90210, where the gay teen in question is not so much a
recurring character as elevated extra Rumer Willis. With Adrianna (Jessica
Lowdes) seeking relief from her single mother, shopoholic best-friends and cocaine
snorting past in the safe confines of AA, it seemed the perfect time for the
show to take her self-imposed nunhood and turn it into lesbianhood. I suppose.
Enter Gia (Willis), who’s dodged in and out of the second season as an out
lesbian school reporter and the new sober-soul-searcher Adrianna needed to
guide her through the rum n’ coke filled hallways of West Beverly High. It was
all platonic until the arrival of Mandy Musgrave (former star of the hands down
best LGBT teen show, South of Nowhere), Gia’s ex, prompting Adrianna to a dish
a little payback and pike the ratings with a fairly safe, no big deal kiss
(video above.) Does this make them a couple? Not at all, but it certainly seems
to have sparked a crush on Gia’s part.
Two kisses, two teen not-couples, the question is: Is this
simply representation for a younger audience, as these shows treated both
kisses as neither overly sexual and scandalous or completely out of the
ordinary (“straight” Adrianna feels no weirdness about watching movies with her
lesbian galpal afterwards), or are these characters’ sexualities being used
just to peak some interest and create much watched YouTube moments? With only 3
episodes left Betty can’t take Justin and Austin (oh really, who thought of
that?) very far, and Adrianna’s potential girl-with-girl fling reeks of The
O.C.’s attempt with Mischa Barton’s character (a gorgeous, troubled addict just
like Adrianna) and Olivia Wilde’s character (a whip-smart outsider with a mean ex, just
like Gia) involved in a plotline that was quickly dashed after America’s initial
titillation was through.
Is it a far, far better thing to have brief, ratings-catching gay storylines for straight characters who eventually will return to
their rightful heterosexual partners (in Adrianna’s case, the Persian Scientologist
son of a Porn Mogul -- no really, I couldn’t make that up), or to never air them
at all? Will Ugly Betty and 90210 be the shows that break the norm? This is the question.
Meanwhile, what ever happened to Eric Van Der Woodsen? Still
-- ALEX WILBURN