Often tasteless and offensive in the tradition of classic Fox sitcoms (remember “Married…With Children”?), “Glee” has nevertheless become one of the third-rate network’s greatest assets. LGBT folks especially can’t get enough of the series, with gay bars across the country regularly hosting “Glee” events on the nights that the program airs.
The irony that the anti-gay Fox should be the home to one (make that two, if you include “American Idol”) of the gayest shows on television is not lost on this writer. That said, by the fourth episode of the insanely popular series, the gay issue is addressed with more sensitivity than one might expect when glee club member Kurt (out actor Chris Colfer) comes out to his father and to friend Mercedes (Amber Riley).
The musical numbers are, of course, what makes the show, and they are consistently strong and innovative, while out actress Jane Lynch is the embodiment of evil as coach Sue Sylvester. The seven DVD set features 22 episodes and more than two hours of special features.
In its second to last season, airing in 1975-76, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” found Minnesota-based Mary Richards (Moore), the solid rock of the WJM newsroom, moving into a new apartment. She also got a visit from her Aunt Flo (no wisecracks) played by Eileen Heckart. She sparred with flirty Sue Ann (a considerably younger Betty White) and fended off various advances by unworthy males. Mary probably got her biggest laugh in season six with the now legendary “Chuckles Bites The Dust” episode. You know, “a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” The six-disc set includes 24 episodes.
The runaway hit of the 2009-10 network TV season, “Modern Family” features three different, but related, families. One of the families is made up of gay male couple Mitchell (out actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Overstreet) and their adopted daughter Lily (Jaden and Ella Hiller). The four DVD set features 24 episodes and a host of special features, including deleted, extended and alternate scenes as well as a gag reel.
TV viewers bid farewell to ABC’s delightful sitcom “Ugly Betty,” in which we watched the unlikely rise of Betty Suarez (America Ferrara) “from poncho to honcho.” Navigating her way through the cut-throat world of fashion magazines, Betty weathered many storms of the romantic, professional, familial and comedic nature. The final season was also the one in which her teenaged gay nephew Justin (Mark Indelicato) came out and had a boyfriend named Austin (Ryan McGinnis). The four DVD set also includes a wardrobe full of bonus material.
Amid the 24 episodes (on six discs) from the acclaimed TV series “thirtysomething,” which ran on ABC from 1987-91, is the infamous (and tame by today’s standards) “Strangers,” which featured characters Russell (out actor David Marshall Grant) and Peter (Peter Frechette) in bed together. Co-created by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (later of the gay-friendly “My So-Called Life”), the series was also notable for its outstanding ensemble cast, including Melanie Mayron, Timothy Busfield (later in “The West Wing”), Patricia Wettig (later in “Brothers & Sisters”), (Wettig’s husband) Ken Olin, Polly Draper and Peter Horton. The DVD set also includes cast and crew commentary.
Out actor Neil Patrick Harris leads the ensemble cast (including Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan and Coby Smulders) of this highly rated CBS sitcom through its fifth season. Singlehandedly making the business suit hot, Harris’ portrayal of womanizer Barney has earned him well-deserved Emmy nominations for the past few years. DVD bonus features in the three-disc collection include a behind-the-scenes look at the 100th episode, a gag reel and commentary.