Thursday, March 29, 2012
Misunderstood, Misinterpreted, and Mistreated
In her article, Popular Culture and Queer Representation, Diane Raymond discusses analyzing media from a queer or non-dominant perspective. Specifically she looks at three patterns within television comedies, 1) the increased appearance of GLBT major or supporting characters on television, 2) the gay pretender, and 3) the straight guy that is mistaken to be gay. I think it is also interesting to point out another trope that some television shows have in which the gay character is misunderstood and not known to be gay. This is something I would like to call the misunderstood gay, and I believe that Will and Grace is a perfect example of this. On the show, it is clearly known to all of the viewers that Jack is gay. One can tell by his mannerisms, the way he acts, the way he talks, and some of the different things he does. The one that comes to mind for me is his “Just Jack” pose. He has a lot of flamboyant gestures and facial expressions that show that he is seemingly gay, however, his mother, who has raised him, fails to realize that he is gay (Raymond, p. 102). On the other hand, Will is gay, but not many people can come to realize this, especially first time viewers. I know that when I first watched an episode I did not know that Will was gay, too. The viewers may misunderstand Will because he lives with Grace, therefore some first time viewers may appear to believe that they are a couple. Also, Will thinks that some of the things Jack does are just ridiculous, which is a typical thought of a straight man about a gay man. Will has a way of hiding his sexuality, as if it is not acceptable for him to be gay. No matter how gay or how “out” the character is on television, he/she is always misunderstood, misinterpreted, or mistreated.