Recently, I started watching Will & Grace. Episode 14 on season 2, called “Acting Out," shows Jack, one of the main characters, upset when the first kiss between two gay characters isn’t shown. After this, he goes to the office of NBC to oppose what the network did. Will sees his outrage as an overreaction, but eventually Will ends up kissing Jack when they’re talking to Al Roker on “The Today Show".
Meanwhile, Jack’s reaction had me thinking; what we see on TV shows is a representation of our society. He thought that the kiss being excluded from the show was a way of erasing the authenticity of gay relationships. It’s easy to dismiss TV shows as simply entertainment, but it’s important to realize that they depict the world around us. The shows on TV can serve as a way to educate us in a method that isn’t as intimidating. TV programs can show us the perspective of the people who we would never meet in our everyday lives, and gives us the time to understand them. I did some research and, according to Bustle, the first homosexual kiss on TV aired in 1991, on an episode of LA Law. The kiss did not produce as much protest as I would have expected at the time, and since then, more TV shows have shown gay characters kiss. This could be a sign of the country becoming more accepting towards the LGBTQ community.
Today, we’re seeing TV shows with more inclusive characters and plot lines. Shonda Rhimes is serving as one of the leaders in making TV shows more inclusive. Her shows depict characters of different races, sexual orientations, and ages. Orange is the New Black follows the journey of Sophia Burset as she transitions into a woman. Jane the Virgin opens up the conversation about virginity, socioeconomic differences, and immigration. The Bold Type features the relationship of Kat and Adena, a lesbian relationship with a muslim woman. Grace And Frankie follows the life of older women as they navigate through their recent divorces.
These topics are relevant in the world we live in, and these shows demystify the experiences of the characters being depicted. While the TV show you’re watching is meant to be funny and captivating, maybe the show is trying to teach you something too.