Groups Now Demanding ABC Yank New Cross-Dressing Comedy

by | December 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM | TV News

Life's a drag for Benjamin Koldyke (in both photos) in ABC's "Work It" (Photos: ABC)

ABC’s upcoming cross-dressing comedy “Work It” continues to come under fire from gay and transgender watchdog groups.

The latest salvo comes from the best-known of the LGBT advocacy groups (that’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender if you’re not up on the LGBT acronym) – the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which placed a full-page ad in Variety, the showbiz trade newspaper saying the show will defame men who dress as women.

“ ‘Work It’ will harm transgender people,” says the ad from GLAAD, according to an account on Entertainment Weekly’s Web site here.

The ad even acknowledges that the show doesn’t address so-called “transgender” issues at all. Indeed, as we wrote a few days ago here (because we’ve seen the show, while its detractors have not), “Work It” is a silly sitcom about two blue-collar guys who have been unemployed for a while but have become aware that opportunities for women seem to be more plentiful that jobs for men lately. So they decide to dress up as women to try and land these women’s jobs.

Thus, “Work It” is a commentary on current economic conditions rather than a comedy about the struggles of cross-dressers to fit into society. How silly is this show? Well, from the get-go, you know it’s a TV comedy by the mere fact that you’re expected to believe that these very macho guys can “pass” as women when they wear dresses or skirts, wigs, heels, lipstick and carry purses. It’s obvious from the first time you see them that, in the real world, they’d be recognized as men in drag in about half a heartbeat. And yet, on the show, everyone they meet falls for the ruse.

Clearly, the people who make this show don’t take their subject matter seriously at all. And that’s probably why they must feel kind of blindsided by demands from GLAAD and other groups that ABC literally can the show entirely.

This story from the Los Angeles Times reports that ABC execs will meet with representatives of the complaining groups soon, probably in an effort to get them off their backs and let them continue the show, for which the network has already invested millions.

Our take: We happen to think that demands to kill a show before it airs because of fears that the show will be harmful to a group of people is way out of line. That just feels like old-fashioned censorship that’s out of place in a free society. Moreover, the so-called harm that these groups fear is not at all a foregone conclusion. On that basis alone, the show should go on.

As of now, “Work It” is still scheduled to premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 8:30/7:30c on ABC.

Does this seem harmful to you? Well, harmfully hilarious, maybe – watch a trailer for “Work It” here:
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