Sure, Brothers & Sisters has a gay couple, and Gossip Girl gave Eric an adorable boyfriend. But another show — on CBS, of all places — has been steadily, skillfully pushing the envelope for some time now without making a fuss about its liberal leanings: The New Adventures of Old Christine. With gay rights at the center of more than one episode this season, the snappy comedy about a 40-something divorcée may be a sitcom for your mom, but it’s not your mother’s sitcom (if that makes any sense). Take last night’s storyline: Gym co-owners and BFF’s Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Barb (Wanda Sykes) — who got legally married earlier this season to keep Barb from being deported to Bermuda — faced a moral conundrum. They could either sign a contract with a pro-family (read: anti-gay) clause or risk getting the boot from their gym franchise’s conservative parent company. Christine and Barb eventually refuse to sign, losing their gym to stand up for the rights of gays.
The show — created by Will & Grace alum Kari Lizer — packed some great Prop 8-inspired jokes and gracefully used Christine’s own self-centered attitude to skewer people who say gay rights “aren’t my problem” (check out the bravura writing in the clip below). The episode made a lot of strong points — but most importantly, it was also just a flat-out funny show, a great reminder of how sitcoms can mix laughs and lessons without getting preachy.
Your turn PopWatchers. Is Old Christine the new Will & Grace? Should more shows be addressing Prop 8? And why wasn’t Julia Louis-Dreyfus nominated for a Golden Globe?
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