Confidence is key!
[Image via WENN.]
Ramin Setoodeh wrote possibly one of the most ignorant articles of all time for Newsweek Magazine, asserting that although straight men can play homosexual parts flawlessly, it doesn't work when gay people play heterosexual.
WTF kind of logic is that?!
Oh, we're sorry, are straight people just innately better performers than gays?? Or are straight people just so emotionally complex and superior that they can easily inhabit the role of a simple, caricature-like homosexual?
Here are some of infuriating gems published:
It's weird seeing Sean Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he's trying to hide something, which of course he is. Even the play's most hilarious scene, when Chuck tries to pick up a drunk woman at a bar, devolves into unintentional camp. Is it funny because of all the '60s-era one-liners, or because the woman is so drunk (and clueless) that she agrees to go home with a guy we all know is gay?
But the truth is, openly gay actors still have reason to be scared. While it's OK for straight actors to play gay (as Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger did in Brokeback Mountain), it's rare for someone to pull off the trick in reverse. De Rossi and Harris do that on TV, but they also inhabit broad caricatures, not realistic characters likes the ones in Up in the Air or even The Proposal.
As viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker-room torture in junior high school. Which is why it's a little hard to know what to make of the latest fabulous player to join Glee: Jonathan Groff, the openly gay Broadway star. In Spring Awakening, he showed us that he was a knockout singer and a heartthrob. But on TV, as the shifty glee captain from another school who steals Rachel's heart, there's something about his performance that feels off. In half his scenes, he scowls—is that a substitute for being straight? When he smiles or giggles, he seems more like your average theater queen, a better romantic match for Kurt than Rachel. It doesn't help that he tried to bed his girlfriend while singing (and writhing to) Madonna's Like a Virgin. He is so distracting, I'm starting to wonder if Groff's character on the show is supposed to be secretly gay.
Lesbian actresses might have it easier—since straight men think it's OK for them to kiss a girl and like it—but how many of them can you name? Cynthia Nixon was married to a man when she originated Miranda on Sex and the City. Kelly McGillis was straight when she steamed up Top Gun's sheets, and Anne Heche went back to dating men (including her Men in Trees costar). If an actor of the stature of George Clooney came out of the closet tomorrow, would we still accept him as a heterosexual leading man? It's hard to say. Or maybe not. Doesn't it mean something that no openly gay actor like that exists?
Or maybe, and call us a little crazy here, MAYBE it's because ignorant articles such as this are still being published, that perpetuate this kind of bigotry and ignorance that keep closeted gay leading men in the closet!
Shame on you, Newsweek!
Tags: broadway, brokeback mountain, disgusting, equal rights, gay rights, glee, gross, homophobia, jonathan groff, kelly mcgillis, kurt, like a virgin, men in trees, miranda, movies, newsweek, portia de rossi, rachel, ramin setoodeh, sean hayes, sex and the city, spring awakening, the proposal, top gun, tv, up in the air