Beauty and the Gay…

Okay, so just thinking about the fact that there are people who now will not allow their children to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie because it features a gay character. Nevermind that it’s basically a story about Stockholm Syndrome and bestiality, but having a gay character was just a step too far for them. (Not that I’m judging.) (Okay, maybe a little bit.)

And it occurred to me though, we’ve had gay characters in movies and TV for a very long time, this is nothing new. And I’m not talking about Will & Grace, or Billy Crystal’s Jody on Soap, I’m going way back…

Remember Bewitched, remember Uncle Arthur, brilliantly played by the late Paul Lynde. Totally gay. Uncle Arthur was every family’s old gay uncle. And we loved him. Just back then nobody talked about the fact he was mid-40’s, never married, but had the same “roommate” for 27 years.

Or I Dream of Jeannie. Here you have the lovely Barbara Eden playing an extremely beautiful woman, who totally adores astronaut Tony Nelson. would do anything for him, and who literally knows magic and has a thousand years of experience to draw upon. And does he hit that? No. He does not. He doesn’t even let his presumably hetero buddy Roger hit that. There has never been a more totally gay character on TV than Tony Nelson.

So you say, fine, but those aren’t kids shows. Sure, okay, let’s talk kids shows.

Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie have been documented for years. Two guys, one bedroom, one bed, and half their conversations take place with one of them in the bathtub. They are the arch-typical urban gay couple.

And remember Captain Kangaroo? Did you ever see a Mrs. Kangaroo? Of course not. But Mr. Green Jeans was always around, wasn’t he? And who else would keep a dancing bear as a pet?

Mister Rogers, Captain Kangaroo, and Romper Room

I just read that Mister Rogers passed away 10 years ago today, and this made me stop a moment and reflect. Mister Rogers and Captain Kangaroo were the first two adults, outside of my immediate family, to take the time to talk directly to me. They were always warm and kind, and never mean or cruel. Unlike that Romper Room bitch. She’d look through that magic looking glass thingy, “I see Susie and Jamie and Kevin and Mark…” What about me? I’m right here! Can’t you see me? I would be right in front of the TV, jumping up and down, waving frantically. Why can’t she see me? I watched every day for years. Every damn day, just waiting, waiting for that day she called my name. Bitch never saw me. Never. Finally one day I turned her off, threw away my little plastic-cup-on-a-rope stompy thingies, and never looked back. She was the first woman to ever break my heart, and it was time for me to move on. Still, every now and then, I think of her. And I think, if I ever run into that Romper Room lady, I swear I’m gonna walk right up to her, slap her in the face, and say “Can you see me now bitch?”