"Roseanne and The Kiss"

Essay by Jodi TerwilligerUniversity, Bachelor'sA, January 1996

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"Roseanne and 'The Kiss"

This past winter break, myself and one of my best friends were driving down one of the main roads in our home town of Elmira, New York. I happened to look up at a billboard that was on the side of the road, and saw a sign that read something like: "Be safe, be smart, be protected." I thought to myself (immediately) "well, that's a big improvement from a few years ago when condom ads weren't even allowed on television." Then I noticed, it had the gay symbols of the upside down pink triangle, and the symbols of two men and two women together. My first thought was "why is this necessary" then I mentioned that to my friend. He didn't notice, but we both kind of laughed and agreed that why does it have to be gay people that need to protect themselves? We (straight people) are just as much at risk--what was the point? The point is, that it has become mainstream and accepted to be gay in this society now, so they can do that.

Only three years ago, however, it was a bit different.

"Roseanne" helped to set a trend in society that has made it more acceptable to be gay in the media. From the billboard I saw, to Roseanne's now (in)famous kiss with another woman. Roseanne has contributed to this trend immensely with her television sitcom.

To begin with, the series Roseanne has had gay characters on it for a long time. Roseanne's boss Leon was gay, and after "the kiss" his role on the show became more outspoken as he got married to his lover in the season after Roseanne kissed another woman.

In the 1994, Roseanne had a homosexual encounter with another woman played by Mariel...