Gay characters in conventional spaces: Will and Grace and the situation comedy genre

Kathleen Battles, Wendy Hilton-Morrow
2002 Critical Studies in Media Communication  
ᮀ-This paper explores how Will & Grace, which has been heralded in the popular press for its positive representations of gay men, situates the potentially controversial issue of homosexuality within safe and familiar popular culture conventions, particularly those of the situation comedy genre. This paper draws on feminist and queer theory to examine the liabilities of relying on these familiar situation comedy conventions, demonstrating how the program equates gayness with a lack of
more » ... lack of masculinity, relies on sexual tension and delayed consummation, infantilizes the program's most potentially subversive characters, and emphasisizes characters' interpersonal relationships rather than the characters' connection to the larger social world. Additionally it argues that by inviting mainstream audiences to read the program within familiar televisual frames, Will & Grace can be read as reinforcing heterosexism and, thus, can be seen as heteronormative.
doi:10.1080/07393180216553 fatcat:mekbgtgcv5hnhjls7vkpyqy6yy