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Further Off the Straight & Narrow

New Gay Visibility on Television, 1998-2006

Further Off the Straight & Narrow

Duration: 61 min
ISBN: 1-932869-08-5
Date Produced: 2006
Subtitles: English

Filmmaker Info
Study Guide
Press Room
Film Festivals
Praise for the Film

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Further Off the Straight & Narrow
New Gay Visibility on Television, 1998-2006

This important new documentary picks up where Off the Straight & Narrow: Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals & Television (1998) left off. Since that video's release in the late 90s, which coincided with the last episode of the popular program Ellen, there has been a marked increase in the presence of GLBT characters on television.

Against the backdrop of political and social issues affecting the GLBT community, such as gay marriage and AIDS, Further Off the Straight & Narrow takes a close look at sitcoms, reality shows, and premium cable programming as it explores how representations of GLBT characters have become more complex and varied in recent years.

The film acknowledges the expansion of GLBT representation on television and the resulting possibilities for inclusion and recognition opened up for today's gay youth. However, the program also raises questions about how this queer presence on television is shaped by the imperatives of the commercial media system.

Further Off the Straight & Narrow argues that the evolution in GLBT representation, like many transformations in a commercially-driven media system, may be best explained less by a sudden commitment to social justice on the part of big media than by advertisers' recognition of the potential of directly targeting GLBT consumers with programming specifically designed to attract their attention.

Featuring interviews with Howard Buford (Founder & CEO, Prime Access, Inc.), Joshua Gamson (University of San Francisco and author, Freaks Talk Back), Larry Gross (Director of Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern CA), Lisa Henderson (Professor of Communication, University of Massachusetts-Amherst), Katherine Sender (University of Pennsylvania), and Suzanna Walters (Indiana University).

Sections: Introduction | Going Mainstream: Network Narratives | Mighty Real: Gays and Lesbians in Non-Fiction TV | A Piece of the Pie: Segmenting Audiences | glbT: New Transgender Visibility | Here & Queer: Gay Television in Context

Viewer Discretion Advised: Contains Sexual Imagery

Filmmaker Info

Director: Katherine Sender
Producer: Katherine Sender
Executive Producer: Sut Jhally
Editor: Katherine Sender
Editing Assistants: Paul Falzone, Christopher Finlay, Lindsay Grow, Nicole Rodgers, Nick Walsh
Narrator: Renai Ellison
Audio Editor: Zeke Fiddler
Audio Producer: Rodney Whittenberg/MelodyVision
Camera: Melvin Epps/Third Eye Productions
Commercials Courtesy Of Mike Wilke/
Titles: Mike Enright

Filmmaker's Bio

KATHERINE SENDER | Director, Producer & Editor
Katherine Sender is Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She is author of Business, not Politics: The Making of the Gay Market, which was nominated for the 2006 International Communication Association Best Book Award. She has also published numerous articles, including the forthcoming Dualcasting: Bravo's Gay Programming and the Quest for Women Audiences and Professional Homosexuals: The Politics of Sexual Identification in Gay and Lesbian Media and Marketing. She was a 2006 recipient of the Trustees' Council of Penn Women's Summer Research Award. Katherine is also the producer of MEF films Off the Straight & Narrow: Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals & Television, 1946-1998 (1998) and Recovering Bodies: Overcoming Eating Disorders (1997).

Film Festivals

2010 Llamale H International Film Festival -- Montevideo, Uruguay
2008 Mezipatra, Czech Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
2008 DIVERSA Festival de Cine Gay Lesbico Trans de Argentina
2008 Queer Lisboa - Lisbon Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
2008 Hungary LGBT Film Festival
2008 Torino GLBT Film Festival
2007 Montreal International LGBT Film Festival
2007 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
2007 Outfest - Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
2006 Northampton Independent Film Festival
2006 Honig Guenter Women and Film Festival

Press Reviews

Praise for the Film

"Further Off the Straight & Narrow makes an invaluable contribution to queer media studies, and is a superb documentary companion to Epstein and Friedman's ground-breaking The Celluloid Closet."
- Montreal International LGBT Film Festival

"A nuanced assessment of the portrayal of sexual minorities on television. Further off the Straight and Narrow is an essential part of my courses."
- Jack Banks | Associate Professor of Communication | University of Hartford

"...does an entertaining job of calculating the impact of gay images on television since "Will & Grace" made its debut.
- Seattle Times

"...presents an academic and fascinating examination of the subject..."
- PopMatters

"...Does a superb job of presenting and supporting the issues surrounding the GLBT community in mainstream television..."
- Counterpoise

"...Well-paced, and full of apt examples..."
- Anthropology Review Database

- Educational Media Reviews Online

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