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
Courtesy of First Book

We take the ability to curl up with a good story for granted. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to books. For the 32 million American children growing up in low-income families, books are rare. In one low-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C., there is approximately one book for every 800 children. But children need books in their lives in order to do well in school and in life. Half of students from low-income backgrounds start first grade up to two years behind other students. If a child is a poor reader at the end of first grade, there's a 90% chance they're going to be a poor reader at the end of fourth grade.

In order to help close the literacy gap, First Book launched Give a Million, a Giving Tuesday campaign to put one million new, high-quality books in the hands of children. Since 1992, the nonprofit has distributed over 185 million books and educational resources, a value of more than $1.5 billion. Many educators lack the basic educational necessities in their classrooms, and First Book helps provide these basic needs items.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
True
first-book

I was 10 when my uncle Doug took his own life. I remember my mom getting the phone call and watching her slump down the kitchen wall, hand over her mouth. I remember her having to tell my dad to come home from work so she could tell him that his beloved baby brother had hung himself.

Doug had lived with us for a while. He was kind, gentle, and funny. He was only 24 when he died.

My uncle was so young—too young—but not as young as some who end their lives. Youth suicide in the U.S. is on the rise, and the numbers—and ages—are staggering.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Pavel Verbovski

Forrest doesn't mind admitting he needed a second chance. The 49-year-old had, at one point, been a member of the Army; he'd been married and had a support network. But he'd also run into a multitude of health and legal problems. He'd been incarcerated. And once he was released, he didn't know where he would go or what he would do. He'd never felt so alone.

But then, some hope. While working with Seattle's VA to obtain a place to live and a job, Forrest heard about Mercy Magnuson Place, a new development from Mercy Housing Northwest that would offer affordable homes to individuals and families who, like Forrest, needed help in the city's grueling rental market.

Forrest remembers not wanting to even go see the building because he didn't want to get his hopes up, but a counselor persuaded him. And when he learned that the development was a repurposed former military barracks — now a historic landmark — he knew he'd feel right at home.

Today, Forrest couldn't be happier. "I've got a 10-foot-high ceiling," he says. "I've got 7-foot windows. I look out onto a garden." His studio apartment, he says, has more space than he knows what to do with. For someone who's spent chunks of his life not having a place to call his own, the three closets that Forrest's apartment boasts are a grand luxury.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
True
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Having a baby is like entering a fight club. The first rule of having a kid is don't talk about having a kid. New moms end up with weird marks on their bodies, but they don't talk about how they got there or why. They just smile as they tell other women motherhood is such a joy.

There are so many other things we don't talk about when it comes to pregnancy. Hearing about the veritable war zone your body turns into is enough to snap anyone out of the highest of baby fevers, which is why so many women probably keep the truth to themselves. But it's important to talk about the changes because it normalizes them. Here are some of the ways your body changes that your health textbook isn't going to cover.

Keep Reading Show less
popular