Sunday, November 12, 2006

If you want to come peculiar interest in gay TV.

On Friday while watching the new episode of Degrassi, there was an ad for the show South of Nowhere following it which showed that one of the main characters, a teenager in a gay relationship, was going to try to come out to her parents. Although I had other things to do, it seemed there was no way I was going anywhere after Degrassi. I simply can't pass up TV shows which show the troubles of gay people, more specifically, their coming out stories.

Another time, I had no time to watch it, but I saw there was a TV movie in progress starring Stockard Channing where she has to deal with her teenage daughter being a lesbian, and I found myself recording it to watch it later. I never ended up watching it, but why did I find this so compelling?

About a month ago, PBS was running a special about a gay men's choir. While I can't stand that kind if singing by any orientation, the special was peppered with the stories of how they came out to their parents, interviews with some of the parents who accept them and also showed an attempt to reconnect with their estranged families. Estranged, because the family could not accept their homosexuality. In one case, in the phone conversation which they aired, the mother made a real point to remind her son that she and his father loved him. He hung up the phone and cried and I too was moved.

The Los Angeles Gay Men's Choir

Why am I so taken in with these stories? I feel very strongly about discrimination and any stories I hear about it makes me angry and riled up. So perhaps I like to watch these things to better understand the struggles that people go through. When I see these stories, particularly real life ones, I feel so heartbroken to watch people struggle to have the people they love most accept them for who they are.

I really love the movie The Sum Of Us starring Jack Thompson and Russell Crowe in which Russell Crowe plays a gay man who is totally accepted by his dad. He would prefer his son was straight, but he's still his son, so just hopes he finds a nice bloke to settle down with. The dad is so accepting that it makes my heart swell with pride! It's so, so sweet.

Russell Crowe plays Jack Thompson's gay son in 'The Sum of Us'

I don't notice as many racial struggle stories these days, though I did catch a great HBO movie called Something the Lord Made, a true story about a young black man named Vivian Thomas who, through no fault of his own, lost the money he had saved for medical school, and so was unable to continue his studies. He ended working as an assistant Dr. Alfred Blalock who was in the early stages of experimenting with heart surgery in the 1930s and 40s. After years as a team, Blalock, the white doctor, got all the credit for performing the first heart surgery. Thomas, who was so crucial to the great advances they made and overcame a great many obstacles just to remain Blalock's assistant, is remembered as the side man, if at all. It's a great movie and another example of me getting caught up in these kinds of stories. I am also a sucker for stories about people who suffer anorexia. Oh, and don't even get me started on David and Keith on Six Feet Under! When David came out to Ruth, it was one of my favourite moments of the first season.

The ever enduring David and Keith on 'Six Feet Under'.

I feel like a nut sometimes for being so taken by these triumph over adversity type stories, but I think my heart is in the right place. There is so much uncalled for hatred and bigotry in this world that since I have been fortunate enough not to suffer from much of it, I can only hope to better understand from friends, documentaries and dramatic interpretations what people have to go through. Is it that, or am I just watching more emotional pornography?

Next week on South of Nowhere, after Spencer's mum walked in on her with her girlfriend last week, it looks like the religious nut mother is going to bring in some gay deprogrammer to sort her out. The dad is going to tell him to get the hell out of his house. I can't wait! Looks better than the next Degrassi!

Ashley and Spencer, gay teenagers in 'South of Nowhere'
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