Vulture recently crowns Darryl Whitefeather (adorably portrayed by Pete Gardner) as television’s Most Darling Bisexual. Indeed he is – and to quite extent, Crazy Ex Girlfriend’s portrayal of bisexuality is positively well-informed. Plus, IT FINALLY FUCKING MENTIONS THE B-WORD!
In CW’s Crazy Ex Girlfriend, recently divorced and socially awkward boss Darryl Whitefeather is challenged to realize that he is “bothsexual.” His bisexuality is a road to discovery, not mere a passage of experiment.
Although homosexual visibility in media has been portrayed and evolved through the years for the better, there is still a specter that haunts the portrayal of bisexuality that though not entirely diminishing, but nevertheless pushing its existence to a dead mine. Less-antagonistic, but even still so discriminatory, bisexual erasure is most usually being trapped into the uneven employ of “sexual fluidity” in both dramatic and comedic media representations. Such a case triggers to pile up and fails to recognize its well-rounded inclusion. Portraying bisexuality without ever the self-affirmation of the “b-word” is cutting classic bi-erasure.
It is actually a challenge to identify who among the few TV characters through the years explicitly portrayed bisexuality, thus it becomes more difficult to pinpoint the first self-identified, albeit fictional, person of bisexual nature. Often, bisexuality is explored to heighten a character’s sexuality (Jung. Vulture. 2016), and in the case of the supposedly first ever mainstream television outing in LA Law (He’s A Crowd, 1991), it was admitted to have been not more profound than bolstering the ratings (which in turn backfired after major sponsors pulled out with what could be the depiction of TV’s first same-sex romantic kiss), and as such, the storyline was dropped and not given a follow-up.
In 1994, the exact same biphobic corporate reaction happened to Roseanne’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, except the “character/storyline experiment” garnered much positive response from the audience.
In 1997, Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s The Wish, Willow is portrayed in alternate reality as an aggressive bisexual vampire, but it would only be in 2001’s The Body that Willow become “full-pledged” bisexual and thereby shown sharing her onscreen same sex kiss belatedly. It would be on this media mileage that Allyson Hannigan’s Willow Rosenberg get an explicit affirmation of her true sexuality, and therefore becoming TV’s first major bisexual character.
In fact, Netflix’s prison dramedy Orange Is The New Black has been embittered by the erroneous sexual labeling of its main character (as “former lesbian”) which effectively exposes the dead end reality that most of us is still confused about the nuclear orientation of bisexuality. It only becomes more regressive when such depiction, may it be sexually explicit, fails to even mention the real possibilities of the character’s well-intentioned SOGIE. The diminishing line between a character exploration and personal evolution seems to have always portrayed bisexuality as a fleeting passage to homosexuality – which is deemed completely wrong and terrible. Inaccurately portraying bisexuality becomes rather exploitative.
Yes, in most cases, speaking in behalf – bisexuality could be a personal experiment – but being bisexual is not mere a choice between the two after such “period of testing the waters” has been resulted upon. It’s an open wide reconciliation that sexuality is indeed a spectrum. It indeed has more colors than black, white, and pink.
And all these portrayals, including the most recent – such as Orphan Black, Transparent, House of Cards, How To Get Away With Murder, American Horror Story, True Blood, etc – only push boundaries but ultimately fails to recognize bisexuality as an exclusive portion of their characterization. This blot in reality as portrayed makes bisexuality more obscure and invisible as it has always been.