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A bumpy, but progressive ride of queer programming

S. David Ramirez, staff reporter

Two new television shows focus on the LGBTQIA community this spring while one “Post-Gay” show makes an exit.

“Chozen” and “Looking” keep the lens focused on gay characters. The approach of each property is drastically different, but it is nice to see regardless.

“Chozen,” starring Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), is an animated series telling the story of the titular recently-paroled rapper attempting to re-establish himself after years in prison. The humorous core of the show plays off the running gag of  Chozen “becoming gay” after being incarcerated. The very premise seems offensive on multiple levels, but that is to be expected from the same people who produce the animated spy series “Archer.”

Offensive portrayals aside, the series has a serious devotion to music. The rhymes and beats are fantastic, incorporating the best modern elements of hip-hop and dubstep. The personalities are over-the-top. The writers obviously took cues from rap personalities such as Kanye West and Jay Z.

The series seems designed to drag audience members through various stages of uncomfortableness.  Whether describing graphic sex acts or alluding to “Greco-Roman” love, “Chozen” seems to have a cringe-worthy joke for everyone.

The show airs Mondays on the FX network and has gained a fair viewership.  As it enters into its fourth episode, viewers will have to decide whether the cartoon is a flash-in-the-pan or a property worthy of extension.

“Looking” is a dramedy, set in contemporary San Francisco, starring Jonathan Groff (“Glee,” “C.O.D.”), Frankie J. Álvarez (“Smash”) and Murray Bartlett (“Guiding Light”).

The HBO series focuses on the lives of three friends as they navigate the post-college 20/30-something-year-old hipster experience.  Issues of dating, race and monogamy all weigh heavily on the show, but the chemistry and humor between actors offsets the sometimes depressing motifs present underneath.

The producers seem to have really tried to incorporate the San Francisco gay scene into the show.  There are shots of queer hotspots, including the Castro district, which give clout to the show.

The series recently came under scrutiny by the blogosphere for the inaccurate portrayal of gay sex.  But knowing HBO, there will be plenty of gratuitous male nudity as the series progresses.

Groff steals the spotlight as the socially awkward game designer trying to get a grasp on the dating scene. His innocence and romantic ineptitude is certainly lighter fare than the other characters dealing with polyamory and past betrayal, though the show is pointing towards something wicked coming for him.

“Looking” airs on HBO on Sunday evenings.

Along with much of the gay community, I had high hopes for the series “Sean Saves the World.”  Ever since Will and Grace smashed down walls, Sean Hayes has been a queer icon. His new show was supposed to be a post W&G revival of his career. But the humor was lackluster and his supporting cast of characters didn’t really seem to click.

Personally, I think the aging Hayes didn’t have the presence to prop up the show by himself.

“Sean Saves the World” is currently on hiatus. The show has already been cancelled by NBC, though no announcements have been made about whether the final few episodes will air.

S. David Ramirez may be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @dave_prospy.

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A bumpy, but progressive ride of queer programming