The Week in Gay TV: Oxygen Starts a “Glee Project”, Current Says “That’s Gay” Again, and Fran Drescher is “Happily Divorced”

It’s time to look ahead at The Week in Gay TV and the shows battling for your
attention and for space on your DVR. The summer season is starting to
get into full swing as more summer shows make their debuts, including
Oxygen’s The Glee Project, a new season of Hot in Cleveland, as well as the debut of Fran Drescher’s new sitcom Happily Divorced.

Bryan Safi with a rainbow and a unicorn … shouldn’t there also be some glitter?

This weekend Current TV celebrates pride with a new special collecting the best of Bryan Safi’s
sharp and hilarious commentary about gay representation in the media
(they should create a website or two with that kind of focus), That’s Gay.
This week’s special will include Bryan’s take on the Gay Yellow Pages
and his attempt to become the latest gay to adopt a child.

If you were late to hearing about Safi’s amazing commentaries, you’ve
got a chance to catch up as Current is also airing the first two That’s Gay
specials. Even if you’ve seen them, they’re definitely worth a repeated
viewing. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of watching Bryan’s
descriptions of the different ways characters come out on TV.

I found this picture when I went to an online dictionary and looked up “incomparable”.

Meanwhile, I don’t usually pay attention to CMT’s Next Superstar but I’ll probably check in for Friday’s season premiere as the amazing Kristen Chenoweth
performs. Chenoweth is such an amazing singer and
ally, I think I’d watch her on any show that doesn’t have a “700” in it.

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed Real Time with Bill Maher (save for the “New Rules” segment) but I’m looking forward to seeing this week’s show since Jane Lynch will be showing up for an interview with Maher and to give a dramatic reading of Anthony Weiner’s Facebook exchanges with Bill. That sounds like it could be amazing enough to make up for my usual annoyance with the roundtable discussion.

Why haven’t we seen anyone sport an eye patch and dark lipstick on RuPaul’s Drag Race? It’s a pretty fierce look

Saturday brings the summer finale of Doctor Who, as The Doctor and Rory race to save Amy from her kidnapper. It’s a crisis that brings River Song back for what she knows will be The Doctor’s darkest hour and bring back one of his most fearsome foes. Thanks to Doctor Who being pre-empted for Memorial Day weekend, we’re able to get spoilers from the UK and not only can we anticipate the inclusion of a gay couple in the adventure, but we’ll also get some key revelations.

I was a bit mixed about last season. I certainly liked a lot of it, there were a lot of ideas that worked and I enjoyed some moments. Unfortunately, I didn’t
find myself caring about that season the way I did throughout Russell T. Davies’ run. This season has finally met with the expectations I had when Stephen Moffat took over the show, and I can’t wait to see where things end.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a new Color Splash, but David Bromstad is back on Saturday as he helps improve a master bedroom with a unique light feature. Finally, Logo has a new Pretty Hurts that sees Rand take a look at his PR efforts.

Meanwhile, Current continues to celebrate Pride Saturday with the special I’m Coming Out, the Vanguard that took a look at Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill, repeats of all three That’s Gay Specials, and Brokeback Mountain running throughout the day. That’s not the only marathon this weekend, with Hot in Cleveland getting ready to debut a new season, TV Land is airing 13 hours of the sitcom starting at 6 AM.

The cast of The Glee Project

It’s a musical Sunday when Oxygen gives Gleeks something to deal with their summer withdrawal pains, with The Glee Project. The series will follow 12 hopeful stars competing for a guest role on Glee. Each week a guest mentor will work with them on a challenge and the bottom three will have to perform before Ryan Murphy to show that they deserve to stick around for another week.

Sunday will see a two-hour premiere that includes a casting special
that takes a look at how producers picked the 12 finalists from nearly
40,000 applications. That’s followed by the cast’s first challenge as Darren Criss helps them prepare for a performance of “Firework.” (I’d be tempted to complain about starting with a Katy Perry song, but I think Lea Michelle demonstrated that “Firework” can sound pretty good without all that autotune.)

We’ve got one out competitor we’ll be cheering for on The Glee Project, Alex Newell and he will participating in a live event, along with the rest of the cast, at the show’s Facebook page starting at 7:45 in the Eastern and Pacific time zones.

Neil Patrick Harris and Christina Hendricks from Company, something AfterElton and AfterEllen readers can watch together.

That’s not all that’s making Sunday musical, as CBS has The 65th Annual Tony Awards. This year, not only will Neil Patrick Harris return to host, he’ll be performing along with the cast of the limited-run revival of Company with Stephen Colbert   and Christina Hendricks (I’m not clear if anyone else from Company will be appearing but the production also starred Patti LuPone, Anika Noni Rose, Katie Finneran and Martha Plimpton.)

The ceremony will include performances from The Book of Mormon, Sister Act and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, along with appearances by Nick Adams and cast members from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Martha Wash.

