weak week for Idol, though perhaps par for the course at this stage in the competition. I would be very surprised if Paige Miles survives the week, but Tim and Katie seem like solid contenders for the bottom three, and Didi is pretty, so I doubt she has many fans. I have a suspicion that Siobhan is also capable of attracting a lot of antipathy, so a weak week for her could actually put her at risk.

Do you agree with this week’s rundown? Am I too kind to Big Mike? Too cruel to Lee DeWyse? Let me know in the comments section.

Idol: These Are Your Contestants

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

This year’s American Idol is finally down to a manageable number, which means I can finally tolerate blogging about it. Up until now, there has been too much filler on stage. Too many packing peanuts, no personalities. And because the votes are spread so thin, anyone could go home any week - as proved last week when smoky-voiced witch woman Lilly Scott was prematurely sent home - so it’s barely worth forming an opinion about these people.

Of course, I did have opinions. Of the top 24, I was sorry to see Latino mole man Joe Munoz and wannabe rubber Jagger doll Tyler Grady kicked out so quickly - they weren’t going to win, but Munoz was better than most of the boys and Grady was more interesting. Asian crooner John Park showed great potential in auditions, but was a sucking vacuum on stage. Haeley Vaughn had a lot of charm, and Michelle Delamor had talent, but they were also both ethnic, and that never helps. By my count, ten of the top 24 were ‘contestants of colour’, and seven of those went home in the first three weeks. It’s always easy to get the minorities out when they haven’t had a chance to become people yet.

Now that we’re down to 12, I’m bothering to care a little more. So here are my thoughts, in order from least to most favourite.

12. Katie Stevens, aka Rinkydink Girlchild
You can see in her face that Katie doesn’t know what she’s still doing on the show. She’s a weak runt kitten that should have died weeks ago. Her version of Wild Horses was like watching a goldfish with a gun floundering on a pavement. I’m struggling to remember why I had nice things to say about her at the audition stage.

timurban

11. Tim Urban, aka Crap Efron
I find the continued presence of Tim Urban on this show kind of hilarious. He was brought in to the top 24 as a replacement at the last minute and he should have gone straight back home again, but week after week his dimpled smile, his dewy eyes and that ridiculous mound of hair have kept him in. The shirtless photos of him on the internet can’t have hurt. So long as he keeps wearing really tight sweaters, he has a chance to stay in. But his voice is shaky and soulless, and as a performer he’s so wet and floppy that I assume he must also be lemon-scented and Swiffer branded. But I’ll give him this; he’s good-humoured about the mistake his life has become.

10. Aaron Kelly, aka Rinkydink Boychild
Completing the troika of contestants who have no idea what they’re doing on this show. He looks like a young Ed Norton squeezed through a toothpaste tube. He may actually be Ed Norton, smuggled onto the show to prep for a role. He can’t be here based on talent.

9. Lee DeWyse, aka Canless Meat in a Can
So uninteresting. Solid, but so dull. He simply never gets started. When Simon trots out his ‘you sound like a pub singer’ line, Lee DeWyse is the Platonic ideal of that concept. I suspect that Lee is a Chicago attempt at a Frankenstein’s monster, moulded together from breeze blocks, toilet roll tubes and a thick paste of corn grits. Corn grits without the butter.

8. Andrew Garcia, aka Guy Who Did That One Good Song That One Time
Remember that one time he did Paula Abdul’s Straight Up as a ballad? Remember how good that was? You’d better, because Andrew Garcia has been coasting on that performance ever since. He tried to recapture the magic with a reinvented Genie In A Bottle, but it didn’t work, and this week’s Gimme Shelter was unforgivably boring. It becomes increasingly clear every week that Andrew Garcia had one good trick in his repertoire, and now he’s all used up. But it was a good trick.

caseyjames

7. Casey James, aka The Shirtless Streak
Casey James is proof that you can have a weak audition and go on to be a contender, which shows how unreliable the audition process is. This blond ratty white Jesus lookalike only got through because he took his shirt off and everyone but Simon thought he was a good sport. Never mind that he has a body like a gnawed corn cob! Since the auditions, he has improved a great deal, though he’s sliding  a little lazily into an easy country groove.

