Sometimes satire isn’t meant to be funny, but there’s something about this Onion parody of a bullied gay teen that just doesn’t sit well with me. Yes, satire can expose the sad side of unfortunate issues in new and insightful ways, but it generally should still make us laugh or donate some humor into a dark situation, which this does not.
Methinks perhaps The Onion played it safe here, and was afraid to parody homosexuality. It doesn’t even seem like a fully fleshed out story: gay teen gets bullied, gay teen eats lunch on the stairwell. Meh. One of the kids’ lines doesn’t make sense: he’d like to eat in the stairwell on weekends?
F**k no—a gay teen wants to go to the mall on the weekends and eat McDonald’s with his best bitches. If this kid is too young to have homosexual aspects, or isn’t showing them, he would pass unnoticed by the other kids and probably wouldn’t be bullied as much.
It’s okay, Onion. You can make fun of gay people, even gay teens—we can take a joke just like the rest of you. Just don’t take it too far, and stick close to the stereotypes that ring true.
So here’s an edit on your piece: how about we have give this closeted 12-year-old either (a) a best girlfriend who eats lunch with him as they discuss how awesome Justin Bieber is, and they’re both bullied by Bieber-phobes and hold a pro-Bieber rally or (b) a lesbian friend who eats right next to him in the stairwell but they have nothing to talk about?
I kind of like (b): there can be awkward silences between the gay boy being ecstatic about Madonna’s album and the lesbian girl’s passion for finding vintage Ani DeFranco vinyl at local thrift shops.