From StuntDouble at After Ellen comes news that CBS has ordered a lesbian-centric sitcom script from writer-comedian and lesbian mom Carol Leifer (The Ellen Show; Seinfeld). She quotes the Hollywood Reporter:
Inspired in part by Leifer’s real-life situation of being in a long-term, same-sex relationship and having a child with her partner, the CBS show, tentatively titled You and Me and He, centers on a recently divorced woman who enters a gay relationship only to find out that she is pregnant with her ex-husband’s baby.
This doesn’t mean the show will air, only that CBS is considering it. With that in mind:
Kudos to CBS and Leifer for avoiding that old television cliché of lesbians searching for sperm. I’m still going to raise a skeptical eyebrow because it’s not all that far removed to show a lesbian with an infant. Rarer are shows like Nurse Jackie, where we see lesbians who not only have had kids, but have raised them successfully to adulthood.
What’s missing from the picture almost entirely, however, are lesbians with children in school. Yes, The L Word touched on this, and we saw a couple of episodes with Bette and Tina evaluating preschools. We also saw Shane and her then-girlfriend Paige give a clunky diversity speech at the school Paige’s son and Shane’s half-brother attended. Still, it was one episode of many, and not the focus of the show. The same could be said for the brief appearance on Ellen of Ellen’s (fictional) girlfriend Laurie’s teen daughter, back in the day.
The fact is, schools and lesbians don’t mix much in the media. Gay men either, for that matter. It is no surprise to note that the gay dads of ABC’s new comedy Modern Family (about which more in an upcoming post) have just adopted an infant. I suspect if there were ever a transgender parent on television, the same would be true. Infants are harmless and cute. The networks never have to deal with right-wingers who get their starched panties in a knot because the show reminds us there are lesbians in the PTA, and the network can seem modern and edgy without being too controversial.
All we can hope for is that You and Me and He does air, and lasts long enough for the main character’s child to grow and start school. Then we need a writer who can simultaneously show us how blasé young kids are when they have a classmate with two moms, and remind us, with a bit of humor, of the ongoing need for greater inclusion and acceptance in school systems overall.
From the start, however, You and Me and He would give us a different perspective than we’ve seen before, with a mom coming out later in life and a baby that wasn’t part of mutual planning with a partner. As StuntDouble points out, “It does kind of sound like Ross/Susan/Carol’s storyline from Friends, but this time it’s being told by a lesbian, from the perspective of the lesbians.” That’s progress indeed. If it makes it to the screen, I’ll be watching.