Between the chance to see some of Book of Mormon (which has out performer Rory O’Malley
in the cast, who is nominated for an award) and the chance to see
Harris, Hendricks and Colbert performing together, I can’t remember the
last time I was so eager to see The Tonys hit the airwaves.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed watching and hating a villain the way I’ve done with Game of ThronesCersei

Sunday also brings a couple of penultimate episodes, including the last Game of Thrones
before the finale. If last week’s episode sounded tense, things should
be getting even crazier this week as the kingdoms edge even closer to
civil war, Daenerys makes another big move and Jon Snow discovers someone’s secret.

Meanwhile, as its season comes closer to ending, I thought I’d ask how many of you are still watching AMC’s The Killing.
I’m still watching, though my partner is much more involved than I am.
We’re rarely able to watch both shows on the same night (my DVR seems
opposed to recording a full episode of The Killing, thank goodness for reruns) but I often find myself wishing the show had the kind of rich detail Game of Thrones does. There’s plenty I like about it,
but I was hoping there would be more of a mystery to this season. I
hope the revelation of the killer will prove me wrong, but I don’t
expect to look back on the series and count all the clues I missed.

Even in her Sonni Lewis/Ensign Ro days, I didn’t predict Michelle Forbes’ career would be this interesting.

Still, The Killing has plenty of the kind of performances you’d expect out of an AMC drama. Mireille Enos
manages to show plenty of microexpressions that demands that viewers
pay attention to understand what’s really going on in detective Sarah Linden’s mind. Joel Kinnaman has repeatedly left us wondering if his character really is that inappropriate or if its an act to put witnesses at ease. As grieving parents, Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton have given performances with plenty of depth in roles that could easily have felt repetitive.

Finally, USA has a new In Plain Sight as Mary gets some personal news (which just might have something to do with Mary McCormack’s pregnancy)  has to work to help an Amish witness transition to life in the program. As a fan of The Devil’s Playground and Amish in the City, I hope In Plain Sight can avoid the usual caricature of the Amish.

We’re going to have to say goodbye to Marshall Gregson all too soon.

Monday takes us one more step closer to saying goodbye to the Gregsons with a new United States of Tara. As he continues to grieve, Marshall moves out of the Gregson house and moves in with Grandma Sandy (which brings Francis Conroy back to the show, yes!) giving Bryce a new room to create havoc.

I’ve mentioned how much I’ve started enjoying Tara ever since Bryce appeared. Unfortunately, my partner gave up on the show midway through the first season as he lost patience with Tara’s many alters. However, this season has gotten so good, I’m about to try to convince him to give the show another chance. Too bad there isn’t a way to get Charmaine-free episodes.

After The Secret Life of the American Teenager, it’s nice to see ABC Family get a hit that doesn’t make me cringe.

Last week, I mentioned ABC Family’s newest drama, Switched at Birth. I wasn’t planning on discussing it much further (not until a character comes out, which on ABC Family seems pretty likely) but I was surprised how much I enjoyed the premiere.

There’s a lot going on with these characters. I’m really enjoying the different ways everyone treats Daphne’s deafness, from Toby’s nonchalance to John’s attempts to make things better with money and Regina’s bulldog defensiveness. Further, I was surprised how much I liked Bay, who starts out as a self-indulgent, melodramatic teen but started to win me over by showing her rebellious intellectual side with her Banksy-inspired graffiti, and by teaching a cute boy about Magritte.

Monday, Bravo sends the Platinum Hit hopefuls on a road trip to work on their next song. After teaching me that “anthemic” was an actual word last week, I’m hoping I’ll get to expand my vocabulary again this week.

Meanwhile,  MTV has a new Teen Wolf as Scott gets ready for his first date with Alison, Showtime has a new Nurse Jackie and ABC Family will likely have me playing another fruitless round of “Where’s Griff?” on The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

When is “A” going to say something about all those pastels?

ABC Family kicks off a new Tuesday night line-up as the camptastic Pretty Little Liars kicks off its second season. While there aren’t any gay men on the hit drama, with it’s mix of soap opera, Lifetime stalker movie, and a vicious mean girl who knows how to use a text message to draw blood, it’s got plenty of elements to draw gay men into the audience.

That’s before you consider the cast, which includes the likes of Laura Leighton, Holly Marie Combs and Nia Peeples, who have a few gay-fave series behind them, and the guy-candy that includes Ian Harding, Eric Steinberg and Yani Gellman (who you might remember for his frustrating barely-there gay role on The Young and the Restless).

I have the feeling I’m about to forget about a whole bunch of stupid things Ezra does.

The second season picks up from where things left off, with the Liars trying to explain themselves after Ian’s apparent death and the disappearance of his body. I hope this time they manage to handle this situation a little more smartly than they’ve handled past situations. At the very least, maybe Aria can get her poker face under control and (for once) she’ll be able to avoid panicking at the slightest thing.

