Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Media Moment...Key & Peele: Gay Marriage legalized

This past week I came across an episode of Comedy Central's new show Key & Peele. Similar to the Chapelle show format, Key & Peele star in their own sketches typically rooted in satirizing stereotypes, social normatives, and political issues. I was initially intrigued by the show after watching one of its early commercials (which can be viewed here) noticing that the were directly challenging and commenting on cultural and social schemas as it relates to the people of color as well as the white community (the majority of their sketches can be viewed on youtube).

In this particular skit the two actors play two gay men in front of what appears to be a city hall building celebrating the legalizing of gay marriage. 

Key's character is more reserved while his partner is much more flamboyant and outgoing. It's interesting to note how in their dialogue, Key's character constantly brings up the fact that the idea of marriage is something that he is not necessarily convinced of quite yet as opposed to his partner who fantasizes about their future. This back and forth between the two challenges certain schemas and hegemonic structures. Those being: B) Marriage is bliss or equates to happiness and that B) the legalizing of marriage constitutes or represents the desire of every LGBT individual. The skit supports the idea that marriage requires just as much consideration for the homosexual individual as do heterosexual couples, offering a different take on the subject then what is normally displayed in mainstream media. While this is a comedic sketch, its subtext is one of a much more serious and necessary discussion in both homosexual and heterosexual circles as to what are the implications of marriage beyond simply a government passed privileged. These types of conversations are typically not raised in mainstream media or in a 20/20 segment for instance yet Key & Peele are using comedy as a medium to offer smart and funny takes on these issues. By doing this they are in some sense unifying the personal and individual struggles of people and not just heterosexuals as it relates to marriage. The idea of marriage is not simply a debate between couples in heterosexual couples but rather one that is equally important in both sectors, and Key & Peele continue to use their sketches to tackle the notions of marriage. 

Question: Why do you feel that these kinds of discussions are not presented in mainstream media? In your opinion can the comedic structure allow the issues to be taken more seriously or do these issues need to be presented in a different context? Are we in a post-gay society where these issues are diminishing or have we simply neglected these kinds of conversations and why? 

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