How 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' is changing the game for bisexuality on TV.

Another reason 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' is a must-see.

If you only know bisexuality through your TV screen, you probably have a completely warped version of it.

To bisexuals living out here in the real world, I imagine that's been pretty damn frustrating.


GIF via "Flavor of Love."

I'm gay, so I have some understanding of what it feels like for Hollywood to hijack your sexual orientation, twist it into tired TV tropes (hilarious gay BFF, anyone?), and spit them out for the world to see.

But the industry has made strides in depicting gay characters as whole, complex humans. People who are bisexual though? Eh, not as much.

When bi characters actually do appear (it's still too rare), they often reflect stereotypes that range from ridiculous to downright harmful.

From Catherine in "Basic Instinct," who was a promiscuous serial killer...

Subtle, right? GIF via "Basic Instinct."

...to, more recently, Frank Underwood in "House of Cards" — a manipulative megalomaniac whose sexual fluidity is more about asserting power than an identity. Bisexuality hasn't gotten a fair shake.

GIF via "House of Cards."

Don't get me wrong. There's been primetime progress for bisexual characters in recent years on shows like "Grey's Anatomy," and you could argue simply having more roles like Mr. Underwood — a main character who isn't defined by his (bi)sexuality — is a good thing in and of itself.

There's a whole lot of room for improvement though — especially for male characters who are bi. And that's why I am living for "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," a new series on The CW network. The show is a musical comedy, and it's a must-watch for many reasons, but mostly because it's smart, it's refreshing, and most importantly, it's super funny.

I'll admit, I was nervous, at first, when Darryl Whitefeather, a character on "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" kissed another man.

Darryl is an awkward but earnest, middle-aged divorcé with a daughter. So when he kissed another male character on the show, it truly came out of nowhere.

I was excited to see "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" was taking his character in an unexpected direction ... but I was also a bit concerned. Would this new storyline feed into the typical tropes about bisexuality like so many others involving bi characters? Would the writers find a way to kill him off in a random freak accident by the end of the episode? Would Darryl "realize he's gay" by next week?

But in each episode since, Darryl's revelation that he is bisexual (or "both-sexual" as he called it) has neatly avoided falling into any of those traps.

In fact, I'm damn-near over the moon to report that "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" handled his coming out perfectly.

Photo courtesy of The CW, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," used with permission.

Darryl brilliantly comes out to his coworkers through a musical number (which you can watch below), while also shutting down many of the harmful myths that bisexual people are tired of hearing. Honestly, it may be the most impactful (and definitely the least-subtle) takedown of stigma around bisexuality in TV history to date.

The song is called "Getting Bi," and it speaks to all the ways bisexuality has been misrepresented since, like, forever.

Like, the fact that people assume people who are bisexual (especially men) are actually gay, that they're just confused, and that they haven't fully come out of the closet yet (which, of course, is complete bulls**t).

Darryl is pretty clear about what he thinks about that:

GIF via "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."

Or the assumption that bisexuals are naturally more promiscuous than straight or gay folks (which, again, is utter nonsense).

Darryl hits the nail on the head here too:

GIF via "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."

While Darryl, a middle-aged white lawyer, certainly doesn't represent every bi person or their experience, his character's slow discovery and embracing of his own bisexuality is challenging viewers — and the TV industry — to get smarter about sexuality and how it's portrayed in the media.

And it's about damn time.

Representation isn't just for show — it's critical in fighting inequality.

Seeing yourself in the leaders and change-makers around you — whether it's politicians in Washington or big-wigs in Hollywood — is important for everyone, regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, religious faith, or gender. Representation matters in shaping our world, and finally a show gets that (and didn't pull any punches) when it comes to bisexuality.

Check out Darryl's enlightening performance of "Getting Bi":

More

There's nothing like a good reunion story to get you misty in the ol' tear ducts. Kate Howard, the managing editor of Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, shared a story of randomly running into the dog she used to foster on Twitter. You know all those dog reunion movies? The ones with names like A Dog's Hope and A Dog's Sloppy Kiss? The ones that make you cry buckets no matter how hard you think your heart is? Well, this is that, but in real life.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The great thing about American democracy is the separation of powers. The federal government has rights, states have rights, counties have rights, cities have rights, and we, as people, have rights, too.

Heck, even animals have some rights in the good ol' U S of A.

The president of the United States is not a king or a dictator so a team of U.S. mayors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, are asking to go over his head to negotiate directly at next month's UN climate change conference in Santiago, Chile.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / James Van Der Beek

About one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, although it is believed the number might be higher because many miscarriages occur before the woman knows she is pregnant. Miscarriage is actually quite common, yet many people who've had one feel alone, partly because there's still a taboo around talking about it. In order to reduce the stigma surrounding the loss, James Van Der Beek opened up about the struggles him and his wife, Kimberly, experienced.

The Van Der Beeks, who have been married since 2010, have five children and one on the way. In a pre-taped segment on "Dancing with the Stars," Van Der Beek announced that his family will be welcoming a new baby. But the segment gave us a more personal look as Van Der Beek revealed they've experienced three miscarriages as well. "We've had five kids and three miscarriages," Van Der Beek told his dance partner, Emma Slater. "Miscarriage is something that people don't really talk about, and we wanted to recognize that it happens to people. We wanted to destigmatize that as much as we possibly could."

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Capital One

It was around Christmas 2018 and Jean Simpkins, 79, was looking out the window of her new three-bedroom apartment. Eleven floors above Washington, D.C., the grandmother of two gazed out at the lights of the city and became overwhelmed with gratitude. "The only thing I could say," Simpkins remembers, "was 'Thank you, Father.'"

Almost a year later, Simpkins still can't help but look at the apartment as a miracle — one she desperately needed. Fifteen years ago, when her grandson was born, she became his primary caregiver. Six years later, when her granddaughter was four, Simpkins was awarded full custody of her, too. She's spent the time since trying to give her grandchildren the life she knows they deserve, which has been difficult on a fixed income. On top of that, Simpkins worried that the neighborhood the family resided in wasn't the best influence on her kids. Something had to change.

Then she learned about Plaza West, a new development created by Mission First housing that would reserve 50 of its apartments specifically for families in which a grandparent or other older adult was raising children who were related to them. The waiting list, Simpkins says, was daunting. There are a great deal of grandfamilies in the D.C. area and she was sure it might be years before she got the call. But soon after applying, she was offered a choice between a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom apartment. She accepted the latter, sight unseen. She knew that each of her grandchildren needed space of their own.

Keep Reading Show less
Future Edge
True
Capital One