ABC Family is following that with its newest series, The Nine Lives of Chloe King. The action drama follows a girl who learns she’s descended from a super-powered race just after her 16th birthday. Hmm, a teenager suddenly finds out she has super powers and a grand destiny .. .could this turn out to be the next Buffy?

I’m just hoping that deep, recognizable voice doesn’t throw me off.

Comedy Central debuts a new series Tuesday with Jon Benjamin Has a Van. The series stars H. Jon Benjamin (best known for his voice work in Archer and Bob’s Burgers) as he travels the country in his vans looking for news to break and stories to cover. Basically, it sounds like it’s applying the fake news genre to the investigative news magazine. I don’t usually like Comedy Central’s fake news shows when they don’t come from Jon Stewart’s production company, but my love of Archer is telling me to give this one a chance.

NBC has more reality TV on Tuesday with a new America’s Got Talent. I was getting ready to complain that this season was getting to a slow start, but then last Wednesday we got to see singer Daniel Joseph Baker. Since NBC hasn’t put the clip online (though we’re watching for it) the ebullient and “fierce” Baker had a sparkling, instantly-lovable personality and a strong voice ready to belt out Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”.  After calling him “this generation’s Liberace“, the judges passed him onto Las Vegas. I can’t wait to see him again.

Daniel Joseph Baker has me reconsidering my boredom with singers on America’s Got Talent.

That’s followed by the second quarterfinal rounds on The Voice as Team Adam and Team Cee-Lo battle for their spot in the finals, which will include out singer Nakia.  Adam and Cee-Lo’s teams gave us the battle rounds’ best duets, so I have high hopes for these performances.

Finally, USA has a new night of Tuesday dramas with new episodes of White Collar and Covert Affairs.

Modern Family was already taken as a title.

TV Land debuts its newest sitcom Wednesday with Happily Divorced. Created by Fran Drescher and her gay ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobsen, the series follows a florist whose 18-year marriage ends when she discovers her husband is gay. However, when her husband can’t afford to move out they try to survive living under the same roof. As you might guess, Drescher and Jacobsen are taking a little bit of inspiration from their own lives.

Okay, I’m going to confess that I was a huge fan of The Nanny in its day. While I found it to be cliched and predictable, I found every punchline hilarious, even though I always saw them coming. I can’t explain it, there was something about the cast’s timing that made The Nanny work for me. I even loved Drescher’s voice, which I found hilarious the way Japanese TV viewers did. Thus, I’m looking forward to seeing Drescher in another sitcom — especially since this one doesn’t have a mildly uncomfortable premise.

Betty White does the heavy lifting for the Hot in Cleveland cast. Literally.

Before Happily Divorced, TV Land is kicking off a new season of Hot in Cleveland with the ladies heading to Amish country (is Amish a theme for the week?) looking for Elka as she runs from the law. While Hot in Cleveland hasn’t been envelope-pushing comedy, it’s always been a fun way to spend a half-hour.

Wednesday was supposed to bring the premiere of The Challenge, but that’s been bumped back a week so that MTV can air one of those The Real World: The S&@! They Should Have Shown specials. It’s like hearing that Jersey Shore has been canceled, only to find out it’s being replaced by new episodes of The Hills. Finally, NBC has more America’s Got Talent auditions and Fox has the first competition on So You Think You Can Dance.

“In my nightmares, I’m dating a girl and her dad keeps wanting to show me how he knows all the dances from High School Musical.”

While Syfy dominates the made-for-cable horror movie genre, MTV has been inching in that direction having given us My Super Psycho Sweet 16 (which took the reality franchise to the dark place many viewers wanted to see) and a sequel. Thursday, the channel offers a movie not based on one of its reality franchises with The Truth Below.

It follows four college friends who end up facing their deaths after their car gets buried by an avalanche while on spring break. As their air supply dwindles they discuss their secrets and realize that they might die before they can suffocate.

We’re just starting to prove the theory that Becki Newton makes everything better.

Thursday also promises a new Love Bites that has That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon, ScrubsDonald Faison and cutie Matt Long. Looking at the ratings, I’m not sure if we’ll actually get the chance to see that episode, which would be a shame. I’m starting to really enjoy Love Bites. The format may not allow room for memorable stories, but so far the cast has always turned out to have enough charisma to overcome weak stories. Then again, Becki Newton is usually responsible for half of each episode’s charm.

Meanwhile, Adult Swim has a new Childrens Hospital that sees Blake face discrimination for being a clown. TLC has a new NY Ink where I hope to learn another new word like “incompetency” from Robear while Fox has the first So You Think You Can Dance results show.

As usual, I’m curious to know which show you’re anticipating most in the week ahead:

Last week, we got a pretty tight race but Teen Wolf took the prize getting 36% of your votes. The return of White Collar came in second with 27%, while Out in America came in third with 22%.

We get even more summer series next week, with the returns of Wipeout, Drop Dead Diva while some guy named Keith Olbermann debuts his new show on Current.

Lyle Masaki is a fan of obscure superheroes, video games, adorkable guys and that show you loved that got cancelled way too soon.