Skip to comments.Dowd: 'Will & Will,' 24/7
Posted on 01/12/2002 4:00:21 PM PST by Pokey78
PASADENA, Calif.Back in the nation's capital, in Bushworld, singles don't exist. The president and even the Democrats focus on traditional families, parents and children.
Here in television's capital, in NBC world, children don't exist. NBC sitcoms and dramas focus on quirky and unsettled singles, battered by work and dating problems, with friends serving as family.
NBC has so relentlessly pursued the young-hip-urban singletons beloved by advertisers that it has ended up with a barren prime time.
At the television press tour here, the NBC Entertainment president, Jeff Zucker, was asked by a critic if it was "coincidence or design that there are no children on any NBC show?"
"Obviously, our No. 1 comedy is about to have a baby in `Friends,' he said. "But the fact is you raise a point that we've talked about, and I would actually like to see us have a show or two that has some kids."
When MTV and Showtime disclosed last week that they were creating a gay channel for cable, one NBC executive joked that there already was a gay channel and he worked there. Besides the trailblazing "Will & Grace," NBC has the tortured lesbian Dr. Kerry Weaver on "E.R." and, of course, "Frasier," which gays jokingly call "a friend of Dorothy."
Once families sat in the blue TV light, laughing or crying together. But now the proliferation of sets and taping devices, as well as kiddiecentric cable channels, let parents and kids avoid each other completely.
We have niche narcissism marketing. You may as well cover your TV screen with a mirror. I watch the Maureen Channel, dramas about workaholic, single, urban, tough-but- vulnerable Irish women, with Gaelic tin whistles on the soundtrack.
Lifetime, now the No. 1 rated cable network in prime time, succeeded with its women-in-distress and disease-of-the-nanosecond movies. (Will and Grace eat popcorn and watch Lifetime constantly.) The Oxygen network has yet to catch on because it tried to do empowering shows for smart women. But exhausted smart women just wanted to watch women do dumb things on Lifetime at night.
"You want the ability to see yourselves and get away from yourselves," says Gene Falk, a Showtime vice president. Mr. Falk and a MTV consultant, Matt Farber both gay are developing the new gay cable channel. "I want to see mushy romantic moments with people like me," Mr. Falk says. "As a friend of mine says, gay people want trash, too."
Hollywood has come a long way from the days when Cary Grant depicted Cole Porter as straight and Clifton Webb feigned a romantic interest in Gene Tierney in "Laura."
"I can envision everything from comedy shows to game shows to reality shows to relationship shows to issues shows to travel shows to biography shows," Mr. Farber says.
Game shows? "Like the old `Newlywed Game,' " he says.
Biography? "David Geffen," Mr. Farber offers. "Barney Frank, Philip Johnson," Mr. Falk proposes, adding that the show could be modeled on "Inside the Actor's Studio."
Travel? "Provincetown or Paris," Mr. Farber says.
My gay friends had a mixed reaction. While pleased that their economic muscle is recognized, they worry that the channel might lead to a cabaret of stereotypes. "All Joan Crawford, all the time," one says dryly.
They are also skeptical about how the channel will serve both gays and lesbians, who have a history of friction. "Will they alternate showings of `Mommie Dearest' and `Personal Best' "? one friend asks slyly.
Mr. Farber concedes the point: "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a challenge." And Mr. Falk agrees that "a 21-year-old lesbian is not interested in the same things as a 50- year-old gay man."
"If you offer enough different images, the stereotypes will cancel each other out," Mr. Falk adds. "We don't necessarily see an effeminate character as bad any more. Now you can have a strong effeminate character."
David Ehrenstein, the author of "Open Secret: Gay Hollywood, 1928- 2000," is not concerned about gays being ghettoized. "There is already the aura of gay niche marketing in advertising," he says. "Like the Volkswagen commercial where the two guys are driving around town picking up furniture."
Max Mutchnick, the gay creator of "Will & Grace," can't wait to see more ads tailored his way. "We'll go from Coors Light," he muses, "to Coors Light in the loafers."
Yup.... And someone who's interested in World War II may not be interested in Ancient Egypt. And yet, The History Channel does quite well.
Never mind whether a gay cable channel is a sign of cultural collapse or not. If this is the mindset of the people trying to put the station together, it's going to collapse of its own confusion.
I said almost.
She's a fag hag. I'm so disillusioned.
LOL, for some reason, that's the funniest things I've read in awhile. Maureen, baby, what happened to ya?
Related Thread: Why Lesbians Aren't Gay
We are the country of "Will and Grace" and "Will and Will 24/7" and journalists have to cover that. But if we really believe in America or want to believe in it, then at this time, we ought to be using an important slot in an important newspaper to talk about something really important and valuable to us as Americans.
We Americans are for freedom, and some Americans are now fighting for freedom. "Freedom" means that people will use their liberty as they see fit and may not always use it wisely or decorously. But the "fighting" part does seem to imply that we should make wise and seemly use of that liberty so as not to waste or mock the sacrifices of others.
Finally, the hypocrisy of liberal America astounds and troubles. Metropolitan sophisticates mock their parents or grandparents of the 1950s for sinking into what they like to think of as commercialism and conformity. Yet overturning their world and embracing new "lifestyles" they end up in the end accepting the same commercialism, conformity and banality that they attacked.
So now homosexuals have to decide if they are going to become everything they mocked or rebelled against. The greater irony is that most won't even realize what's happening to them, since advanced commercialism and mass culture flatter their victims that they aren't victims of commercialism and mass culture, like the other zhlubs.
It turns out I've got Mark Steyne's comments on Mo Dowd open in another window.
Hey, I know that channel. Didn't they used to show Michael Douglas movies a lot?
Bwaahahahaha!! Bravo! It's funny cause it's true.
"You go girl!"
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