The New Queer Aesthetic on Television

Essays on Recent Programming


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About the Book

Television is awash with newly embraced gay and lesbian themes that have crossed over into the collective pop culture of America. Dramas like Queer As Folk and The L Word, comedies like Will & Grace,and even reality shows including the popular Queer Eye for the Straight Guy signify a new commercial acceptance of homosexuality that has never been seen before in the United States. However, the increasing exposure has prompted critics to argue that the gay and lesbian representation on television is oversimplified and is rife with one-dimensional characters. Ultimately, the viewers will decide the future of homosexuality and homosexual characters on television.
The text offers essays that explore such topics as the politics of representation and the clash of progressive and regressive social agendas in television and the emphasis on the search for a space for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered within the mainstream media. The book contains criticisms of characters in such shows as Six Feet Under, Queer As Folk, Friends and Ellen.

About the Author(s)

James R. Keller is a professor and chair of the English and Theatre department at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. The author or editor of numerous works about popular culture, he lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
Leslie Stratyner, a professor of English at Mississippi University for Women, lives in Columbus, Mississippi.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by James R. Keller and Leslie Stratyner
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2390-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0907-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

What Do Gay Men Desire? Peering Behind the Queer Eye      9

Queer Eye on the Prize: The Stereotypical Sodomites of Summer      20

Embattled Sex: Rise of the Right and Victory of the Queer in Queer as Folk      43

Queering the Straight World: The Politics of Resignification in Queer as Folk      59

A Trip to the Queer Circus: Reimagined Masculinities in Will & Grace      75

Straight and Crazy? Bisexual and Easy? Or Drunken Floozy? The Queer Politics of Karen Walker      85

Desire and the “Big Black Sex Cop”: Race and the Politics of Sexual Intimacy in HBO’s Six Feet Under      99

“We cannot afford to keep being so high-minded”: Fighting the Religious Right on The L Word      113

Politics of the Sitcom Formula: Friends, Mad About You, and the Sapphic Second Banana      130

Masculinity and Male Intimacy in Nineties Sitcoms: Seinfeld and the Ironic Dismissal      147

Gay Performativity and Reality Television: Alliances, Competition, and Discourse      160

Altar Ego: GLAAD Sacrifices Male Intimacy and Commitment Ceremonies to the Media Gods      177

Lesbians and Serial TV: Ellen Finds Her Inner Adult      193

About the Contributors      209

Index      213

Book Reviews & Awards

“a thought-provoking read…must-have…Keller’s tome will be a reference you will want to thumb through the next time you take the DVD off the shelf—or it may compel you to do so”—Scarlett.