Oct 15, 2015

Brock Ciarlelli: The Uncle Tom of "The Middle"

As a long time fan of the dysfunctional-family sitcom The Middle (2009), I have complained several times about the incessant heterosexism: boys like girls, girls like boys, period, end of story.

Charlie McDermott's Axl has some gay subtext scenes.

I thought that preteen Brick was gay, but no, the minute his character hit puberty, his "hormones" kicked in, and he became girl crazy.

And that's about it.


There is a recurring gay character, sort of: the uber-stereotypic swish Brad, Sue's high school friend.  The joke is: no one realizes that Brad is gay except Sue's parents, Frankie and Mike.

Certainly not Sue, who is unaware that gay people exist.  Not even Brad, also unaware.

Wait -- don't these teenagers watch Glee?  

So who is this person with the 5,000 teeth who has won two Young Artist Awards for his contribution to the erasure of gay people from the world?

His name is Brock Ciarlelli, and he's 19 years old, a Littleton, Colorado native currently studying at Chapman University.


Other than The Middle, he only has two projects listed on the IMDB: a walk-on in the thriller 2.0 (2010) and the tv movie Beth and Ali (2013).

Asked if he minded playing a gay character, he said "no."

Asked about his character's obliviousness to his gay identity, he said: "to me, that says that sexual orientation doesn't matter."

I've got news for you Brock: sexual orientation matters a great deal to the LGBT kids who are told daily that no gay people exist.

Brock and other teen favorites, such as Nickelodeon's Nick Cannon, are involved in an anti-bullying program where they talk to kids in classrooms via Skype.

That doesn't make up for being an Uncle Tom.

Postscript: In the October 14, 2015 episode, Brad comes out to Sue, sort of:

Brad:  "Sue, I have something to tell you.  I'm...."
Sue: "I know."
Frankie (voiceover): "Since Brad had the courage to tell Sue who he was...."

Ok, the word "gay" was never used.  It still must never be spoken, only implied.

See also: Axl in Underwear; Raising Hope/The Middle