Remember when everyone’s favorite news magazine decided that Jonathan Groff wasn’t as good an actor after he came out of the closet? Oh, right, so I do. That happened yesterday, didn’t it.
On Newsweek online, an entertainment reporter wrote a piece on gay actors and how they can’t play straight characters. Because, you know, gay actors just can’t. Or something. He singles out Jonathan Groff’s Glee performance in particular, uses all kinds of bigot-y language to describe it, and then suggests that Groff’s character seems really gay because… you know… Jonathan is gay.
What. THE FUCK.
AfterElton has done a splendid job of calling out the writer, Ramin Setoodeh, on his reasoning. But where do his opinions leave me? Or the gazillions of other girls just like me, who have no problem seeing Groff as a straight romantic lead? Because he’s a good actor. And because he’s gorgeous. And maybe because we don’t have any trouble separating the shit that happens on a stage or a television screen from like, this thing we call reality.
Groff’s character, Jesse St. James, is over-the-top, for sure. But over-the-top does not somehow equate with being gay. Nor does it mean that I come away from Groff’s performance thinking that we should definitely go shoe shopping together someday. That’s partly because I have seen Jon’s choice in footwear, and trust me, he needs my help a lot more than I need his, but it’s also because I prefer not to think of people as a checklist of stereotypes.
Setoodeh also wades into some scary territory with his idea of what’s macho and manly (Jerry Orbach? What? Are you my grandmother?), what’s attractive and what’s not, and what seems gay and what doesn’t. Who is he to say? Who is anyone? To insinuate that a convincing leading man is one thing, and one thing only, is insulting to me personally, as someone who’s adored all kinds of actors in their roles—up to and including Jonathan Groff.
And hey. If Setoodeh is so put off by Groff in Glee, that leaves more of him for the rest of us girls. And boys. And whoever else is open-minded enough to value a performance as a performance, and a person as a person.