feature imagine via TLC
When The Learning Channel aired an hour-long reality special about Mormon men who have same-sex attractions but reject the label of gay or bisexual to self-identify as straight, reviews were understandably negative. The ex-gay movement, after all, has done (and continues to do!) irreparable damage to members of our community, and this show’s premise did nothing but strengthen a toxic rationality that anybody can just “choose” to be “straight” if they want it bad enough. Which, whatever you want to do, call yourself a sexuality artist and enter into a binding contract with whomever you choose, but certainly don’t presume you speak for anyone else and then go on TV about it.
But the title alone, not to mention the accompanying promo images of a woman with a strained smile sitting uncomfortably next to a rigid-looking man, did nothing if not scream the exact opposite. “Hi, Linda, how are you?” “Hi, Erin. My husband’s not gay.” That is what this title feels like. Just straight up, no one asked.
TLC is obviously struggling now that this very convincing, very groundbreaking content has cycled through, so I’ve come up with some comparable TV shows to replace it.
Don’t Kiss Me Directly On The Mouth, Meagan Good
This is a show where I find myself in the same room as Meagan Good and I’m very convincing to the audience that I don’t want Meagan Good to kiss me directly on the mouth. That would be super regrettable, if Meagan Good and I kissed, and in this show I express how distasteful I would find that whole experience — Meagan Good kissing me, perhaps sensually, on the mouth. In one scene she outright asks me if I’d be okay with her kissing me and I go, “Absolutely not!”
This is sort of like The Soup where clips of current events play and then it cuts back to a moderator who says, “See? Everything’s fine!” but it’s things like Fox News round tables, clips from Donald Trump rallies, local news footage from Florida, court hearings discussing women’s rights issues in a room full of men and one woman, updates from Trash Island in the ocean, etc.
I Can Definitely Do An Australian Accent
This one is me — you guessed it! — absolutely crushing an Australian accent, something all Americans are born to do. It’s a late-night interview style of segment where a host gives me phrases in her American accent and then I repeat it back with my impeccable Australian accent. I have no problems whatsoever with the tonality, inflection, register, or adding of what sounds like an “R” to things that in in “O.” I just get it and I’m great at it, no questions asked!
That Is So Weird, I Didn’t Get Your Voicemail
This show is me going around to hot spots where I’m most likely to run into people who’ve left me voicemails, but I explain to them I didn’t get their voicemail. My hand has created new muscles with how much I use my phone, and my phone has the ability to register sound waves accurately enough in order to decipher the song faintly playing in a grocery store, but that’s so weird, I didn’t get your voicemail!
This is a show in a car where I convince the person I’m driving with but not talking to that nothing’s wrong. The other person keeps sort of looking over at me as I’m staring ahead dead silent and every now and then will be like, “You sure nothing’s wrong?” and the only two words to ever escape my mouth are, “Nothing’s wrong.” Then we’re in that kind of car standoff where logic has given way to how right one of us is. There’s a scene where the radio station keeps slipping in and out of static, until it’s eventually all static, but neither of us touch the dial because, yep, this is exactly how I want things, wouldn’t change a thing, and also nothing’s wrong.