I guess Newsweek had to get some attention and sales from somewhere. But man, they must have not been expecting this. Newsweek recently published an article by Ramin Setoodeh outlining what the writer saw as a major “pink elephant in the room” in today’s television, film and Broadway: gay actors playing straight roles don’t mix.
I’d like to first digress and say what a stunning job Chris Colfer did last night on “Glee” with his rendition of “Rose’s Turn” from the seminal Broadway classic, “Gypsy.” Brava, Chris.
Anyways. Back to the point. Oh, yes. Gays. According to Setoodeh, they just can’t make the cut playing straight men and women! After a few days of this article floating around on the Internet, actress Kristin Chenoweth broke the mainstream silence. No, not with a Cheno note (sillies), but with a firmly written, just response. The last thing the entertainment industry needs at this time is someone criticizing artists for their sexuality. And Cheno pointed that out quite well, bringing the issue to the eyes of the media (don’t mess with her).
Actors are first and foremost actors and their personal lives, sexual orientations and backgrounds are separate. Setoodeh does make a point in that these aspects — though we’d like to think make no difference — do play a part in a viewer’s perception of the actor they are seeing. But it’s not a cause for someone to make a broad generalization in the face of a field that is made up of many members of the gay community.
I tried to find some way to level the playing field and give Setoodeh his two cents of objectivity, but I honestly couldn’t find anything. It was an opinionated article and he is fully entitled to his opinion, but he should have anticipated the backlash that such out-of-line statements would have brought (especially given that he expressed them in a fairly short piece with little to no reporting or research — the main reason why his article holds no weight).
However, he has written previous articles on the topic of gays in entertainment media that bring up some interesting points. Yes, we love the Kurt Hummels of TV and film, but are gays getting enough full, accurate portrayal or are most family-friendly programs going for the easy way out by just showing off their flamboyant side? Though his argument veers more into claiming that flamboyance is an artificial form of being gay, it’s worth discussion (apparently what he wanted to incite in the first place).
But go watch Kurt’s latest performance first. We’ll chat later.