Billy Crystal, who played one of TV’s first-ever gay characters in the 1970s, says he’s put off by today’s sometimes gratuitous and graphic portrayals of LGBT themes.
“Sometimes I think, ‘Ah, that’s too much for me,” the comedian said at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena.
Crystal was there to promote his new show, The Comedians, which premiers in April on FX.
Of course, his critique could also apply to graphic sex scenes on TV involving straight people, too. In fact, later, after a Twitter outcry, Crystal made that point to The Hollywood Reporter:
“What I meant was that whenever sex or graphic nudity of any kind (gay or straight) is gratuitous to the plot or story, it becomes a little too much for my taste,” he told THR in a statement.
But his comments are notable because Crystal played Jodie Dallas on the ABC comedy Soap from 1977 to 1981, making him one of the first to play a series-regular character who was openly gay.
“It was very difficult at the time,” said Crystal. “Jodie was really the first recurring (gay) character on network television and it was a different time, it was 1977. So, yeah, it was awkward. It was tough.”
Crystal told the audience his groundbreaking performance didn’t sit well with some viewers back in the day.
“I did it in front of a live audience and there were times when I would say to (a co-star), ‘I love you,’ and the audience would laugh nervously. I wanted to stop the taping and go, ‘What is your problem?’ ”
Nowadays, he says, he can be put off by some gay story lines on TV.
“Sometimes, it’s just pushing it a little too far for my taste and I’m not going to reveal to you which ones they are,” he said.
Crystal isn’t the only person to raise this point.
How to Get Away with Murder has featured provocative sex scenes involving the gay character, Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), that left some viewers squeamish.
“I hope people don’t abuse it and shove it in our face… to the point where it feels like an every day kind of thing,” Crystal said.
Of course, not everyone on Twitter agreed.
Click here to continue reading.
SOURCE: USA Today / The Warp – Italy Hod