'Send in the (gay) clowns':  Will & Grace and Modern Family as 'sensibly queer'

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Peer-Reviewed Research


Initial representation of sexual minorities reified gay lifestyle as synonymous with deviancy (Seidman 1996: 6), courtesy of news programmes or documentaries. Several depictions, whether comical or dramatic, led to an outcry from conservative and gay groups alike, protesting the stereotypical depiction of gay men as “a joke” (Burgess 2011: 178), a theme which would continue until the present day. This article provides a queer theoretical critique of two situation comedies, Will & Grace (Kohan & Mutchnick 1998) and Modern Family (Levitan & Lloyd 2009a), and their representation of gay men. Primary emphasis is placed on the dualistic use of comedic satire to either reinforce heteronormativity or exemplify the permeable nature of the supposed rigidity of the heterosexual/homosexual binary logic (Fuss 1991; Namaste 1996)