Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Friday was the day when the networks make their final decisions about what shows will be renewed to appear and what new shows will be added to their schedule. Sadly, one of my favorite comedies, ABC's Happy Endings was on the list of cancelled shows. The show is basically an update of NBC's Friends, following the lives and loves of six 30-somethings living in an urban setting. Except this time there's a Black member (the very funny, and quite attractive Damon Wayans, Jr.) named Brad and a gay member named Max (played in non-stereotypical fashion by straight actor Adam Pally). The biggest star on the show was probably Elisha Cuthbert, who played the ditzy Alex. However, the funniest actors on the show are Eliza Coupe (who plays Alex's sister Jane and is married to Brad) and Casey Wilson (who plays Penny, Alex's best friend and Max's college girlfriend). The 6th member of the group is Zachary Knighton (who plays Dave, who was Alex's fiance but who in the pilot was left at the altar.
The show was known for its incredibly fast dialogue, obscure pop references and slapstick situations. It was very, very funny but also pretty lowly rated and ABC tried mightily to help it find an audience by moving it from the time slot after power house Modern Family on Wednesdays to Tuesdays and then Fridays. (When your show moves to Friday you know you're almost dead!)
Max was one of the most interesting gay characters on television, and was a fully fleshed-out member of the cast, most definitely not just another "sassy gay bestfriend." Other gay-related shows that were cancelled are Smash (which I watched the first season but once Jennifer Hudson's arc ended this season I was done) and The New Normal, which was a comedy by openly gay TV producer Ryan Murphy (the creator of Glee) about a gay couple trying to raise a family by having a baby with a quirky surrogate. I never saw a single minute of The New Normal so I won't miss it. It only lasted a single season, while Smash lasted two and Happy Endings lasted three.
Apparently there were two other shows with prominent gay themes that were cancelled as well: CBS's Partners and NBC's Go On. I suppose it's a good thing that there are so many gay characters on TV that one doesn't feel obligated to watch every one. Now, let's hoping that representation of the LGBT community can be more uniformly distributed among the best shows on television as well.
Right now it's my understanding that there are no openly LGBT characters on The Walking Dead, Mad Men, The Big Bang Theory for example. There are gay characters on some of my favorite shows like The Good Wife and Game of Thrones. Perhaps some new ones will be added in the new season.
Hat/tip to Queerty!