Aug 9, 2016

The Loud House: Gay Dads on Nickelodeon

The Loud House is a Nickelodeon cartoon not connected to the Loud Family that introduced gay people to PBS back in the 1970s.  

It was created by Chris Savino, who previously worked on such gay-context classics as Rocko's Modern Life, Dexter's Laboratory, and My Gym Partner's a Monkey.  It's a naturalistic series about a contemporary Michigan family with a husband (Brian Stepanek), wife (Jill Talley), and ten daughters, all apparently biological progeny: Lori, Leni, Luna, Luan, Lynn, Lucy, Lana, Lola, Lisa, Lily.  

And one son, the central character, 11-year old Lincoln Loud (Grant Palmer, left).

You might expect a lot of "battle of the sexes" plotlines, with stereotypic boys and girls fighting it out over pink ponies and baseball practice.  But conflicts are mostly about the sheer size of the group:
Lincoln wants to sit at the "adult" table at dinner.
Lincoln struggles to get a favorable seat in the van for a family trip.
Lincoln buys headphones to drown out the noise in the house.

There are few boy-girl dating plotlines, but few gay-subtext plotlines either.  Lincoln has a best friend, Clyde McBride (Caleel Harris), with a standard preteen bromance going on.

But Clyde has two Dads, Howard and Harold McBride, the first male-same sex couple to appear as a couple in any children's program in the U.S.





They are not a stereotyped fey gay couple: one is tall and thin, the other chubby and balding.  

Nor do they appear just once, for shock value, and then never again. They have appeared in at least four episodes, and been referenced in more, a standard part of the Loud House world.










They are voiced by Michael McDonald and Wayne Brady, comedians who have played gay characters in live productions, and are probably aware that they are making history, even if the kids watching are not.