WATCH: How Can We Add Some Funny To This Onion “Satire” Of A Bullied Gay Teen?

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.

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  • Kamuriie

    I normally love The Onion, but I didn’t laugh at this at all. Am I missing something?

  • doug105

    i think they’re trying to show that there is nothing funny about it.

  • Spike

    Wow, the Onion seldom fails, but this is a total fail, just don’t get it.

  • John

    “Still closeted 7 year old…” on a news report, the idea of a kid find solace in a staircase, at school nonetheless, rather than at home, having a number to the times of being called a faggot, so researched, but nothing done against? It may not be golden, but the satire’s there.

    Then again, I got the impression that maybe he just really likes the staircase and everyone else is just trying to make a big deal out of it?

  • Mark

    You guys, the Onion satirizes everything under the sun, no matter how controversial it is. Does this hit close to home? Sure, but is it any more offensive than the time they live-tweeted a supposed gunman on Capitol Hill? Or their coverage of 9/11? You may not personally find this piece entertaining, but please don’t be the kind of person who gets angry over the Onion.

  • camembert

    @doug105: I completely agree with your interpretation. What’s funny about the odd-kid-out eating lunch alone everyday?

  • Seamus

    I found it amusing because of how pathetic it is that the child is ostracized and abused so much by his peers that he actually enjoys eating alone now. Sometimes something tragic can also be funny. ‘Funny,’ however, is subjective. That being said, I don’t find it offensive.

  • Kirby

    clearly they are trying to show it’s not funny, I get it

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    Sorry Evan/QUEERTY, but this is the classical Greek rhetoric of satire — its not supposed to be funny, it is to show, without hyperbole, the very dark side of human nature and consequences. And these consequences are very dark — a kid forced to find solace by eating alone in a windowless stairwell.

    [The form of satire is very different from, say, Noel Coward’s use in his many satirical stage plays.]

    How very poignant this video is — Well done Onion.

  • Christopher Banks

    I like it – think it would make a good campaign video.

  • Adrian

    The satire comes from the fact that no one is really putting a gun to this kids head, forcing him to eat on the staircase, and the fact that the reporter may be assuming the kid is gay simply because he is perceived as gay and called a “fag” by other students.

    If the kid would fight back then it wouldn’t be satire, it would be an action movie.

  • Hyhybt

    I *like* stairwells. “Halfway down the stairs is the stair where I sit/There isn’t any other stair quite like it/I’m not at the bottom, I’m not at the top/So this is the stair where I always stop.”

  • kyle

    @Mark: No they don’t. Do they satirize Jews in WWII? No. They satirize lynchings? No, they don’t. They wouldn’t dare. But, they would “dare” with gays, because they are “allowed” by society.

  • kyle

    @The Real Mike in Asheville: I posted before I finished…
    then in the same ocntext, was Jerry Lewis’s dressing up as a clown and marching Jews into ovens be considered satire?

  • Adrian


    out of curiousity. does this Onion video upset you? if so why? also, have you gotten upset by other Onion videos or just this one?

  • Scott

    For once The Onion did a piece properly, without going over the top. I can see how people will laugh at the ridiculousness of a kid sitting alone in a stairwell and calling him a loser but that same person will eventually come to the realization that this kind of thing could happen. Especially if that person births a kid who’s picked on in school. This piece plants a seed.

  • Harvard

    All gay teens want to go to the mall and eat McDonalds with their best bitches? F**k NO! The suggested improvements to the video are actually ideas for completely different videos: the point here is that the kid feels alone and isolated. The problem isn’t that the Onion is afraid to make fun of gays, the problem is you didn’t laugh. I don’t think they meant us to laugh.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @kyle: @kyle: Well, Kyle, Mel Brooks made his satires of Nazis in both the Producers and its “Spring Time for Germany, and Hitler Too!” and “To Be or Not To Be”. Of course, there is Chaplin’s “The Dictator”, too.

    Regarding lynchings, there is the wonderful satire “Oh Brother, Where Are Art Thou”, oh, and, of course, Mel Brooks, again, “Blazing Saddles” with the amazing scene of Cleavon Little [he is black in case you don’t know of him] confronted by an angry racist mob that the town has hired a black man as their new sheriff, quells the crowd by pulling a gun and pointing it at his own head, with the line “Hold it! Next man moves, and the n-word gets it!”


    Expand your understanding of rhetorical strategy Kyle, you might learn something. This video make viewers hold the opposite of the storyline — it is very well written and very successful as satire and, more importantly, as an argument for adults to get involved in ending bullying.

  • kyle

    @Adrian: It’s not funny. Does it bother me? Yes. Why? Because it’s not funny. If they did a headline like, Area Black Saves Money On Gas By Getting Dragged By Pickup” and I didn’t think it was funny, would you ask me the same question?

    And, no. I love The Onion. Area Homosexual Saves Four From Fire is one of my favorites.

  • Dave

    I agree with Mark. Don’t get angry at the Onion they make fun of everything and everyone. Haven’t you ever read it?

  • Zack

    it made me feel kind of sorry for that kid

  • Adrian

    @kyle: I think there is a difference in not finding something funny and getting upset over something. if you don’t find something funny yet others do, then you simply don’t share something in common with those people. there’s no need to get upset about it…unless you feel left out. that’s all.

  • Sceth

    Comedy with a subversive punchline is dark/black/Russian/British; with a suppressed (or stupid, or completely absent) punchline it’s “unfunny.” I’d class this as dark uncomedy.

    Regardless, I lolled.

  • Kev C

    Pathos. I didn’t have a problem with it.

