by Media Education Foundation; 2006
This important new documentary picks up where Off the Straight & Narrow: Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals & Television (1998) left off. Since that video's release in the late 90's, which coincided with the last episode of the popular program Ellen, there has been a marked increase in the presence of GLBT characters on television. Against the backdrop of political and social issues affecting the GLBT community, such as gay marriage and AIDS, Further Off the Straight & Narrow takes a close look at sitcoms, reality shows, and premium cable programming as it explores how representations of GLBT characters have become more complex and varied in recent years. The film acknowledges the expansion of GLBT representation on television and the resulting possibilities for inclusion and recognition opened up for today's gay youth. However, the program also raises questions about how this queer presence on television is shaped by the imperatives of the commercial media system. Further Off the Straight & Narrow argues that the evolution in GLBT representation, like many transformations in a commercially-driven media system, may be best explained less by a sudden commitment to social justice on the part of big media than by advertisers' recognition of the potential of directly targeting GLBT consumers with programming specifically designed to attract their attention.
Featuring interviews with Howard Buford (Founder & CEO, Prime Access, Inc.), Joshua Gamson (University of San Francisco and author, Freaks Talk Back), Larry Gross (Director of Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern CA), Lisa Henderson (Professor of Communication, University of Massachusetts-Amherst), Katherine Sender (University of Pennsylvania), and Suzanna Walters (Indiana University)