Should Community Have Apologized For Its Stereotypical Portrayal Of Gay Men?

Anyone who caught last week’s Community may have seen RuPaul Drag Race villainess Shangela as a viral YouTube sensation singing the praises of Hawthorne Wipes, something gay men use for… well, y’know. Later, when the son of the moist towlette dynasty throws a party for the product’s gay fans—a bunch of well-groomed, lisping twinks who dance to techno—he ends up rejecting them and you never see the gays again. Considering that Community is a prime time comedy, is this problem?

Some fans were disappointed, but then the show’s creator Dan Harmon issued an apology which said in part:

I apologize for an unintentional effect… The answer is, I have no defense. Had I predicted I’d need one, I would have done things differently… [The show’s] only religious and political point of view is that all people are good people, and while we often play the roles of villains and stereotypes to each other, it is always an illusion, shattered quickly by the briefest moment of honest connection.

This time, it was because I was focused on a story that had nothing to do with the “issue” we’re discussing. I cut corners. There was probably a way to do the same episode while somehow quickly and efficiently reminding the audience that gay people are just people that are gay and come in all kinds of flavors other than gay in addition to their gayness.

If you weren’t offended, don’t bother being offended by the people being offended. They’re not doing anything wrong. I don’t think anyone that “complained” was asking for Community to be censored or for it to become a schmaltzy PC pile of shit. I think they were asking me to stick a post-it note on my brain regarding the situation, which I can do without making the show any less brilliant or funny. It will be all the moreso the more I continue to care about the audience’s experience.

We weren’t so particularly offended by the send-up of gay men as an obvious plot device—after all, Hawthorne ends up looking like a spineless jerk for rejecting his gay fans at the behest of his ridiculously bigoted father. But it is nice to see a show’s creator at least responding to his fans and promising to portray gays from now on as more than just bunch of metrosexual butt wipes.

Via After Elton

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  • Juhnuppi

    If everything and everyone is politcally correct, there would be no comedy.
    Enjoy the laughs ’till someone sues someone for the last time.

  • JAW

    LOL… Too FUNNY

    I am sad to see that Dan Harmon felt a need to apologize for it…

    If we want to do away with stereotypical portrayals of Gays we should start with the god awful shows on LOGO like A List New York and Dallas… those 2 shows alone do more harm to Gays then any far right wing wacko out there.

    LOGO should be the group that apologizes.

  • JoeyB

    Yeah, why is he apologizing? LOGO is the GAY network making fun of us, 2/7.

  • ousslander

    plus logo runs commercials for such products

  • Little Kiwi

    people need to realize that because something is considered “a stereotype” doesn’t mean that it’s inherently negative or harmful.

    it’s not what “type” of LGBT person that you present that matters, it’s how you are ABOUT it.

    people have a knee-jerk response to perceived “stereotypes” for one reason – because straight bigots target “stereotypes” for their mickery and derision. therefore people think “stereotypes are bad” – they’re not. what’s bad is the assumption that they’re inherently negative and thus justifiably mocked. they aint.

    case in point my ass is Canadian – we canucks don’t get our panties in a bunch if people ask “if we say “Eh?” a lot” ( i do. every two minutes) or if we all love hockey ( i hate it) or if we eat lots of maple syrup ( i do with every meal)

    it’s no biggie. why? there’s no negative stigma attached to any of them. there *is* a negative stigma attached to the things that straight people deem to be “stereotypically gay” – that’s why we get insecure homosexuals running around basing their sense of self-worth on how “not stereotypically gay” they (think they) are.

    we don’t need to be working to “erase stereotypes” but to erase the baseless knee-jerk reaction of thinking that something deemed “stereotypical” means its negative and justifies prejudice and bigotry.

  • Gregoire

    Community is a beautifully written show and I found nothing offensive about this episode.

  • Sean


  • MKe

    Community needs to apologize for being bad. So bad I won’t even watch to see if they offended gays.

  • Daho

    There are a lot of elements to gay culture – this is one of them. If we’re the one’s saying “no don’t show us as flaming queens”, then isn’t that a slap to flaming queens?

  • Mike

    Shangela’s learning how to paint…my little girl’s growing up. <3

  • jeff4justice

    @JAW: Amen. A-List makes me want to make an It Gets Worse video.

  • jason

    Being a flaming queen is not the definition of being gay. Gay is the word that was re-defined by homosexual men in the 1960’s to refer to same-sex orientation. Being a flaming queen is a form of camp, a chosen flamboyant demeanor. They are two different states with two different definitions.

  • ML

    No apology necessary. I am a Community fan and it didn’t even cross my mind that the episode could be offensive. The depictions of gay men were stereotypical but not mean spirited. The character Pierce is portrayed as an insecure bigot. That he was enjoying himself at the party for even a few moments was a huge step for him.

  • Michael

    They need to apologize for being unfunny in general .

  • JAW


    LOL… I agree… sign me up… We are not alone… but the problem is that for like perhaps 80% of gays, our life is boring. We should boycott LOGO… the trash that they put on “The Gay Channel” is embarrassing… “16 and Pregnant” along with “Teen Mom”… what the hell is that about… there aren’t many if any of us that will be either

    Go back in the closet… It Doesn’t get Better… at least on LOGO

  • Charles

    Community is a very gay-friendly show and I didn’t find anything wrong with the episode. Should the creators of Modern Family apologize for having 2 stereotypical gay men? Absolutely not. Using gay “stereotypes” isn’t always a bad thing. As long as they are in on the joke and not the butt of the joke, I have no problem with it. Also, it depends on who’s behind the joke. Shows like South Park, Community, Glee, 30 Rock, etc. can get away with using gay jokes because they’re smart and not mean spirited. And we know the creators of the shows are gay-friendly and supportive.

    I’m much more offended by the GOP candidates and the a-holes at Fox News.

  • REBELComx

    The only thing they should be apologizing for is for giving that worthless jackass more attention and a paycheck.

  • What?

    Wasn’t offended, I found it hilarious, and living in West Hollywood I can attest that plenty of gay men around fit that episode in real life.

    I like his reply though he really didn’t need to apologize. Too many gay men perpetuate this stereotype yet we then turn around and get offended by it. Wasn’t the flavor last year and part of this year to whine about how masculine gay men reject feminine gay men? Now it’s insulting to have someone portray feminine gay men on television. Make your damned minds up.

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