Earlier this year, the show Good Luck Charlie made Disney Channel history when it introduced a character’s lesbian parents. Now, Cartoon Network is following suit with its first ever gay kiss. Now these characters on the show Clarence are not regulars— they don’t even have names. Instead it’s a gay couple greeting each other at a restaurant, a total throwaway moment. And while we would of course like to see more shows (or hey, maybe even just one?) with a gay lead (or even friend/mentor/school bully), this introduction of gay characters into the world of a show is an important (if small) step forward.
Or at least it WOULD be if it had played out as intended.
What was supposed to be two men greeting each other with a kiss, clearly marking them as a romantic couple (we’re not talking tongue here, cool your jets), was instead turned into this:
According to Spencer Rothbell, the show’s writer, “Originally the guy had flowers and they kissed on the mouth.” That cheek kiss serves the sole purpose of giving parents an out if they want to continue to pretend they live in a world in which gay people don’t exist. Those guys up there? They’re just French. That’s how they say hello.
Rothbell posted to his Tumblr that he was surprised at the change to the script, saying “I was surprised too bc it’s such a minor throwaway moment but I guess it’s better than nothing. Maybe one day the main character can be gay and it won’t be a big deal.”
It’s only natural to want our entertainment (and yes, that includes our children’s entertainment) to reflect the actual world in which we live. So when a fan expressed happiness at the ostensibly gay couple, but disappointment at their… other qualities (“Like Wow White gay men. Groundbreaking.”), Rothbell did not disagree.
I always think about how clarence is about 3 white boys…if I ever pitch my own show I’ll make sure to have more diversityBaby steps, right?