EPISODE  203: “Say Gay: 70s, 80s and 90s QUEER TV W/ MATT BAUME”

What did Queer representation look like in 70s, 80s and 90s television? Could you say gay?

Susan and Sharon kick off their Pride Month celebration with author, podcaster and video maker Matt Baume. His latest book, “Hi Homey, I’m Homo!” traces the evolution of LGBTQ+ characters on American sitcoms. His previous book - “Defining Marriage” - chronicles the personal stories of people who fought for marriage equality over the last forty years.

In this fun, fact-filled interview, Matt shares stories from his childhood and early life that led to his career as a chronicler of queer history on TV – and then we discuss the highlights (and lowlights) of TV history as seen through rainbow-colored glasses…
Read Transcript

The Conversation

  • How the Civil rights movement led to the first subtextual whispers about Queer culture and characters on TV. “Bewitched” anyone?
  • AND – how the “Bewitched” episode “The Witches Are Out” (S1, Ep 7) eerily and hilariously anticipates future struggles for representation within marginalized cultures.
  • Don’t Say Gay TV? The 1971 “All in the Family” (S1, Ep 5) “Judging Books By Covers” features one of the first gay characters on primetime TV – even though the word “gay” is never used.
  • AND – how another “AITF” recurring character, drag queen Beverly La Salle, becomes part of “the family” in “Archie, the Hero” “Beverly Rides Again” “Edith’s Crisis of Faith”
  • AND – how “AITF” 1975 episode “Cousin Liz” may have swayed a California election about whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to teach in public schools.
  • Do you remember the 1992 Nickelodeon "Nick News with Linda Ellerbee" special "A Conversation with Magic" about HIV/AIDS featuring Magic Johnson and a group of HIV-positive kids? Matt does – and it led directly to what he does now.
  • “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Heterosexual!” -  a deep dive into the classic sitcom “discovery moment” when a character suddenly realizes another character is gay. 
  • Gay Kisses on TV: LA Law, Picket Fences, and Rosanne. Why is it one thing for women to kiss – but way different for men?
  • What do “Fraggle Rock” and “Star Trek” have in common?
  • “80’s Star Trek Ladies”? It might be coming your way soon-ish…!
  • “Designing Women’s” groundbreaking episode “Killing All The Right People” about AIDS and safe sex.
  • How TV struggled then and still today with trans representation.
  • The Incredible Life of George Takei!

So join Susan and Sharon – and Matt – and they discuss Muppets, Maude – and the Magic of asking for “100 percent of what you want – 100 percent of the time!”  

Our Audio-ography

All 5 seasons of “Remington Steele” are now available on Amazon Prime and AppleTV!

Check out everything Matt Baume is doing – including his podcast “Sewers of Paris” -- at his website, MattBaume.com

Get Matt Baume’s new book “Hi Honey, I’m Homo” at Bookshop.

SIGNED COPIES are available at Elliott Bay.

Watch Matt’s YouTube Videos.

LGBTQ Advocacy

Consider supporting orgs like The Trevor Project and The Okra Project.


What does representation mean to you? Email us at 80sTVLadies@gmail.com

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80s TV Ladies™ Episode 203: “Queer TV with Matt Baume”
Produced by 134 West and Susan Lambert Hatem.
Hosted by Susan Lambert Hatem and Sharon Johnson.
Guest: Matt Baume.
Sound Engineer and Editor: Kevin Ducey.
Producer: Melissa Roth.
Associate Producer: Sergio Perez.
Music by Amy Engelhardt.
Copyright 2023 134 West, LLC and Susan Lambert. All Rights Reserved.