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The Fosters pushed so many buttons with a kissing scene between two boys and I wonder where it will go from there. Not that there was anything new in the negative reactions that appeared after this episode aired, they were already out there.

I have to say that ABC as a corporate entity has grown up considerably in the past twenty years. Even now it takes courage to sponsor a show with gay characters and not fall into presenting stereotypes like many shows in the past. Perhaps we are over the Will & Grace era.

The Fosters seems to include so many points to ponder: two women in a multi-ethnic relationship, the adoption of young foster children, teen children with emotional issues, and now a budding gay situation. A real cornucopia of plot ideas and angles for the characters to portray, if only the producers keep the excesses reigned in.

Twenty-some years ago this was not the case with the ABC television series My So Called Life.

A light drama about teenage angst, it failed because the network suddenly confronted the harsh reality of gay characters evolving into serious situations in the script. After twenty episodes ABC pulled the plug to the howls of indignation by the young and old fans of the series.

Of the handful of young stars in the show only a few went on to further their careers. Clare Danes and Jared Leto moved on to films quite successfully. (Danes receiving a Golden Globe for her performance in My So Called Life and just recently Leto taking an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club).

But what of Wilson Cruz, the young gay character in the series that fostered all the controversy? As a gay man he has gone on to perform at many levels in film and television leaving behind the sad legacy of his first television series role. Not his fault, blame ABC, at least his fans do.

We are all familiar with the concept of an ideal before it's time and My So Called Life was just that. The final image from that series was a battered gay boy having been tossed out by his family and being nurtured by a gay teacher and his partner. We can accept that now, it's real enough to make the grade in our minds.

My So Called Life is available on HULU for those who want a glimpse. I would recommend it if only for a good look at the smolderingly handsome visage of a young Jared Leto. Clare Danes was not the only one who had a crush on that character.

The Fosters seems to be leading the way into the future of gay characters on television and I hope they are up to the task of creating a legacy for other shows with LGBT characters. No matter that there are hate groups out there who condemn anything gay positive, we are here to stay…and it gets better every year.

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While I've enjoyed The Fosters, it doesn't come close to My So Called Life in writing, acting, casting, direction or viewing impact. That show was phenomenal. It showed the lives if marginalized teens, and showed them in unforgettable ways. The Christmas episode with resonates with me.

The acting, with a bunch of kids, was simply exceptional. It was easy to believe you were seeing reality, and you came to care deeply. The Cruz character was exceptional; so were several of the girls whose lives were shit. You wanted so badly for things to improve for them. The writing stayed true to life, however, meaning that was the exception rather than the rule.

Yes, there was a hue and cry when the show got canceled, and the volume and persistence of that noise is well-remembered. Anyone wanting to see the dark side of teens in America should take advantage of the show being recycled, and expect to be shocked and emotionally moved in ways that rarely happen on TV.


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