Where is the enjoyment of watching a show, if the producers are letting the fans write the script? There's no point in me watching something if I already know what is going to happen and how things are going to transpire. I'm not much of a writer myself to begin with, I would rather leave that up to the pros. Besides, these shows may be very important to the people who created them, this is their project, not yours.
You have a point. The writer's money went into these projects and they are without a doubt THEIR projects. But if you want to put a show out there, make sure that fans like it, otherwise there isn't much point. Skins s7 was the absolutely worst fuck up ever in the history of television. Yet again another lesbian character on television does. Yet again. And it was just completely and utterly gratuitous. I am not saying that as a fan. I am saying that as a TV critic, along with many other tv critics, who said that it was just cruel and uncalled for, especially considering the following that the character had. That character had stopped gay teens from killing themselves, because they saw themselves represented on TV. They were given some hope.
Either way, the lesson is never back or root for lesbians couples on TV. They NEVER LAST, and expect one of them to die, cheat with a man even though they are lesbians, pr go to prison.
I think you made some very valid points about the representation of sexual minorities in the media. As I see it, this doesn't really have to do with whether writers and producers should give in to fan demands concerning certain "ships" or storylines, but more about the legitimate demands that racial/ethnic or sexual minorities should have a truthful and fair portrayal in mainstream media. I found an interesting article that gives an exposé over how ethnic minorities have been portrayed on television, which I think it is relevant also for the portrayal of gay men/lesbians. The problem is that even in our day and age when characters who deviate from the White/Anglo/heterosexual norm DO appear on television, writers/producers are still caught up in certain clichés, such as the fact lesbians always have to die. Here is the analysis:
Evolutionary Stages of Minorities in the Mass Media
Stage one: invisibility
In Clarks’ first stage, a given minority group is generally ignored by the dominant group’s media, not even acknowledged to exist. Gerbner and Gross (1976) coined the term symbolic annihilation noting that “representation in the fictional world [of massmedia] signifies social existence” while absence denotes non-existence A prime example of symbolic annihilation is that recurring African-American characters virtually vanished from network television in 1953 and would remain extremely scarce until 1965. American Indians too have suffered periods of symbolic annihilation. In reaction to this, in1976, singer and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie joined the cast of Sesame Street largely, she said, to prove to young people that “Indians still exist”.
Stage Two: Ridicule.
This is the stage in which minorities are lampooned and humiliated, which is ostensibly an improvement over being utterly ignored. A certain set of minority characters are portrayed as stupid, silly, lazy, irrational, or simply laughable. This was noted as early as 1920 by Du Bois. For centuries, he wrote, Europeans “have exhausted every ingenuity of trick ,ridicule, and caricature on black folk”. White minstrels’ performing burlesques “in blackface” is a prime example, and there are too many others to mention here. As to American Indians in film and television, they were often depicted as “simple, lazy, wasteful, and humorless; they are shown as lacking intelligence and English-speaking skills and as believing in heathenistic nonsense for religion”.
Stage Three: Regulation.
Minority characters are presented as enforcers or administrators of the dominant group’s norms. This is the stage Clark seemed to focus on, noting that after centuries of Ridicule, black characters suddenly began appearing in regulatory roles during a period( beginning about 1965) when their “integration” into the larger society became the dominant paradigm. Part of the process of assimilation is a sort of rite in which minorities must, at least symbolically, serve as enforcers—or, as Clark called them, Regulators: police officers, soldiers, public-school teachers, administrators, and government functionaries. As a precedent, Clark posed the case of Irish immigrants, who in the late 19th century “took to the streets to violently protest the injustices perpetrated against [them]”. Irish Americans, he said, demonstrated that “they were no longer willing to tolerate being ridiculed and thus were grudgingly awarded a new stereotype.” The Irish American “suddenly found himself portrayed... instead as that super-guardian of the established order, the Irish cop.”
Clark suggested that an analogous process occurred in the late 1960s with African Americans once they demonstrated that they would no longer tolerate being ridiculed in the media, and indeed, the conclusions of the Kerner commission supported this. Thus African Americans were suddenly “raised” to the role of enforcers. Offering a table of characters from the 1969 television season, Clark showed how his Regulator theme applied to African American characters. He identified 15 recurring African American characters on U.S. network television programs in 1969, 14 of which he said conformed to his Regulation stage: these were police officers, private detectives, spies, military officers, military nurses, and public-school teachers.
Stage Four: Respect.
The fourth and presumably final stage, Respect, occurs when the minoritygroup in question ceases to be portrayed differently from the dominant group, and intergroup/interracial relationships are no longer deemed significant.
The article itself deals with how American Indians are portrayed in the media, and for those interested in reading it, I will give the link:
My impression is that the situation has changed for the better in later years, and that the portrayal of African-Americans and other minorities has reached stage four. Another poster mentioned "Grey's anatomy", which I think is a good example of this, with its "color blind" casting. However, I think it's still quite common that POCs and American Indians are cast as "side-kicks" to the more important white protagonists, what Spike Lee has called the Magical Negro stereotype:
The same somehow unrealistic or inauthentic portrayal seems to apply to lesbians, who for some reason (as you note) fall in love and cheat their partner with a man, a behavior that I find very odd, since the lesbian women I know are simply not interested in men at all!
This post veered away a bit from the original topic, hope that's OK!
Edited by korinna, 26 August 2013 - 03:07 PM.