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Thomas Roberts and Guests Talk Bruce Jenner, Billy Crystal, 'Looking', and SCOTUS: VIDEO

Panel

Thomas Roberts is hosting a new weekly show at Shift by MSNBC (the network's digital venture) called Out There in which he and a changing panel of guests discuss newsmaking LGBT stories.

This week, Roberts was joined by actor and singer Cheyenne Jackson, country singer Chely Wright, filmmaker Kimberly Reed, NYU law professor Kenji Yoshino, and Advocate editor Matthew Breen.

Up for discussion were InTouch magazine's offensive cover featuring Bruce Jenner, Glee's transgender storyline, Billy Crystal's remarks on gay sex scenes, the sex on Looking, Kevin Hart's remarks this week that he wouldn't want to play a gay character because of his own insecurities, homophobia in Hollywood, marriage equality, SCOTUS, and "religious freedom".

Watch the show (in four segments), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Billy Crystal's Homophobic Remarks Require Context

Billy Crystal Television Critics Association

As we are all fully aware at this point, legendary comedian Billy Crystal wedged his foot down his esophagus during his Television Critics Association press circuit, saying that gay characters on television are "a bit too much," "Sometimes, it’s just pushing it a little too far for my taste," and of course the old saw of 'shoving it in his face.'

The Hollywood Reporter figured that the remarks had to be taken out of context, particularly given that Crystal had played one of the first openly gay characters on primetime television, and investigated further. Crystal clarified, saying:

What I meant was that whenever sex or graphic nudity of any kind (gay or straight) is gratuitous to the plot or story it becomes a little too much for my taste.

Huffington Post editor Noah Michelson had similar concerns and also went looking for further context, though whereas the The Hollywood Reporter was willing to take Crystal's statement to them at face value, the interview Michelson found at Xfinity's tv blog was more damning. There, Crystal said:

But when I feel it's a cause, when I feel it's "You're going to like my lifestyle," no matter what it is, I'm going to have a problem and there were a couple of shows I went 'I couldn't watch that with somebody else.'

[...]

We live in a very scary time in many ways. You can't say this, you can't say that, you can't offend this group, that group. People come up to you and ask if you were offended. I don't understand that. I understand it why everyone is watching out for the other person. That's offensive to me.

Which brought Michelson to his conclusion:

Beneath all of the progress we've made, the shit -- from disgust with our sex lives to frustration with our wanting to push our "cause" and "lifestyle" -- still exists. We can pass all of the laws we want and we can give queer people all the same rights as non-queers, but if the fundamental feeling about us is still "Ew! Yuck! I don't want to see that!" or "Stop shoving that in our faces!" I hardly call that progress.


Billy Crystal Thinks Gay Storylines on Television Today Are 'Pushing It A Little Too Far' - VIDEO

Crystal

Speaking to an audience during his Television Critics Association press circuit, Billy Crystal expressed that in his opinion, many of the current depictions of gay characters on television were “a bit too much." Crystal, who is currently promoting his new show 'The Comedians, made a name for himself in the late seventies playing Jodie Dallas, an openly gay character on the ABC sitcom 'Soap.'

Jodie dallasThough gay characters were a part of some television shows at the time, their sexualities were typically only heavily implied and almost always made out to be character flaws.

Reflecting on his role, Crystal recalls that portraying a character who was openly and explicitly gay in the 1970s was both groundbreaking and extremely difficult.

“It was very difficult at the time, he explained. “Jodie was really the first recurring [gay] character on network television and it was a different time, it was 1977. So, yeah, it was awkward. It was tough.”

Crystal’s exact issues with the currently roster of gay characters appearing on network television weren’t made clear, but the actor intimated that the recent uptick of queer intimacy in shows like 'How To Get Away With Murder' were a bit too much for him.

“Sometimes, it’s just pushing it a little too far for my taste and I’m not going to reveal to you which ones they are,” he said. “I hope people don’t abuse it and shove it in our face… to the point where it feels like an everyday kind of thing.”

As pioneering as Crystal’s role as Jodie Dallas was for its time, the character’s eccentricities and plotlines prove to be deeply troubling when looked at from a modern perspective. Though Dallas was written as being gay, many of the stories involving the character centered around homophobic and anti-trans themes of gender disillusionment and crossdressing for comedic effect.

Watch one of the more problematic scenes of 'Soap' featuring Jodie Dallas AFTER THE JUMP...

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Billy Crystal Gives Emotional Tribute To Robin Williams At The Emmys: VIDEO

Crystal

During last night's Emmys broadcast, comedian Billy Crystal gave a moving tribute to the life and legacy of Robin Williams. Crystal spoke about Williams' brilliant work, his unique and unrivaled creative genius and his many virtues as a friend. Perhaps most poignantly, Crystal compared Williams to an extinct star far out in the heavens: though it may be gone, its light still shines on us.

Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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What To Watch This Week on TV: Chaz Bono On 'Drag Race,' 'Orphan Black' Is Back - VIDEO

Jmchalecomm

Check out our weekly guide to make sure you're catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won't admit you watch when no one's looking.

— It's hard to believe that Community has made it this far, but the Greendale gang says goodbye to its fifth season Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC. Tune in to find out the history of the college's first dean (or if Joel McHale will take his shirt off again).

More picks and clips, including Billy Crystal on Broadway, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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The Political Battle Over 'Marvelous' Has Begun: VIDEO

BillyCrystalMarvelous

President Obama a few days ago mocked Mitt Romney for calling Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan "marvelous."

"He said that he's 'very supportive' of this new budget, and he even called it 'marvelous,' which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget — it's a word you don't often hear generally," the president said Tuesday.

Seizing the moment, the Democratic super PAC American Bridge put together an ad featuring critiques of the plan, like the fact that it gives oil companies tax breaks, spliced together Billy Crystal's famous "You Look Marvelous" musical bit from the 1980s. The Hill reports, meanwhile, the Team Romney is pointing out that Obama himself has used "marvelous" on more than one occasion.

Move over, Etch A Sketch, there's a new political catchphrase in town. And you, marvelous reader, can watch American Bridge's video AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "The Political Battle Over 'Marvelous' Has Begun: VIDEO" »


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