‘Glee,’ ‘Modern Family’ lead a queer wave at the Emmy Awards
ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Life+Style Editor email@example.com
We’re used to the Tony Awards being gayer’n eight guys blowing nine guys. But when did it happen to the Emmys?
In truth, it’s still no contest, though it lately seems like it. For decades TV has had the occasional Soap or Will & Grace; and reality shows have their gay contestants. But those always seemed tangential — marketing ploys or happy chances more than a systematic change. (Ian McKellen, for instance, is nominated for the miniseries The Prisoner, but there’s nothing especially gay about the show.)
But this past TV season, the gay quotient has gone from in evidence to inevitable. And it’s largely because of Glee.
Created by gay scribe Ryan Murphy, the musical comedy series is the frontrunner at the Emmys, which air Sunday on NBC. But all the nominated comedies except one (Curb Your Enthusiasm) have lots of gay: 30 Rock, Modern Family, The Office and Nurse Jackie.
In addition to writing, directing and the series itself, several openly gay actors are nominated for their performances, especially in the supporting categories: Jane Lynch as conniving Sue Sylvester and Chris Cofler as the flamboyant teen Kurt on Glee are the highest profile, but Cofler goes head-to-head against other gay actors (or characters): Jesse Tyler Ferguson (gay) and Eric Stonestreet (gay on TV only) as the same-sex couple on Modern Family, and Neil Patrick Harris as a womanizer on How I Met Your Mother.
The guest performer categories include Kristen Chenoweth as the favorite playing an aging lush on Glee … but she’s up against Jane Lynch again as a therapist on Two and a Half Men.
30 Rock is one of the most inclusively amazing comedies on TV, with many gay plots and characters, including guest actor nominee Will Arnett; in the same category, Neil Patrick Harris faces his toughest competition from fellow Glee guest actor Mike O’Malley as Kurt’s understanding father.
The dramas have less gay content, but some. The winner for the past two years, Mad Men, had a heartbreaking plot involving the show’s closeted art director, Bryan Batt (who has not appeared in the new season that just began airing), and True Blood from Alan Ball has sexy sodomites aplenty. Lily Tomlin took on a deeply serious role as a modern-day Lady Macbeth in this season’s Damages; she’ll probably win.
And of course there’s Kathy Griffin, lobbying openly for another win for her My Life on the D-List show.
Oh, and the Tony Awards are nominated for variety special, giving host Harris three shots this year. The Tonys winning the Emmy with a queer host? How gay is that?
The 62nd Annual Emmy Awards air on NBC Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010
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