The Game (2006-) is a long-running sitcom, originally about medical student Melanie Barnes, who moves with her boyfriend Derwin Davis to San Diego, where he will play football for the San Diego Sabers.
I had only seen one episode; there was lots of beefcake, but I hate football, and the heterosexist "who's in love with who?" in an utterly-gay free world bcame depressing after about five minutes.
But I was curious about the "gay" storyline. In "Stay Fierce, Malik," which aired on January 23, 2009, the womanizing player Malik is "accused" of being gay in a tv interview, and must suffer homophobic teasing from his teammates. Then he discovers that Sabers player Clay actually is gay! He calls him a "fag," and the other teammates are all horrified and disgusted, and leave him alone in the locker room. These are the "positive" characters, by the way, the ones we're supposed to like and care about.
Mehcad Brooks (left), who played Jerome, resisted making his character so homophobic: "The writers and I had a lot of discussion about it.. I couldn't wrap my head around not supporting someone who is struggling with coming out on a national stage. I was sorta fighting what I had to do. [But] a job's a job."
In the next episode, "Do The Wright Thing" (January 30, 2009), the team manager forces them all to accept Clay -- not because it's the right thing to do, but because of the publicity. Having an out player will pack the stadium -- fans who like fags will come out to cheer, and the 99.99% of the population who hate fags will come out to boo! (He never considers that some football fans might be gay themselves).
Incredibly painful to watch, absolutely disgusting. Remember, this was 2009, not 1969!
Having handled "the gay thing," the show returned to its endless heterosexual machinations, blissfully unaware that gay people exist.
I'd rather have them unaware.