In two historic rulings Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned DOMA based on equal protection and rendered Prop. 8 meaningless on a technicality. Why? Because SCOTUS, like the American public, was successfully mesmerized by a vast left-wing Hollywood conspiracy designed to do just that. Like vampiric Manchurian candidates, members of the high court rose up to judge as instructed, with Chief Justice Roberts and swing vote Anthony Kennedy cleverly covering their tracks by trading decisive majority votes. Brilliant.
How did it happen? Like everything important in America, it started on TV. Media watchdog GLAAD has spent more than a quarter of a century working with the entertainment industry to ensure authentic LGBT storylines. Following, an abridged list of the shows that brought us to this remarkable (and completely planned) moment in history.
Three’s Company, 1976
By featuring Don Knotts in leisure suits and ascots in this screwball sitcom, Americans were being primed for other wacky, actually gay neighbors. Also, John Ritter (pictured above with costars Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers) played a straight guy pretending to be a gay guy, for the whole series. It was complicated.
By hypnotizing gay character Jodie (Billy Crystal, pictured) into thinking that he was a 90-year old Jewish man in the highly-rated series finale, creator Susan Harris proved to America that gays were no worse than Jews.
Gay spawn Steven Carrington (Al Corley, pictured)’s character served two important functions on the ’80s primetime soap. First, assuring Americans that there really is life after an oil rig explosion, and b) inuring them to the effects of recasting a main character, gay or otherwise but especially gay, with a less attractive actor through “plastic surgery.”
This utterly boring, masturbatory baby-boomer drama from creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick was the Trojan Horse deployed to show two gay men (David Marshall Grant, Peter Frechette, pictured) in bed together in the episode “Strangers.” Half the sponsors dropped out. Genius.
Tales of the City, 1993
The life, times and travails of the residents of Barbary Lane in San Francisco of all places was the cover used to recapture the PBS crowd after they discovered Julia Child was a big (and really tall) homophobe.
Will & Grace, 1998
Originally conceived by creators David Cohan and Matt Mutchnick as a German verb to describe the pacification of public officials (“And before he knew it, Joe Biden was completely willngraced”), the actual show was launched only after Wings producers turned down Matt Damon’s request for a gay-friendly cameo.
Dawson’s Creek, 1998
By threatening his younger brother with a gun in the first season for joking he might be gay, Pacey’s older brother Doug (Dylan Neal, pictured with Kerr Smith) proved to America and the NRA that even closet cases can handle firearms. By the series finale, Doug was yelling at old people about how gay he was which was totally embarrassing for everyone but the point had been made. Left unexplained: James Van Der Beek’s weird career trajectory the last couple of years.
Queer as Folk, 2000In a notable misstep, this classic British series of the same name was remade in America and set in Pittsburg. Popular exclusively at twink viewing parties, the show’s only lasting effect has been confusion over how Randy Harrison (pictured above) can still look like a high school student ten years later in Glee (although credited inexplicably as Chord Overstreet).
The Amazing Race, 2001
The emerging reality genre audience was the target when Jerry Bruckheimer cast “life partners” Joe and Bill (pictured) on the first season of the long-running Amazing Race. Their synchronized wine toast and head-turn in the opening credits paved the way for “married” couple Reichen and Chip to win the race three seasons later. The season 4 couple had rejected the label “life partners” and suggested “married,” though they legally weren’t. Bruckheimer and CBS chief Les Moonves went along. All part of the plan.
Desperate Housewives, 2004
Gay couple Bob and Lee moved onto Wisteria Lane during the 4th season. Though neither bore any resemblance to Don Knotts, Tuc Watkins (pictured with Kevin Rahm) may have sported a cravat once in Season 7.
Brothers and Sisters, 2006
In this ABC Housewives companion, producer Greg Berlanti cleared up any lingering doubts that gay couples (“brother” Matthew Rhys and boyfriend Luke Macfarlane, pictured) could be irrational, petulant and dogs. That’s a good thing, right? Also, they get married in Season 2.
Modern Family, 2009
From Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, see above. And replace “dogs” with “neutered,” proving there are all kinds of gays, people, and no, you might not want to hang out with all of them. And that is a good thing.
“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?” This homoerotic blood-and-sand cabler set the manscaping trend in motion, leading to the recent Philips Norelco “I’d f*ck me” TV spot. Wait, wrong conspiracy.
Smash, The New Normal, Go On, 2012
All NBC series about or featuring gay characters (such as Justin Barta and Andrew Rannells in The New Normal, pictured) and relationships premiering in 2012 and canceled in 2013 just to send conspiracy theorists off the scent. I liked Smash. There, I said it!
Behind the Candelabra, 2013
The coup de grace. This Steven Soderbergh masterpiece, with thrilling and honest portrayals by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon (pictured), just goes to show how marriage comes in many forms, for better or worse. “Why do I love you? I love you not only for what you are but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself but for what you are making of me.”