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Falwell fingered the Teletubbies, but why stop there? The network rundown of who's in and should be out.

By Bill Frost

FEBRUARY 23, 1999:  Last week, the Rev. Jerry Falwell made national news by supposedly "outing" one of the Teletubbies--Tinky Winky, to be exact. He's purple (the official gay-pride color), his antenna is shaped like a triangle (the official gay-pride symbol), he carries a purse (the official gay-pride accessory) and he's on PBS (the official gay-pride network).

Never mind the fact that Dipsy (the green one) has a dildo attached to the top of his head: Tinky Winky's gay-lifestyle recruitment of the children must be stopped!

There are far more insidious dangers associated with Teletubbies than one of them being light in the loafers: Like the sheer number of adults who stay home from work, down a Big Gulp of Robitussen and watch the show with the sound muted and Hendrix's Are You Experienced? blaring through headphones--this is why the nation's productivity is down, damn it! The work force is zoning out to the Teletubbies' psychedelic mambo (why do you think there was no Tube Town last week?) and the DEA can't do a thing about it, because PBS is still legal in 38 states.

But, if Falwell--who's already denied saying anything about Tinky Winky's sexuality--wants to go down this yellow-brick road, he may soon conclude that all of the major broadcast networks have subliminal gay characters.

For example: ABC's Spin City features an "out" homosexual (played by Michael Boatman), but no one realizes that Michael J. Fox's new girlfriend (played by "Connie" Britton) is actually a man--and a brawny one, at that. Cupid wasn't canceled because of low ratings, but because it was a weekly infomercial for heterosexual love--getting the picture? And as for Two Guys, a Girl & a Pizza Place, well, do the math.

In CBS' Nash Bridges, Don Johnson and Cheech Marin posed as gay detectives to secure a swank office space in a gay-owned building at the start of this season--and they have yet to deny it! Sure, they brought in Yasmine Bleeth as a distraction from the fact that Johnson and his entire squad dress far too sharply to be straight, but his big yellow Barracuda is a dead giveaway. And what about CBS' Monday night line-up? The King of Queens? Couldn't be more obvious. Everybody Loves Raymond? Think about it. That Roma Downey seems to get touchy-feely with grieving women on Touched by an Angel an awful lot, too.

Anyone who's ever seen Fox's Ally McBeal knows that she can't hang onto a man, but does she really want to? The episode where Calista Flockhart made out with Courtney Thorn-Smith burned up frat-house VCRs across the country, but in a show where you have characters named Whipper and The Biscuit, anything can happen. King of the Hill's Bobby Hill is probably the most sexually confused boy on TV (next to two-dimensional dweeb James Van der Beek on Dawson's Creek, anyway), but Fox's most subversive gay-lifestyle recruiter has got to be Mr. Smithers on The Simpsons: As soon as secret sugar daddy Mr. Burns finally kicks off, Smithers will use his money to buy a Boca Raton condo with South Park's Big Gay Al.

NBC's Will & Grace doesn't even try to hide the fact the one of its stars is gay: Grace (Debra Messing) is the kookiest TV lesbian since Lucille Ball. Even with Will and Jack--two of the most hunky, hetero men you'll ever see--around, Grace just can't stay off the carpet. Friends is mostly homosexual-free, except for peripheral coffee house character Gunther--yes, he has a debilitating crush on Jennifer Aniston, but what gay man doesn't? The Pretender is exactly that, and NBC Nightly News' Tom Brokaw ... what? Are you people blind?

It's too early to say where things sit on UPN's Dilbert, but the network's only other show that actually gets watched, Star Trek: Voyager, is a virtual gay space-cruise: You could cut the sexual tension between Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine with a phaser. They argue like lovers constantly. Janeway nearly sacrificed the Enterprise to keep Seven from going back to her old girlfriend (the Borg, that bitch) and every week, without fail, they run across another wormhole in space--any thoughts on what "wormhole" is lesbian code for, Mr. Falwell?

The only gay character on The WB is Unhappily Ever After's Mr. Floppy, a sociopathic stuffed bunny voiced by Bobcat Goldthwaite. Sure, he talks a lot about scoring with the ladies, but, according to Hollywood roommates G.I. Joe and Ken, he's anything but "floppy."


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