6. Paige Miles, aka Miss Teeth
Paige can really go either way. She has a lot of personality, but her version of Smile last week was shaky and badly arranged; her Honky Tonk Woman was much better, but may be as big as she can go. Even so, I like her a lot in principle. She’s sweet and cheerful, and with her big eyes and round face she looks like a Sanrio character. But she should never again wear a shorted safari suit. No-one should.

5. Didi Benami, aka Jo-Beth Sweetums McGee
Didi is the girl-next-door type, but let’s not hate her for that. I think she has potential. She tries too hard to force that 60s girl singer sound that’s so in fashion at the moment, but I suspect that country is more her thingdawg. (Thingdawg is Randy-ese for ‘forté‘.) If she stops pushing the vocals and tries to sing to her strengths, she could be very good.

4. Lacey Brown, aka Baby Cougar
What I like most about Lacey Brown is that she looks like the young white trash waitress in a roadside biker bar, all leather skirts and meth breath and a baseball bat always just in reach. But she sings with this lovely sweetness that’s just on the right side of cloying babydoll cute. There may be a rocker beneath the surface, but I think her distinctive look is a suit of armour and there’s a terrible lack of confidence under the surface.

3. Mike Lynche, aka Big Mike Lynche
Mike is the only guy singer that I actually like thus far, in spite of his abandoning his wife while she was giving birth so he could be on this show. Last week he sang Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work as a tribute to his wife. It was an extraordinary choice, but he made it through the falsetto parts and the parts where there’s not really much melody to grab hold of and acquitted himself brilliantly. This week he sang Miss You, which isn’t much of a song, but still out-sang most of the competition with his gospel riffs. Hopefully he’ll stick around, but that’s a lot to ask for a black dude on this show. He should stop trying to dance, though.

crystalbowersox

2. Crystal Bowersox, real name Mary Jones, probably
Simon was criticised for comparing Bowersox to a busker, but she is a busker. I mean, both in an actual sense - she is a busker - and in an abstract philosophical sense - she is the embodiment of buskiness. She is the busker queen. Crystal Bowersox has never seen American Idol, and it’s clear that she’s baffled by the whole process, from the tortured group performances to the offensively awful Ford ads. She’s what happens when a musician accidentally walks onto the show. Crystal’s stripped-down, Americana numbers are dependably great, and in all likelihood this year’s show is hers to lose. But she’s not my favourite this week.

1. Siobhan Magnus, aka Solid Gold Crazy
Siobhan is my favourite. I love Siobhan. She is a kook. I think Siobhan is a tiny mouse in a Billie Piper suit, trying to operate the controls that will allow her to pass for a real girl, but the controls are all slightly too far away from each other, so she can’t quite make it look smooth and convincing. There is something detached, peculiar, and massively over-medicated about her. In fact, she brings back the madness we lost when Paula left the room. I thought her House of the Rising Sun (which she sang as a boy) was an Adam Lambert moment, but this week’s operatically gothic Paint It Black blew that out of the water. When she sings, that little mouse has complete mastery of the controls. Delectably daffy.

If you don’t know who got sent home this week, look away now. But before I get to that, a few comments on the judges, who broke new ground this week. First, Kara said something that wasn’t wrong (that Mick Jagger put passion in his songs- it wasn’t original either, but it wasn’t wrong). Simon contradicted her anyway, but it’s a reflex, he can’t be blamed for that. And second, one of the judges made a gay joke that wasn’t homophobic. Admittedly, it was Ellen, but I’ll take what I can get. Unchanged since last year; Ryan Seacrest is still a twat.

This week’s loser was my fourth favourite, Lacey Brown. We will never know if she could have come out of her leopard print shell and rocked the hizzouse.

Whether you agree or disagree with my rundown, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the top 12. Do you love Tim Urban’s dimples? Do you hate Crystal Bowersox and her ‘credibility’, whatever the hell that is? Let me know.

Are We Being Served? Gays on TV

Monday, March 15th, 2010

AfterElton has a rundown today of the top 50 gay and bisexual male characters on TV, as voted for by the site’s readers (who are mostly gay men).

I’ll let you go over there to read the list, but I had some observations I wanted to share. The main thing to notice is that the vast majority of these characters debuted in the last decade; 41 of them, in fact. Of those, 28 debuted in the last five years (with a further three debuting before 2005, but coming out after).

gaysontvGlee, Southland, True Blood.

