Wednesday, December 22, 2004

a good thing

Well, after yesterday's highly negative post I thought I should write about something positive. Strangely enough, this is yet another TV story.

One thing you can't help but being struck by if you watch enough Japanese TV is the prevalence of several fu-laming gay guys peppered around in guest spots on the various talk shows. The surprising thing is that they're taken as just another member of the panel. I wondered if, like the States, gay guys on Japanese TV are de-sexed and placed in a best friend role, but no, the other day I saw two girls and one very very gay guy (all famous singers) being interviewed on one of Japan's biggest talk shows. Japanese comedy isn't exactly PC or even particularly polite, so I was dumbfounded to see the hosts treat the gay guy exactly the same way they were treating the two female singers. Which is not very politely. The standard format of Japanese comedy is a duo, with one rude guy who says all the things you're thinking and cracks edgy jokes, and then his nice guy partner who apologizes for his friend's rudeness while wacking him on the back of the head.

Anyway, they had a segment where all three guests had to describe their ideal kiss, and they had actors act out the situation. Sure enough, they had two guys smooching away by the end of the gay singer's "dramatic reenactment." And when everyone discussed it and joked about it afterwards, the fact that he was gay wasn't even brought up. They tore him apart for the unlikeliness of the fantasy he had created, but the gay thing wasn't even touched. And it wasn't like they were dancing around the issue, it was just... not a big deal.

I haven't seen any of the recent gay themed shows in the States like Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, or even Ellen, so I can't say how pop culture in America deals with homosexuality these days, but it's nice to see the issue that tore America in half during this past election basically moving along undebated in Japan. The next step is to get foul mouthed butch lesbians on the talk shows.

No comments: