Ramin Setoodeh, the journalist responsible for “Straight Jacket,” the abysmal May 2010 Newsweek article about how gay actors such as Sean Hayes & Jonathan Groff cannot convincingly play straight because they are gay and Ramin just can’t think about anything else besides their homo homogayhood while watching them on MUSICAL TV SHOWS & PLAYS, has written another article.
The insidiously obnoxious “Straight Jacket,” with its easily deconstructed/dismissible thesis, inspired passionate responses from Kristen Chenoweth and essentially the entire internet and, much like the rest of Setoodeh’s work, made many queers think “with friends like these, who needs enemies?” because Ramin is also gay. After the hullabaloo, Ramin was given a chance to make it up to us and instead he wrote another piece of shit article.
Once again, this week Setoodeh was given a voicebox and a keyboard of some kind and asked to type words into it for international publication on the topic of homosexuals in the theatrical arts. Or maybe he volunteered to write it. It’s a mystery but it happened.
The first time, Ramin used Sean Hayes’ Tony-Award nominated performance in Promises, Promises and his own personal feelings about the show to “make his case.”
This time — after shrugging off the opinion of the entire internet, Kristen Chenoweth (as aforementioned), Alan Cummings, Ryan Murphy, GLAAD, et al — Seetodeh has decided to revise his thesis. This time, he says gay actors can’t play gay either. Again, Seetodeh’s main body of evidence is Setoodeh’s own personal reaction to the show.
I could barely get through Gay Actors: Ramin Setoodeh on How Hollywood Shuts Them Out. It’s just absurd — is this guy angling to become the gays’ Ann Coulter or something? Here’s a taste:
Was I really a traitor to my own community? Before Promises, Promises closed on Broadway on Sunday, I bought a ticket and secretly went to see the show again. Once inside, I slumped down in my seat, afraid somebody would call the GLAAD police if I were spotted. The lights dimmed, and Sean Hayes opened the show alongside a troop of male dancers. When he sang about his passion for basketball, the men performed aerial splits. Then he started to pine after the office lunch lady (Kristin Chenoweth), and I realized that I had been all wrong.
It’s not just that audiences don’t often see openly gay actors in straight roles. What’s even more unsettling is that Hollywood doesn’t even allow gay actors to play gay. With the film industry swept up in the congratulatory swirl of awards season, not a single openly gay actor is up for an Oscar nomination. Of course, that’s probably because no openly gay actors even starred in any big films of 2010. The lovable lesbian wives in The Kids Are All Right were played by the heterosexual actresses Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. The quirky couple in I Love You Phillip Morris were portrayed by straight men Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.
“Aside from the narrow types he’s annoyingly assuming as given, Setoodeh is bemoaning that gay actors aren’t allowed to play the gay parts. But then he says that gay actors probably can’t ever play straight (if acting genius Sean Hayes is to signify anything), ignoring the fact that most acting parts are straight ones. Way to encourage gay actors to ever act?
[….]it’s not like Promises, Promises is some searing touchstone of masculinity. There’s a song called “Turkey Lurkey Time” in it, Ramin. It’s going to be pretty gay no matter what.
It’s not really worth further dissecting Setoodeh’s lazy, slipshod arguments, but it is curious why he decided to jump back into the gay inferno armed with nothing more than a new Promises, Promises ticket stub. I mean, it’s just made everyone angry again!
Oh, wait. That’s the whole stupid point, isn’t it? Ugh.”
Seetodeh accuses an actor’s homosexuality of irrevocably soiling his ability to ever play a straight character. In Seetodeh’s world, an actor’s homosexuality permeates the surface of everything said actor ever does. Similarly, Seetodeh’s self-loathing homophobia permeates every word he writes. But you never know — he must be doing a thing or two right because he’s got himself a job and a platform to stand on and people looking and reading it.
Maybe the simple fact of Seetodeh’s employment says more about the role of gays in the media than any point he could ever make about the theater.