Modern Family, Glee make great gay TV strides in 2010

Modern Family goes there

Modern Family began its second season the object of fan protest. Why, asked viewers, on a sitcom featuring a gay couple, is that gay couple never seen being affectionate the way the straight couples are? It came down to a Facebook campaign, some idiotic “Who cares?” mouthing off from co-star Ed O’Neill (who should really know better by now) and then an episode the show’s creators assured us had always been on the agenda, one in which Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet finally gave each other a husbandly smooch.

Feathers unruffled, the Earth didn’t fall into the Sun and now those guys are the first fictional gay couple on the cover of TV Guide. Holding their TV baby. Everybody wins.

Glee becomes gayest TV show ever

The all-singing, all-dancing show’s lone gay character Kurt, played by Chris Colfer, was all over the place in season one. He was strong, he was weak, he was predatory, he was vulnerable.

And then along season two came with a triple whammy: a tender father/son dynamic unlike anything seen on network TV up to this point, an intriguing bullying plotline that injected tension into a series that often feels weightless and a swoon-inducing introduction of a new gay character played by Darren Criss, one who may or may not be Kurt’s ticket to teen romance. All of this on a show families watch together. We’ve come a long way from Will & Grace.

Black Swan magnetizes audiences,

Phillip Morris’s pull somewhat weaker

The ballerina-cracking-up psychodrama Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and that lesbian sex scene, broke opening weekend records when the movie was in limited release, racking up per-screen box office tallies previously unheard of for a decidedly non-mainstream film. Now it’s gone wide and looks like a lock for a slew of Oscar nominations.

Meanwhile, the weird saga of one of the year’s most daring, biting comedies, I Love You Phillip Morris gets its final chapter, as the American film actually earned, at long last, an American theatrical release.

Featuring Jim Carrey in what may be the most out-on-a-limb performance of the year (not to mention his entire career), the movie also features some explicit gay sex between Carrey and co-star Ewan McGregor that’s keeping away the same male audience lining up to see Natalie and Mila go at it. Expect Academy Award voters to give it an undeserved cold shoulder too.

‘It Gets Better’ fights against tragedy

Sex columnist and humorist Dan Savage had an idea to use the Internet to combat anti-gay sentiment aimed at teenagers, vicious abuse that was causing a wave of teen suicides. It was simple: any gay or lesbian grown-up with a camera and a happy life was invited to share his or her story and the truth that, in fact, life does get better once you’ve left that awful high school behind.

Within weeks a phenomenon was born, one that got bigger and bigger, one that included celebrities and local politicians—even actors like Zachary Quinto, who isn’t exactly openly gay—and did what no “very special episode” of a fictional movie or TV show could do: affect real lives. Sometimes regular people are the stars.

Oprah and Gayle: Still not lesbians

Barbara Walters, while talking to Oprah Winfrey for her annual roundup of “fascinating” people, broached the tired old rumors that have followed Oprah and Gayle King (and, by extension, poor Steadman, too) for years. Never mind that Oprah has talked about it on her own show many times. Never mind that Oprah and Gayle discussed it in a widely read interview in magazine; until Barbara Walters gets an answer, the question hasn’t been asked.

So this time Oprah responded in a new way, by crying about it. It was weird, it involved her personal feelings about friendship between women, and only served to make it all seem that much more unresolved. Thanks, Barbara Walters, now we all have to keep talking about it.

Romeo San Vicente would very much like a brunch left at his front door and would tip big for it.