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Subject: Two Ricki Lake episodes about gay family members

Written By: Marty McFly on 05/21/09 at 8:38 pm

Not sure exactly when these are from (I'm guessing 1994-96), but it's interesting to watch, especially from a current perspective. It's basically parents, teens and siblings whose relatives disapprove of their lifestyle. I really like what the black guy (the activist) Donald Suggs in the audience periodically had to say, he and Ricki seemed like the best voices of reason, although I can see everyone's point of view really.

The person who uploaded it must've mixed up the titles on a few of the segments, so it's kinda confusing, but here they are


Subject: Re: Two Ricki Lake episodes about gay family members

Written By: Marty McFly on 05/21/09 at 9:21 pm

Just found another one, looks like from the late '90s with a different spin. It's about gay people who confront their friends and think they make gays in general look bad (by being too effeminate or flamboyant). I think that's a fair point actually - personally I could care less, but I think that precipitates alot of the negative stereotypes of gays:

P.S. Ricki was so cute back then! ;)

Subject: Re: Two Ricki Lake episodes about gay family members

Written By: Samwise on 05/22/09 at 11:20 am

Wow, thanks for posting these. It's so strange to think that those episodes were from just a little more than 10 years ago, and yet things have changed so much. It's also worth noting that the first couple of episodes (from the mid-nineties) focused on the straight people's perspectives, whereas the second episode (from the late nineties) showed things from the gays' perspectives. It goes from an outsider view of gays to an insider view. That's a really significant shift. It seems like gay issues became mainstream in 1992-1993, with Clinton and the whole "gays in the military" debate, and so in the early- to mid-nineties, the mainstream media - and straight America as a whole - was sort of grappling with what this was all about. "Who are these people?" Hence, you've got the frame of "straight families struggling with their gay relative." But then gradually, as the nineties wore on, people got more used to gay people and began to understand that they weren't a monolithic group - they were just people, with different personalities and opinions. And so you've got this later episode which assumes familiarity and highlights a split in the gay community. Those episodes almost serve to represent the changing attitudes towards gays throughout the nineties. I don't know if you meant to illuminate that by juxtaposing those episodes like that, but if you did, good job!

Here's a related story - an article from 1995 about trashy daytime TV and its impact on gays and lesbians: Do Ask, Do Tell: Freak Talk on TV. The author makes the argument that these kinds of shows allowed "freaks" to make their voices heard when the mainstream news media wouldn't tell their stories from their perspectives. Of course, on the other hand, these people were also being exploited for ratings. But you've got to wonder how much Ricki Lake and her ilk had to do with that shift in perspective in the nineties that these clips from her show so beautifully display.

Subject: Re: Two Ricki Lake episodes about gay family members

Written By: whistledog on 05/22/09 at 4:01 pm

Does she still have her talk show?  It used to be syndicated on channels I could get for a few years, then it went away in the mid 90s and I never saw it again.  It began as a good show, but then like most talk shows, it went downhill ... taking apart the sad lives of humans and make it entertaining for the audience.  Kind of like that movie 'The Thirteenth Floor' (which by the way was very good)

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