Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Neil Patrick Harris: "Too Accepted"?

In the following post, the writer questions if openly gay "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris is too "accepted" by the heterosexual community:

"Plus he sings and dances and is good with little ones! So yeah, all around a pretty down to earth, un-swishy, monogamous, famous geigh dude who can party with the bros. He's a homo hero! Except, I dunno, for me? Something just doesn't feel quite right."

So Harris is not "gay" enough? C'mon. He's just a person. He plays an ultra-heterosexual character convincingly, and this is a liability? It shows that a good actor can play a character with any sexual orientation. It puts a lie to the old Hollywood excuse of, "oh, this openly gay person can't play a straight romantic interest because nobody would believe it." It gives one less reason to maintain the "Celluloid Closet," one less reason for some actresses and actors to live a lie. And I think living a lie because you are afraid of not getting work (or acceptance) is tragic.

I see this "not BLANK enough" label being put on many successful people for many reasons. I think it's stupid. I think people should be judged on their own merits. It is so convenient to see people not as individuals, but a representatives of a larger mass.

That said -- it would be nice if there were more great homosexual roles out there for actors to play -- starring roles, non-cliche roles. In comedies, dramas, horror movies, sci-fi, TV shows, movies. Maybe that is what the author of that post was getting at, as well. That is a valid concern.

And there is also the idea that "being accepted" shouldn't be a goal. When Harris is quoted on the "Out" magazine cover as saying "My job is jester, not advocate...I'm striving to be an example of normalcy," it can be interpreted by some as him "wanting" to be "normal" -- whatever "normal" is defined as. And a critic might suggest that he is defining "normal" as something more along the lines of heterosexual culture.

As the author of the original post writes:

"If he really does want to chill on motorcycles and swill beer and make a living talking about poontang, then fine. But let's not congratulate him so effusively for it."

That said, I still like Neil Patrick Harris a great deal as an actor. And he was the voice of The Flash in the New Frontier cartoon<-----showing off my geek cred.


  1. Persoally I thing that whenever someone or something achieves a certain amount of success, people WILL try to put a dent in it.
    And if there is nothing obvious to pick on, they will just go and say "oh, he's too perfect".

    Am I beeing cynical? Perhaps.

    That does'n mean than, although it has a near INFINITE potential for GOOD, the human beeing doesn't have an EQUAL APTITUDE for BEEING AN A$$#0£E.

  2. When I read the article, I just assumed that the author was being I'm not so sure.

    NPH is awesome and deserves any and all recognition he gets (hello...Dr. Horrible, anyone?). I agree with you that he's a shining example of how actors and actresses can (and should) play characters whose sexuality is different from their own. The idea that anyone should have to pretend to be something they aren't just to be allowed to make a living is really depressing.

  3. I absolutely love NPH. He makes everything he touches gold as of late, and that fact that he's "one of us" just makes him even awesomer.

    Seriously, just cause he's masculine doesn't mean he's not gay enough. The fact is he CAME OUT, which most celebrities who are "way gayer" than him seem to have a hard time doing, so in my book he's a-ok.

  4. I'm just bummed that everyone knows! For years "How I Met Your Mother" has been my little secret...

  5. Not just yours, Mordicai. Not just yours.

  6. ive watched HIMYM since day one, thanks.

    funniest sitcom on tv (actually only funny sitcom on tv)

  7. Let us not forget that NPH is an actor trying to earn a living as one. He is not the kind of actor who can pick an choose his roles like a Julia Roberts or Tom Cruise. If NPH picks and chooses too much, there won't be roles to pick and choose from.It's not like he can tell his agent "only gay roles for me from now on!"

    But he has done well in recent years picking good roles for himself in vehicles that can raise his profile. It just so happens that they are heterosexual roles. But he got the roles because he is a great actor.

    And yes, he should be congratulated for this. He is getting roles based purely on his talent and his sexual persuasion does not play into it. Isn't this what every human being wants? To be judged not on their sexual preference, race, gender or religion and instead on the basis of their talent?