Memories are short, of course, and recent characters are always likely to have an advantage in a popular vote. Controversial early groundbreakers like Mr Humphries and Steven Carrington clearly weren’t popular enough to make the cut, but there is good reason for them to be unpopular. There clearly aren’t a lot of missing characters from before 2000. When AfterElton did the same poll in 2007, they only offered a top 25 - there probably weren’t enough popular gay characters of note to fill a top 50.

There are now, though they come from just 29 shows, of which 19 are still airing (though two of these are on their way out). It’s notable that sister site AfterEllen compiled its own list and had to allow characters from movies to get to a list of 50 gay and bisexual female characters.

Some other breakdowns for your consideration. Only 14 of the characters come from US primetime network TV. Nineteen are from cable shows. There are four from daytime soaps (two couples). Thirteen characters are from outside the US; eight from the UK, four from Germany and one from Canada.

Twelve characters come from soaps, and eleven from three queer dramas - six from Queer as Folk USA, one from the UK original, and four from the short-lived black gay drama Noah’s Arc. Of the remainder, three characters come from sci-fi, five from sitcoms, four from comedy dramas and five from teen dramas.

jackontvTorchwood

Eight of the characters are black, and four of these are from one show aimed at a black gay audience. Two are Latino. Only one is South Asian and none are East Asian. None of the characters identify as bisexual. Captain Jack Harkness is ‘omnisexual’; four characters fell in love with men but didn’t otherwise identify as gay; two are still in denial (Ugly Betty’s Justin and EastEnders’ Syed).

More than half the list is comprised of couples, albeit not always model couples. Only two of the couples come from US primetime shows - Brothers & Sisters and Modern Family, both of which are ensemble shows about extended families with gay members. All the other primetime gays are usually single.

What can we learn from all this? This isn’t a survey of all the gay characters on TV, but it does represent the gay characters that gay audiences actually like, and there is the suggestion of a positive trend here. There appears to have been a rise in positive gay representation on TV in the last few years, thanks to shows like Ugly Betty, Modern Family, Glee and Brothers & Sisters on network, and shows like Caprica, True Blood, United States of Tara and Greek on cable.

But that still isn’t a lot of gays, and that isn’t a lot of shows. Only 24 of these characters are on air now, and at least six of them won’t be by year’s end. (Oliver and Kyle, the gay couple from One Life To Live, who had US TV’s first male/male love scene, have now been dropped from that show.)

willontvThe Gold Standard?

It’s also noteworthy that all the gay characters currently on air are supporting characters in ensemble shows. There hasn’t been a gay leading man on US primetime since Will Truman on Will & Grace, and he was famously sexless for years and years. Outside the US, the only leading man is Captain Jack. Of course, this is not the least bit surprising. That there was ever a Will Truman is the real surprise.

In terms of diversity, more gays of colour would be nice, but when there are neither enough gay characters nor enough characters of colour on TV, that seems like a hopelessly optimistic wish. Bisexuality could clearly be a lot better represented - self-identified gays who dabble with women seem more common than self-identified bisexuals, and self-identified straight men who dabble with men are completely unheard of. While we’re on a diversity tip, one might argue that fabulous bitchy comedy gays with an idiosyncratic fashion sense are a little overrepresented, but characters like Greek’s frat jock Calvin and Southland’s bearish cop John Cooper are finally providing some balance in that regard.

The most interesting element of this list is that many of these characters have actually had storylines. To the best of my knowledge, only about a third of the characters have had ‘coming out’ storylines, which is nothing short of a miracle, and very few of them have been violently attacked by homophobes. Remarkably, some of these characters have been involved in love stories. Even more remarkably, some of these characters have been involved in stories that have nothing to do with their sexuality. Soap operas are both the best and worst in this regard; they frequently have coming out and gay-bashing stories, but they’re also more likely to do other things with their gay characters.

We’re approaching level three here, people. Level one is when gay characters appear. Level two is when gay characters appear, do gay storylines, and then disappear. Level three is when gay characters appear, have love interests and do non-gay storylines, and don’t disappear.

Level four is when we stop talking about how extraordinary it is.