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GLAAD's Protest of Cross-Dressing Comedy, 'Work It,' Ignores the Bigger Issue: The Show is Moronic

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 22, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 22, 2011 |

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has been all up in the news this week, throwing a hissy fit about ABC’s new cross-dressing comedy, “Work It,” screaming like a bunch of ninnies that the show will cause irreparable damage the transgender community, going so far as to place an ad in The Hollywood Reporter. Normally, I’m a fan of GLAAD. And I’m not just saying that. I was raised in Redneckia, Arkansas by a gay father during a time when the overwhelming majority of citizenry was openly hostile to homosexuality. GLAAD never prevented my Pops from getting his ass whooped by a**hole homophobes, but hey! It got the NY Times to use the word “gay” instead of “sodomite” or “screaming fairy.” One small step …

But GLAAD’s outrage over “Work It” is misplaced, misguided, and silly. It’s basically “Bosom Buddies” or “Sorority Boys” set in the workplace, and while it’s a preposterous, outdated, unfunny and ludicrous premise, it is not offensive to the transgendered community. It is offensive to intelligence and common decency, however, and the more GLAAD gets their panties/knickers in a twist over it, the more exposure they provide to a show that almost everyone had given two, three episodes tops before it got cancelled.

What is it about “Work It” specifically that provoked GLAAD’s response, anyway? Cross-dressing has been part of the fabric of comedy for decades, from “Monty Python” to “Kids in the Hall” to Mrs. Doubtfire, Big Momma’s House and Norbit. More often that not, unless it involves Eddie Izzard, it’s dumb, but cross-dressing comedy has rarely been hostile to the transgendered community. Reasonably intelligent people can tell the difference between a man or woman that self-identifies as someone of the opposite sex and two idiots dressing up like women to get a job. The more GLAAD protests “Work It,” the more the two ideas get conflated. If there’s confusion, GLAAD will be partially responsible.

The real issue, however, is that many people can’t tell the difference between a smart comedy and dumb one (see “Two and a Half Men’s’ ratings). GLAAD is providing free exposure to a dumb one, and now everyone is going to check it out to see what’s so offensive about it. Viewers with doltish sensibilities might even stick around, and then we ALL lose. The best thing GLAAD can do it shut up about the show and let it die a quick death, as was preordained by the television gods the moment the show was announced.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.