Via The Hollywood Reporter:
"DeGeneres' popularity among those Middle America viewers (many of whom likely voted for McCain) is not without irony. In fact, this is precisely the viewership affiliates feared a homosexual comedian would offend, if not altogether alienate, when Warner Bros. executives pitched Ellen 10 years ago. To persuade those skittish station managers, DeGeneres crisscrossed the country, making stops in each of their markets with Jim Paratore, the late president of Telepictures Productions. 'They were always shocked. They'd be like, 'She didn't curse,' as though cursing were a characteristic of gay people,' says DeGeneres, reflecting on the draining process of schmoozing a cadre of people fearful of who she was and, worse, what she might do with it on air.Yep, it's true.
These stations really thought she'd have a gay agenda. 'It was the hardest show we've ever had to launch in the history of our company,' says McLoughlin, recalling the subsequent test interviews she did prelaunch with stars including Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt and singer Alanis Morissette to show affiliates she was capable of having compelling conversations with those outside of the gay community. 'I had to show them that I know how to talk to people -- like how hard is it to talk to people? -- and still a lot of them didn't want to hire me,' adds DeGeneres, who confesses over iced teas at West Hollywood's Soho House in August that being on this end of an interview is the only time she is uncomfortable talking. (It is for that reason that DeGeneres, more serious in person than she is on her show, gives them so infrequently.)"
Just like some of the Normal People, some lesbians can speak without cursing and can talk to people.
Seriously, reading this story about the 10-year anniversary of Ellen's successful TV show reminds me why I bristle at homophobes who bleat about Hollywood's Gay Agenda and how LGBT characters. Coming out was not easy for Ellen, it is still not easy for many people, and it almost cost her her career.
Sure, we have shows like Glee and Modern Family that at least acknowledge, however imperfectly, the reality that non-heterosexuals exist, but we also still have bigots who refer to the representation of non-heterosexual characters on television as an "infection" that should be stopped. We still have people who think it's offensive or PC (whatever the hell that ever means) to acknowledge the fact that not all families are "traditional" heternormative families and that not all people in the world are cis or heterosexual.
And, I think that's largely due to the ignorance and misperceptions they have of non-heterosexuals. So, I thank Ellen for changing some of those perceptions. She's not perfect. No one is. But, she's done a lot to humanize that caricatured picture of LeSbIaNs that many people apparently had in their heads.
[Tip of the beret: G-A-Y]