I admit it. I like USA Network’s comedy Psych. Maybe I like the 80′s references. Maybe I like remembering Dulé Hill in his halcyon days with the Bartlet administration. Maybe I’m just a sucker for female police officers like Maggie Lawson’s Jules O’Hara and Kirsten Nelson’s Police Chief Karen Vick. Sure, the humor is sometimes a little juvenile, but it usually has me rolling. (Maybe that says something about me.) And when they’ve made jokes related to being gay, they’ve usually been positive and not derogatory (although a few had me quirking an eyebrow wondering if all viewers would see them in that spirit). There’s also fanfic out there that shows lead characters Sean Spencer (James Roday) and Burton “Gus” Guster (Hill) in a gay relationship. Certainly the two act like a bickering couple much of the time.
But they’ve kicked up the gay quotient a notch with the revelation in the October 26 episode that Detective Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) has a lesbian mom, who came out after being married to his father. It’s a throwaway line, a small in-passing bit of backstory for the character. If your attention wandered during the show, you might have missed it.
Still, there are so few adult (or even teen) characters with LGBT parents on television, that it’s always exciting to see a mention, even if we hope for more. Fans of Glee have been agitating for a while now for the show to feature the gay dads of character Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), to no avail. Of course, having gay dads isn’t the defining part of her character, and I’m glad they haven’t presented it that way. But heck, it sure would be nice to see them at some point.
Same goes for Lassiter. There doesn’t have to be a Big Gay Storyline, but his mom and her partner could still provide a nice focal point for an episode. Maybe they’re victims of or witnesses to a crime that Lassiter has to solve, even if it doesn’t revolve around being gay.
At the same time, Lassiter is a straight-laced Republican, which suggests either his mom is that rare breed, a lesbian Republican, or there’s tension between her and her son because of their differing politics. Either way, there’s opportunity for non-homophobic but gay-related humor there (Psych is a comedy, after all)—and maybe even a subtle lesson about LGBT equality. Maybe Lassiter tries to cement his relationship with his mom by reminding her of the prominent Republicans who support LGBT rights, such as former vice president Dick Cheney and lawyer Ted Olson, who is trying to strike down California’s Prop 8.
Perhaps we should start a campaign to have his mom and her partner appear in a future episode. Certainly we should put the show’s creators and USA Network on notice that we’re watching, and would love to see a funny, positive episode with these characters. Better yet, give them recurring roles.
GLAAD gave the network a “adequate” grade last year for its LGBT inclusivity, up from a “failing’ grade the year before—but clearly there’s still room for improvement. Here’s a chance for them to work on that.
Who would you pick for the actors?