This Gay Week in Television

The past two weeks of Ugly Betty have been good, good, good. From some of the best lines ever uttered on the show (thanks to writers who are now on strike – hello, Hollywood) to a campy plot twist that had me practically falling off my couch. It was good, it was gay and I have highlights.

As if Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) making Mark (Michael Urie) get ordained to perform an intensive care unit quickie wedding wasn’t underhanded enough, initiating ‘Medusa X’ and stealing half the staff of Mode to work for upstart Slater was the icing on the cake. Drama from the most deceitful duo on TV (Mark: “Follow me Curly.” Wilhelmina: “Right behind you, Mo.”).

Can Mo’Nique be in every episode of Ugly Betty? Seriously, as L’Amanda, the weekend front desk manager, she had me in stitches. From calling Henry “sugar stick” to telling a just-laid off Betty, “A min like a girl who got a job,” she gave the already bubbly show a burst of adrenaline I didn’t even know it needed.

Would be / maybe / should be lovers Claire (Judith Light) and Yoga (Lorraine Toussaint) popping up in Betty’s room for some much needed help was an inspired plot move — and Yoga telling Claire, “I told you, your kids are gonna be OK cuz’ they’re white” was the line of the night — but I have to admit, I was livid when Claire turned herself in, sending her back to prison and Yoga off the show (or at least I presume).

I swear to you — if this means less screen time for Light, I’ll make waves. At the very least, they sent Yoga off with a bang.

So with Mode in a state of panic, Wilhelmina scouring for seed money for her sinister startup and Amanda (Becki Newton) scouring the Mode offices for some semblance of a brain (seriously, they gave her the job of counting pages and even that was too hard?), Ugly Betty is on the top of its game. Let’s just hope these writers can get back to work so we have more fun to enjoy.

On to the wonderful world of reality TV – after all, if these negotiations stall, sooner or later that’s all we’ll have left. Fresh from the wonderful world of Britain comes There’s Something About Miriam. If you haven’t caught it yet, it’s airing on Fox Reality, and I just know its going to cause some massive discussion in the gay community.

Why? Because the six men competing for Miriam’s affections don’t know she’s a man.

Yes, the pre-op Miriam — and she says she’s not sure she ever wants to have the operation — looks more fem than Rebecca Romijn (except for in that uncomfortably exploitive spa scene), even if she is about as dull as watching paint thin.

The men make up for it, though. On U.S. reality shows like The Bachelor and Joe Millionaire, the women are always head over heels in love with the men. They’ll do anything to get that ring at the end of the series — anything.

These guys aren’t all that into Miriam, and they really don’t pretend to be. One guy has already jokingly suggested she might be a man (which, of course, editors played up to the hilt in those pre-commercial teasers), and a couple of the other guys have hinted they’re in it for the money, not the girl.

I’m equal parts bothered and intrigued by what I’m sure will be an explosive series finale (I say series, because if anyone in the UK tries to do a There’s Something About Mark, I’ll be shocked). I can’t imagine the producers could handle the big reveal in an educated, sensitive way. I could be wrong, but this is reality television, after all.

Something I know TV fans won’t be sensitive to is the return of Elizabeth Berkeley to television. Yes, you read that right: Jessie Spano is making a comeback, playing Horatio Caine’s billion-heiress ex-wife on CSI: Miami.

What about this is gay? Perhaps a better question is what about this isn't?

Well, if you are a lesbian reading this column, you had to sit through shot after gratuitous shot of Elizabeth and all her bits flouncing across the screen in the disastrous Showgirls. A brief tonguing with Gina Gershon was a saving grace, but that film did nothing for lesbian identity (the only true lesbian character in the film gets raped in the brutal third act). If you’re gay, you’ve probably seen that flick 100 times at various drinking parties. I for one have a friend who hired a choreographer and a pole dancer to teach the big dance number at one of his soirees.

I highly doubt Elizabeth will do anything that gratuitous this time around, but she is accused of offing her very, very rich hubby — and what gay man hasn’t fantasized about doing that?

Finally, get ready to bid adieu to a show that has quickly become a favorite of mine, until those striking writers likely killed it off (not that they don’t have my support —they do). Bionic Woman got off to a weak start — a hack job Alias is what I believe I called it. But in recent episodes, Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan) had grown on me, and with a promising return for evil Bionic Woman (Katee Sackhoff) in the cards, I was ready to turn myself over lock, stock and barrel to this slickly crafted thrill ride.

But with struggling ratings, a mere three episodes left to burn off and inflating production costs, actors on the series were let go from their contracts last week until this strike sorts itself out. That’s not a good thing, folks.

Bye, bye Jaime. Our relationship was brief but fulfilling.

Until next time!

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