  9. Straight, gay, swishy, butch...who cares! NPH is talented; Harold and Kumar, Dr. Horrible. I don't think Barney was intended to be the main on HIMYM but the handful of episodes I've seen he steals the show.

    Very soon none of this will matter, gender, identity and meat space are all becoming very fluid. The NY Times has an interesting OpEd about gender and the Olympics:
    XY Games

  10. NPH is awesome. He's also a bright spot in the otherwise rather pedestrian Undercover Brother (he and Dave Chappelle were much funnier in that movie than Eddie Griffin).

    After years of being told "you're not black enough," I just shrug off these comments as someone's basic ignorance and go about my day.

  11. A certain percentage of the gay community like their men butch.

    NPH? Yummy.

    Openly gay man playing heterosexual oversexed horndog on network television? Impossible a decade ago. Progress!

    Sentence fragments!

  12. Anonymous11:56 PM

    This is just asinine. If you're gay you can't ride motorcycles or drink beer? Would it be better if NPH was swishy and drank wine coolers and rode around on a ... a... I dunno, some sort of unmanly vehicle. A scooter?

    The whole thing just reeks of envy. Just cause NPH is gay doesn't mean he has to act and only perform in gay stereotypes. He's an actor, he should be free to play whatever roles he wants, and as an individual human being be able to live his life as he wants. Yes, even if that means being gay and drinking beer.

    And damn, the guy is awesome. Harold and Kumar? New Frontier? Dr Horrible? NPH rocks!

  13. To sort of fairly put that post in context, I've been reading Richard's writing since he was a prolific anonymous Gawker commenter, and part of his M.O. (along with most everyone over there) is to pick some flavor of adversarial persona and say things to elicit a "oh come on, lay off" response. The post is definitely tongue-in-cheek--he may genuinely have a few of those opinions about NPH, but I'd take it with a moderately-sized grain of salt.

  14. Hey, actually a gay man was playing an oversexed hetero horndog on network TV a decade ago. Dan Butler as Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe on Frasier. He was a recurring character the first few years, then became a regular castmember for about three.

    I've never watched this sitcom, but I'm sure ol' Neil Patrick Harris is just dandy in it. He seems like a pretty cool guy. I don't understand this stuff about a person having to be exactly like the role they play. This seems like a case of "damned if ya do, damned if ya don't."

    The guy's happy, out, visible and successful. Why can't we all- gay or straight- just enjoy him while he's here?

  15. Don't forget that Amanda Bearce played a hot little sexpot in "Married With Children." She was excellent in that series.

  16. I think the problem is that NHP is one of those very few celebrities whose coming out wasn't a big media circus, and who has never put a big spin on it. He's an actor, who happens to be gay, and not a gay actor, and that, I think, make some people uncomfortable, because apparently, if you're gay, that has to be the main motivation in your whole professional career. (See also: Lance Bass, who enraged the community when, after coming out, he said that he wasn't 'gay acting', and that he didn't want to become a gay activist)
    Me? I hated NPH in Doogie Howser, but now I love him in everything he does, and I hope he keeps acting for a long, long time. Even in horrible series like Dr. Horrible. I just want to see him act (and sing. and smile) He can sleep with whomever he wants.

  17. Re: Dr. Horrible & Women:

    The fact that the two guy characters were both too self-centered to comprehend a woman on her own terms was kind of the point of the story.

  18. I'm jumping on the NPH is awesome bandwagon here. He's the reason I started watching HIMYM and the reason I went to see Harold and Kumar, not to mention he was the bomb in Starship Troopers. I think part of the problem is that there seems to be a contingent of homosexuals out there who talk in very broad terms about "the gay identity," and if you don't fit the mold of someone like, say, Greg Kinnear in As Good As It Gets, then you can't really be gay. For some reason, they want to believe there's more to the "identity" than fucking dudes.

  19. This is no different than people saying Barack Obama "isn't black enough".