A bunch of cartoons have used homosexual subtext as a punchline. And apparently, that's FINE.
However, if a show sincerely hints at a possible same sex attraction between two characters, and frankly discusses it, that's NOT.
Here's what happened: In the Adventure Time episode "What Was Missing," there's a bunch of hints dropped that two female characters, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline, may have an interest in each other as more than friends. It's actually very sweet and can also be read as just a friendship.
An official recap video on YouTube put out by Frederator studios (AT's production company) directly addressed the PB/Marceline situation and included several shots of fan art shipping the two girls. The recap ends by asking fans what they'd think of the two characters getting together, saying "does it leave Finn out in the cold or is it just ADORBZ?" This apparently led to discussion in the comments. The video was never aired on television.
And then Cartoon Network had Frederator remove the video.
Since then, the video has been reuploaded in other places (you can watch it here) and an internet campaign has begun to challenge Cartoon Network's decision.
Look, as I pointed out in the beginning of this blog, there are plenty of shows that have used subtext as a gag, and I'm not just talking about adult shows. Shows aimed at kids, such as Cow and Chicken, Danny Phantom and The Fairly Odd Parents have all repeatedly done bits where the joke was "Ha ha! Maybe that character isn't heterosexual!" And that's gotten by just fine. But when Adventure Time decides that, you know what, we're going to address this subtext as something PERFECTLY NORMAL AND ACCEPTABLE and as something that could possibly become more than subtext, it's considered controversial and in need of censorship.
It really sucks because it further cements the idea that being gay is something shameful or something that should be "hidden" from people who don't want to have to bother to explain it to their kids. Look at the recent controversy where Uh Huh Her member Leisha Hailey was forced off of a Southwest flight because she kissed her girlfriend in front of the other passengers. Hailey was told that her actions were inappropriate because Southwest was "a family airline."
Look, I think comedian Louis CK puts it really, really well, so I'm just gonna quote him here. While he's talking about gay marriage, his point really stands for any sort of "But how do I explain homosexuality to my kids?" situation.
"It doesn't have ANY effect on your life. What do you care? People try to talk about it like it's a social issue. Like when you see someone stand up on a talk show and say 'How am I supposed to explain to my child that two men are getting married?' I dunno, it's your sh*tty kid, you f*ckin' tell 'em. Why is that anyone else's problem? Two guys are in LOVE but they can't get married because YOU don't want to talk to your ugly child for five f*ckin' minutes?"
What do you guys think of this sort of censorship? Should Cartoon Network have forced Frederator to remove the video from YouTube?