Dear Ramin Setoodeh: Here Are Gays Successfully Playing Straight Characters

Ramin Setoodeh, Newsweek‘s ire of gay Hollywood, is being attacked by Broadway and television vets for dissing Sean Hayes. Last night he went on television to defend himself. It did not go well — not because his fellow guests attacked him, but because it’s as if he didn’t even bother researching his case studies. Which is sad, because his case studies are television shows, and how hard is it to buff up on those?

On The Joy Behar Show, Setoodeh says the only reason we can believe Neil Patrick Harris‘ heterosexual Barney character on How I Met Your Mother was because we were introduced to him back when Harris was “straight.” And “it’s a television character” that is “over the top, funny, humorous character” and not a “romantic lead where women actually are supposed to believe him as a heterosexual character.” So what gay actors can play straight? Setoodeh doesn’t know any, because “the type that can play straight, we probably don’t know that they’re gay, because they’ve kept it a secret.” And if they stop keeping it a secret? They suddenly become unbelievable!

But we’d argue these gay actors do, in fact, go straight-for-pay quite convincingly. And it has little to do with their sexuality, and everything to do with their acting chops. (There’s a difference, Setoodeh says, between gay actors playing characters who happen to be straight, and gay actors whose straight characters are framed as romantic interests.)

• Cheyenne Jackson: Danny, 30 Rock
Matt Bomer: Neal, White Collar
• Neil Patrick Harris: Barney, How I Met Your Mother
• John Barrowman: Patrick, Desperate Housewives
• Cynthia Nixon: Miranda, Sex and the City
Jonathan Groff: Melchior, Spring Awakening
Wanda Sykes: Barb, The New Adventures of Old Christine
• TR Knight: George, Grey’s Anatomy
• Jodie Foster: Erica, The Brave One
• Ian McKellen: Everything he’s ever done

And of course, Rupert Everett in … Shrek The Third.

Surely you know more than we. Let us know in the comments.