EPISODE  204: “Gay 90s (and 80s): The Rainbow Remix with Denise Warner & JD Danner"

“To be able to see it represented on TV means so much to a young mind."Susan and Sharon continue their celebration of Pride Month by welcoming JD and Denise, hosts of "The Rainbow Remix", a podcast featuring LGBTQ lifestyle news, music, arts, media -- and mixology! 

Denise Warner is an out lesbian and veteran podcaster going all the way back to 2006 with “The Lesbian Lounge".  JD Danner is a musician and songwriter who came out after a 25-year marriage. She reached out to Denise during the COVID quarantine and together they created The Rainbow Remix, shining a light on LGBT creatives in all the arts.

In a fascinating and deeply personal conversation, we talk about queer characters on TV, the way representation changed from the early to the late eighties – and using television as a mirror, both then and now, to figure out who we are and where we fit in.
Read Transcript

The Conversation

  • “Pretending to be Gay”: From Jack Tripper on Three’s Company to Norm on Cheers -- What’s up with that?
  • How going to a Pride event can feel like a life-or-death choice.
  • Jamie Farr’s “Klinger” on MASH – was he gay? Trans? Or just trying to get out of the Korean War?
  • “You Might Be A Lesbian If…”: How Kristy McNichol, an obsession with Charlie’s Angels, and a Cagney & Lacey birthday cake all helped Denise realize she just might be gay.
  • How "Friends" got it right with TV’s first lesbian wedding – but then fumbled five years later with the transphobic “One About Chandler’s Dad” episode – and what show creator Marta Kaufman says about it now.
  • Were Darlene on "Roseanne" and Jo on "Facts of Life" coded as gay?
  • “The Secret Audience”: why straight viewers watch "The L Word" and "Queer as Folk" – juicy story-lines and hot crushes!
  • The importance of supporting lesbian and diverse creative projects and creators.
  • “We Want Ellen to Come Out”: How the show approached her “big life change” – and why the network suggested she just get a puppy instead.
  • The "Ellen" Backlash: How Ellen’s coming out episode got Oprah hate mail, the Ellen TV show cancelled and almost destroyed DeGeneres’ career.
  • The night Susan went to Ellen DeGeneres’ apartment -- with the Indigo Girls!
  • How could you not know? We - and our moms - all loved Boy George, Prince, Grace Jones, Liberace, Paul Lynde in the 70s and 80s.
  • So join Susan and Sharon – and Denise and JD! – as they talk Golden Girls, best lesbian kisses --  and make-up tips from drag queens!

Our Audio-ography

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

Listen to The Rainbow Remix Podcast.

Listen to Sharon and Susan on Rainbow Remix's 80s TV Ladies episode!

Catch The Rainbow Remix on Youtube and at TheRainbowRemix.com.  

Learn about the The Trevor Project's work to support LGBTQ youth and Donate here

Listen to JD Danner’s "Come out and Dance" on Spotify.

Read about Friends creator Marta Kauffman on the lack of diversity in Friends and the mis-gendering of Chandler’s parent on HuffPost

Help us make more episodes and get ad-free episodes and exclusive content on PATREON.


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80s TV Ladies™ Episode 204: “The Rainbow Remix with Denise Warner & JD Danner”
Produced by 134 West and Susan Lambert Hatem.
Hosted by Susan Lambert Hatem and Sharon Johnson.
Guests: Denise Warner and JD Danner.
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.