In the past five years, sitcoms have had an influx of LGBTQ main characters: Glee, Modern Family, Sean Saves the World, The New Normal, Happy Endings, Orange Is the New Black. But even with these advances made in portraying LGBTQ characters on television (with varying levels of success), there's still a kind of sameness to these characters: aside from a few characters on Orange Is the New Black and Glee, they're overwhelmingly white, male, and gay.
Which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. But the media already has its problems with portraying lesbian characters on television. They're often two-dimensional: either a show uses femme characters to play up their sexual relationships and keep people watching, or they're butch man-haters. The fewer lesbian characters portrayed on television, the more audiences are likely to perceive lesbians this way instead of as actual human beings with complex personalities and relationships.
That's why it's great news that NBC has just picked up a comedy pilot written by openly gay 2 Broke Girls comedy writer Liz Feldman that has a lesbian lead character. The show, called One Big Happy, is a multi-camera sitcom that follows a lesbian woman and her straight best friend as they plan to have a baby together, a plan that gets complicated when her best friend finds the love of "their" life.
Not only is it a show that features a lesbian character in the lead role and is written by an actual lesbian, it's also executive produced by your mom's favorite lesbian, Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres is sort of an expert in this arena — she broke ground when coming out on her own sitcom, Ellen, in 1997.
And with LGBTQ characters slowly but surely being accepted onto network television, it's high time we had another Ellen. The conditions are right for it, and there's a need for more visible lesbian characters on television. Hopefully, One Big Happy can do the same thing for audiences today that Ellen did for audiences in 1997: bring a fully realized portrayal of a lesbian to an audience who wouldn't be exposed to that kind of character otherwise. Sure, it may be 17 years later, but there's still a ways to go.