Next week’s episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will feature Kathy Griffin playing a lesbian activist named Babs Duffy. The comedian and self-professed friend of the gays has been talking up the episode, “P.C.,” with several press outlets in the past few months. She spoke highly of working with Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, the latter’s character, Detective Olivia Benson, being a large reason the show has such a huge lesbian audience.
Detective Benson is a strong, determined woman who prefers mental beatdowns to physical assaults, but isn’t afraid to use her police training (and gun) when necessary. She’s been on a few dates (with men) over the course of the show’s long run, but has yet to have a long-term relationship. That being said, there are a lot of us who have held out hope that Olivia Benson could possibly swing both ways.
Kathy Griffin divulged that she’d not only be playing a lesbian, but she’d be kissing Mariska on the episode:
“I was so nervous about getting my character right that the last thing I gave a s–t about was kissing a girl. “When it came to the actual kiss, I kind of don’t remember it. I’d love to sit here and say her lips are soft, but you’d have to ask Babs.”
OK, so moving on from the fact that she fell into the category of straight-celebrity-female-needing-to-comment-on-kissing-a-woman, I’m a little more concerned with the portrayal of Babs on the actual show. Here are a few clips from “P.C.”
First, the “militant lesbian” cliche:
The lesbian leer at a straight woman:
And, lastly, the lesbian forwardness that ends in a homophobic comment:
While I have yet to see the entire episode, I have a good idea what I’m going to get: Lesbian man-hating, anti-feminist clichés and the perpetuation of both as mainstream ideals of gay women. And from this interview with Kathy on the set, it seems like producer Neal Bauer wrote this episode to be “funny.”
SVU has had several other LGBTQ storylines on the show (including The L Word’s Katherine Moennig playing a transwoman who murdered the boyfriend who found out she didn’t have female genetalia), but they’ve led me to the conclusion that the writers don’t quite get it. (Ironic that this new episode next Tuesday is called “P.C.”)
I could be wrong and these clips, out of the context of the whole episode, could be misleading. The episode could end up making lesbians look anything but narcissistic and pushy man haters with an agenda of only keeping themselves happy and safe while putting the moves on women they are convinced should be gay like them. Please, NBC, let me be wrong.