Queer is Not Enough: The Quest for Worthwhile Representation on our TVs

In the new Wild West of queer visibility on TV, what makes a show worth watching?

Teen scifi show The 100 was a queer, feminist, worthwhile show even before Clarke and Lexa’s brief kiss. And recent dialogues around The 100 and One Big Happy have gotten me thinking about the state of LGBTQ+ representation on TV. It’s not enough these days to be “a lesbian show” or have a queer character. Just like making feminist TV isn’t just about putting in “strong female characters,” making good queer TV is not just about watching women whom we are told are gay.

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One Big Lezzie

You can always spot the Lesbian by her collared shirt.

NBC’s new show takes queer lady visibility right back to 1994.

Did you guys catch One Big Happy last night on NBC? If you didn’t, you can always head over to AfterEllen (cough *sponsored by NBC* cough) to catch up on the hype. And it’s no wonder people had high hopes for the show, with Liz Feldman and Ellen at the helm. But…sigh.

Remember in Friends (especially in the first season), when all we knew about Ross’s babymama Carol was that she was a lesbian — and wasn’t it funny? Sentences like “she’s a lesbian” and “Susan and I are getting married” were met with raucous laughter. Of course, that was a long time ago. High waisted jeans have gone out of style, come back into style, and (possibly) gone out of style AGAIN. In the meantime, the country has made great strides towards marriage equality. And especially in recent years, lots of gorgeous, funny, nuanced queer lady characters have graced our screens, playing whole people who had entire lives, and were also gay or bi or pan or curious or just plain slutty.

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