ABC

7 Shows That Need To Fix The Gay In 2016

There be spoilers ahead!

As we wrap up 2015, we’ve got more gay characters on television than ever before. In fact, it’s rare to find a series that doesn’t have some kind of LGBT presence.

But not every show gets it right.

Even some of our favorite and most inclusive shows need to do some fine tuning to give their gay characters their fair due.

This holiday season we’re gifting seven shows with instructions on how they can fix their flawed LGBT story lines and characters.

  1. Nashville

    Nashville GIF
    ABC

    Oh, Nashville. You gave us a strapping, masculine gay character in Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) and while it only seemed like forever, he did finally come out of the closet at the end of last season. This being a soap, though, we knew his relationship with perfect boyfriend, Kevin (Kyle Dean Massey), would hit a snag and his country music career would face challenges with being an out artist.

    But does every Will story have to be about him being gay? Maybe he could have money issues or find himself in a situation that could open up his career but burn his friendship with Gunnar in the process? Come on, Nashville.

  2. Days of Our Lives

    tbl-christopher-sean06
    photo by Clinton Gaughan

    A year ago the Will/Sonny/Paul love triangle was just heating up. Fans were torn, as Will acted like an entitled jerk and we knew Sonny could easily do better with good-guy hunk Paul. As we head into 2016, though, Will is dead, Sonny has left town and Paul has been relegated to group scenes.

    DOOL legend Deidre Hall (Marlena) has said there’s little more coming in the next five to six months, which is a shame since the LGBT storyline over the years has brought the show Emmys and higher ratings.

    How do you fix this sad state of affairs when new head writers Josh Griffith and Dena Higley don’t seem to care about telling an LGBT story in any way? Bring back Sonny just as Paul is falling for someone new. Christopher Sean has proved he’s a solid actor—and doesn’t mind providing exposition wearing only a towel.

  3. Empire

    Jussie Smollett
    Fox

    Where did things go wrong with Empire? The show was an instant phenomenon when launched earlier this year, with the fierce Cookie Lyon (all hail Taraji P. Henson) and gay son Jamal (Jussie Smollett). The Lee Daniels-produced series tackled homophobia head-on and even gave Jamal several relationships—and some great musical numbers.

    Then, Season Two happened: Jamal and former BF Michael (Rafael de la Feunte) were quickly reunited—and broken up again—after Michael got some oral attention from a sleazy photographer. What’s more, Jamal, who never mentioned being bisexual, hooked up with Alicia Keys with no real explanation other than music has the power to toss your sexuality out the window.

    We’re still scratching our heads about this turn of events and the message it’s sending to the audience. Can the right girl suddenly turn a gay man straight? (Ditto for lesbians, apparently, as Marisa Tomei’s lesbian character suddenly went from wanting Cookie to Lucious.) Let’s just pull a Dallas and pretend that we were stuck in Lucious’s cluttered, homophobic mind the last few episodes. Please.

  4. Kingdom

    Frank Grillo, Nick Jonas
    DirecTV

    We couldn’t have been more excited when we found out Nick Jonas was going to play a closeted MMA fighter on this DirecTV drama. Even though Nick said it would be a “slow burn,” we didn’t realize it would be this slow. It took the entire first season to see Jonas’s Nate Kulina… what, get a back-alley blow job?

    Season Two just wrapped and proved to be a wash for any plot advancement concerning Nick’s sexuality. In fact, other than being called out by his girlfriend for the Grindr-like app and photos on his phone, Nate seems further away from coming out than ever. In last week’s finale [SPOILERS], Nate was clearly still not ready to talk to his brother or his father about his sexuality.

    Twenty episodes into this journey and the “slow burn” has pretty much been snuffed out.

    How about, in Season Three, Nate actually falls in love with another MMA fighter, one who is fearless about who he is? (Casting suggestion: Skyler Maxon, who already played a gay fighter in Faking It).

    Because, honestly, crafting such an interesting take on sexuality is a waste if you’re never going to address it.

  5. Pretty Little Liars

    Tyler Blackburn on Pretty Little Liars
    ABC

    The ABC Family teen drama did right by the LGBT community early on by having Emily (Shay Mitchell) come out and be in the mix as much as any of the hetero “Liars.” But the revelation about the true identity of the villainous “A” was a huge misstep.

    In the midseason finale, viewers learned A was actually CeCe, who used to be Charles before transitioning. Sure, the show wanted to wrap up one longruning mystery so it could jump ahead five years in January, but making the villain transgender seemed pulled out of thin air. The PLL writers (many of whom are gay) seemed to want to get on the visibility bandwagon while still playing into harmful, old stereotypes about trans people.

    To make up for the error, how about the writers create a crossover with The Fosters , with recurring character Cole (trans actor Tom Phelan) coming to Rosewood and helping the Liars figure out a new mystery?

    While they’re at it, they should bring back Paige. Emily deserves some happiness!

  6. The Originals

    Steven Krueger and Colin Woodell as Josh and Aiden in The Originals
    CW

    The The Vampire Diaries spinoff made us swoon last season with the Romeo-and-Romeo romance between vampire Josh and werewolf Aiden (Steven Krueger). But, like Shakespeare’s original, the relationship was cut short by Aiden’s death.

    But that’s not the real problem. (Newsflash: Romances on genre shows rarely end well.)

    Josh is still present this season, but just barely. Unlike Nashville’s Will, he’s proven he can hold his own with the other vampires in battle and doesn’t need to have a gay storyline to exist. Why he isn’t more entrenched in the New Orleans drama on the show? Since we still haven’t learned much about Josh’s backstory, let’s bring his real family into the mix and reveal that his bloodline is just as important as the Mikaelsons’.

    And even if he’s not ready to give his undead heart to someone new, give Josh at least a romp with someone. That would be more exciting than just seeing this charismatic actor lost in the shadows.

  7. Quantico

    quanticofive

    How I wish we could go back to September, before this FBI drama debuted, and stop myself from watching it in the first place.

    In ( one of the worst gay storylines in TV history, we meet Simon (Tate Ellington), who may be gay or just faking it.

    Then there’s openly gay analyst Elias (Rick Cosnett) who seems to challenge Simon, but ends up being a traitor who throws himself out a window rather than face the music. Talk about dredging up old Hollywood cliches.

    How to fix this mess? The entire first half of Quantico was about learning the core cast’s secrets—but how about a trans character whose gender identity isn’t a secret?

    Not every LGBT character has to be noble and perfect but to have one end up not gay at all and another be a sniveling coward and double-crosser blows bigger than any hidden terrorist bomb.

    I’m holding out for a hero but, until then I’ll be turning the dial.