  • Mark

    Who wrote this piece? KUDOS to The Onion for the thought provoking video and BOOS to those who apparently can’t follow anything above the level of Donald Duck.

  • someone

    who wrote wrote this is an idiot “stick close to the stereotypes that ring true.” not all gays act in accord with stereotypes. The onion did as was said above classic Greek dark satire. There is no hyperbole ie a kid throwing his purse around and going with “his bitches” to the mall. What the onion did was showing real human behavior, you are supposed to laugh at the ridiculousness of im “wanting” to eat alone, because he doesn’t he wants people to stop mocking him, wants to be normal. Just because you can’t understand anything above “loony tunes” doesn’t mean everyone wants to see an obvious parody of “stereotypes that ring true”

  • Ed

    Of course its not funny. Its not supposed to be. The piece is perfect the way it is, and the cutesy, sitcomesque additions you suggest would ruin it. Frankly,the fact that you don’t get this explains why you’re writing for Queerty instead of The Onion.

  • Ed

    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.

    I assume you missed this bit:

    McElroy, who has revealed his sexual orientation to no one but is unceasingly ridiculed by his peers for perceived feminine qualities in his voice, dress, and gait…

    It may be the most effective and heartbreaking part of the story, and you missed it completely.

  • Lon

    Satire ! always == comedy.

    I watched it. The satire is pretty self-evident.
    If anyone is still confused, please read up on what satire actually is.

  • Katt

    This is fine satire. I read this article and the comments and then watched the video. I still laughed! Then I felt bad about laughing at defensless bullied gay kid, who did nothing to deserve his forced exile. I thought “If I were at that school I would eat with him or take up for him in a fight.” It worked! Can you imagine how much more it would work on others who don’t have to read these overly sensitive comments or an article that touts how “not funny” it is?

  • Donald Irwin

    I guess they haven’t heard, the fat lady sang, it’s over

  • Grant Mealey

    Nice ?? over half a mil to beat a dead horse ???

  • Daniel Riffle

    Tax payers money goes to bigots

  • Jay Phelps

    The lawyers of America owe the Republican Party a big thank you for all the business that their prejudice made.

  • Zily Popygaj

    – Spiteful, petty, ignorant, and rather stupid people who are willing to deprive themselves and suffer AS LONG AS they can get to hurt someone whom they have decided to dislike. And then, of course, they whine and claim to be “martyrs” because of their *self-imposed* suffering.
    – My mother was like that. I think it’s a mental illness, I honestly do, because I can’t think of any thought process that is even *remotely* rational which would lead one to deliberately impose suffering upon oneself *merely* to try to hurt someone else. Ergo, it is irrational, ergo mental illness…..
    – I also think it’s nutty to obsess over what one *imagines* other people are doing in the privacy of their own homes, while one’s own life goes un-lived and un-tended…

  • John Porter

    Hey it’s Idaho, most Republican, conservative state around !

  • RC Camacho

    Pay up assholes.

  • Mary Rich

    They should really get on board with reality…equality is for all people. I mean really Idaho get with it. The Nation is going forward and you are apart of the 50 states or do you want to be a part of another country????That is the ???? of the century..???Now isn’t it…lets move forward and make it legal for all to marry, all, not just men & women, ALL equal means equal PERIOD.

  • Vallen Mikulski

    A good day in Idaho to be a republican lawyer.

  • Chris Hale

    I could take a couple of years off work with that kind of money…

  • Jose Luis Ortiz

    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

  • Diego Santos

    It’s a blue state the hell you expect?

  • Brian Cherry

    Hate is expensive.

  • Time Donneeds

    Haters don’t make it to the pearly gates even with $715,000

  • Ivan Jackson

    Ha ha ha ha; is all I’m gonna say!

  • Kathy Burton

    Really expensive! What a unbelievable waste.

  • Dan Sainovich

    That made a group of lawyers a lot of money. That could have fed a lot of people.

  • John Malin

    Bigotry is very costly and only serves to demean the haters. GOOD!

  • Tony Canta

    Let’s see: How many homeless and starving children would that money help??? There is nothing christian about the assholes that are pushing for a ban on same sex marriage.

  • Donny Thomas

    Cost alot to be told what is common sence

  • Don Blair

    Republican values cost the tax payers dearly.

  • Victor Gear

    The word equality is not conditional. It is where all are treated as equals.

  • Brian Carroll

    Maybe if these recalcitrant office holders had to fork out the dosh out of their own pockets it might be a different story.

  • James Savik

    This is how this scam works. The attorney general gets asked to file this appeal. He opens his rolodex and calls one of his attorney bros and hands him the case. Attorney bro files the appeal, argues it knowing that NONE of them have been successful and then bills the state for his hours and expenses. It’s how AG’s spread the love.

  • Steve Shinn

    Really very sad.

  • Ron Lockwitch

    Pay up assholes now that it is LEGAL IN ALL 50 STATES AND ITS TERRITORIES!

  • Brent RJ Consigny

    Congratulations to the worst Governor ever! Butch Otter needs to resign immediately!

  • Lily Adile Lamb

    They could’ve spent that money on the homeless community to help them :( instead of trying to separate happy couples

  • Gregory P. Gallien

    The law is the law…these efforts need to be shut down by the Feds.

  • Brian Thornton

    Keep on spending you stupid morons. Smh!

  • Sam D. Maloney

    “Defense of Gay Marriage?” Shouldn’t it be ‘war against equal marriage’?

  • Tom Willett

    Alabama’s is in the millions.

  • John Benoot

    They rather spend their money on hate instead of <3 & charity. Bigots are such hypocrite h8 breeders.

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