I find myself continually amazed at how much more inclusive home shows of various types are than, say, network dramas and comedies. For instance, Trading Spaces has long shown a variety of family situations (i.e., not just married heterosexual couples, but also friends, single parents and children, siblings, gay/lesbian couples, coworkers, etc.) and races. About the only thing that was fairly standard was the middle-classness of it all. But really, when you think about how invisible anybody but straight white couples are on TV (except in certain types of roles such as police commanders or sidekicks, it’s pretty remarkable that that show in particular presents single parents, gay couples, adult singles, people of color, and the like not only without judgment or comment, but just as plain old middle-class homeowners who dug redecorating just like anyone else.* And you have to wonder if that, and not just the will-she-glue-hay-to-the-walls drama, had something to do with the show’s popularity.
I did notice, though, that in most cases, whenever gay or lesbian couples would appear on Trading Spaces or While You Were Out, at least a couple of years ago, they fairly rarely were physically affectionate on camera, probably as a result of being conscious that they’re on television and that there are a lot of people who would do them harm, even though they might live in LA or San Francisco (and with those two shows, because surprise was a big element, the show didn’t necessarily edit stuff out).
Recently, though, I’ve noticed a real uptick in the on-camera physical affection of gay and lesbian couples on home shows. For instance, I recently watched an episode of Surprise By Design, where the surprised homeowner (a hairstylist coupled with a Broadway actor who made over their Weehawken backyard for him) kissed his partner right on the lips with the cameras rolling (plus, several members of his family flew out from Wisconsin to help out, and they were all just thrilled that he’d found love). And I was watching My First Home last night, and it struck me just how much pro-LGBT stuff they packed into the story of a lesbian couple who were buying a home in Oakland together; not only were they very physically affectionate on camera, they told the camera and the real estate agent that they wanted a backyard to have their wedding in — and not only that, but the show had someone talking about how, even though they can’t marry legally in California, they can register as domestic partners in California, which will protect the surviving partner’s rights to the house should something happen to one of them.
* The cast, however, was fairly uniformly white. The only two people of color who were regulars were Vern Yip, who was awesome in his anal-retentiveness and how he could squeeze a thousand-dollar budget into fabulousness, and Kia Steave-Dickerson, who had an unholy love for wallpaper borders and who did a snow-camouflage-themed room for a military couple in base housing who’d asked for no military themes.