Although the gay sensibility isn’t exactly busting up prime-time television this fall, there are two new talk shows that might get your goat really excited to watch television! Queen Latifah and George Takei are bringing their voices to your screen and online space, adding two more faces to the one format of programming in which being gay or of color is not an enormous barrier to acceptance and success: talk television.
It’s been over a decade since Queen Latifah last sat in the host seat. Back then, her show billed itself as “Dear Abby for the hip-hop generation.” Although it was cancelled after a two-year stint, the queen and her Flavor Unit Entertainment company have been given another chance.
This time round, the Queen Latifah Show wants to be different, a little bit more positive and optimistic than teevee’s current offerings. Speaking about her show earlier this year, Latifah says viewers will tune in “to be entertained. Perhaps be informed, but really just to enjoy that time.” She wants her non-celebrity guests to be “people who do extraordinary things every day” and promises to “venture into communities across the country to share compelling stories, celebrate exceptional individuals and deliver life-changing surprises.” Maybe we should stop comparing her to Oprah, but Ira Glass instead! As per ushe for the talk show set, she’ll also have famous people doing famous-people things.
The first ep covered all the bases, including an Ellen-esque dance sequence, a boatload of celebrities (Alicia Keys, John Travolta and the Smiths) and some feel-good time with an LA high school choir. All I can say is thank god she didn’t invite Jaden to talk, but could you ever say no to Willow?
It doesn’t feel relevant to me because we’re just making a big, entertaining show and celebrating all of life. There’s a difference between talking about one’s personal life and one’s point of view and perception of the world and how they see it. And I respect that people need to put boundaries to whatever they want to talk about.
But while Queen L’s show is unlikely to venture into gay territory, the other series that just premiered is much more likely to go the personal route.
George Takei aka Sulu aka the Man Everyone Loves uploaded the first episode of Takei’s Take today. Given that he already has 4560276 likes and counting on his Facebook, it wasn’t much of a stretch for the AARP to approach the star and offer to produce his show. Over the past few years, Takei’s proven himself to be a witty yet critical champion for gay rights, so why not let him be the interpreter of the internet for his generation?
So in Takei’s pseudo den complete with IKEA-esque furniture and any number of random tchotchkes and framed Facebook Likes, he sets about to analyze technology, pop culture, gay rights and anything that pops into his head. The Youtube series is meant to bring technology and social media to the retiree-set, but also to make it accessible and relevant to their kids and grandkids.
[T]here are a lot of interesting and amusing and sometimes eye-opening things happening in this brave, new world. And I think seniors as well as middle-aged people would be interested in that.
His first foray into the world of tech centers on the pros and pitfalls surrounding Google Glass and the way they could potentially fit into his life. With teasers for the next episode hinting at interviews about Tinder and online dating in general, you gotta wonder if he’ll ever try to explain Grindr to our parents.
While his biweekly show isn’t likely to devote an episode to his opinions on Sochi, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few anecdotes about Brad since his hosting style leans towards the personal. Given that they’re celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary, I’m sure it’ll get a mention. If you happen to have a few anti-gay technophobes hanging onto the outer branches of your family tree, send them Takei’s way and see if he can teach them something.
It’s always awesome to see people of color and queers picking up the mike, and these two shows are no exception.