Prop 8 Argued in Law & Order Court, Paddy's Pub (of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
The legal war over Prop 8 is still fresh fodder for Sunday news snore fests, daily chat spat shows and late night laugh offs, so it was only a matter of time before California's controversial gay marriage initiative filtered its way into scripted television programming.
But the two shows that will roll the issue into storylines next season could not be more diverse.
NBC's yet-to-debut spinoff Law & Order: Los Angeles will feature an episode based on the overturning of Prop 8 on constitutional grounds.
Meanwhile, the first two episodes of the new season of FX's screwball comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia will play off same-sex marriage.
Michael Jensen has the scoop on AfterElton.com ("The pop culture site that plays for your team").
"[We] were sitting around talking about it and thought, 'Okay, we got the first six stories. What's the next seven?' And then this came out," Rene Balcer, executive producer of Law & Order: Los Angeles, explains to Jensen.
The story, Balcer says, is about "the money behind the Prop 8 people and the hypocrisy of black churches supporting a proposition like that and also looking at the whole 'initiative industry' and how these lobbyists make a lot of money."
Asked to elaborate on the hypocrisy, Balcer asked, "How can you as a black minister who has fought for civil rights now fight to deny someone else their civil rights? I mean, it makes no sense."
Exposing hypocrisy is a goal of the Law & Order franchise, whose newest spin-off premieres Sept. 29.
"I think there's an obvious hypocrisy [in Prop 8], and if anything we're consistent," Balcer tells Jensen. "We just try to go after hypocrites of whatever stripe."
(That is supposed to be the sound of Law & Order's ubiquitous end punctuation noise.)
Philly creator Rob McElhenney's character Mac will oppose the marriage of a transgender woman and another man because, Mac will claim, it's an illegal gay wedding. Actually, it's because he has feelings for the former man and is jealous.
Another thread in those episodes features the Frankie and Charlie characters entering a domestic partnership to get health-care benefits.
"It was important to us to make an episode of television that you are never going to see anywhere else which is something I've never seen," McElhenney said. "It's part of the national conversation."
Though he was partly raised by his biological mother and her female partner and strongly supports marriage quality, McElhenney said he believes there are hypocrisies on both sides of the Prop 8 debate. His show is not taking sides, just striving to open the dialogue, he vowed.
"There are so many people that I've found that are almost indifferent to it," he tells Jensen. "And when you ask them about it and they say 'Well, I don't know. It doesn't really affect me.' And they think they don't know any gay people when they most likely do. And they say 'Um, I just don't like to think about it.' I think the only wrong side to fall on that particular issue is not to think about it, to not talk about it, to not figure it out for yourself."
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