Celebrities / Culture / Entertainment

Sean could not save Sean Saves the World

PHOTO CREDIT: NBC.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: NBC.COM

NBC will not continue to produce Sean Saves the World.

Before Sean Saves the World aired, I doubted. I didn’t doubt there would be some funny lines and perhaps even a bit of chortle-worthy slapstick given Sean Hayes’s comedic talent, but I doubted the impact the show would have. In interviews preceding the premier, Sean Hayes assured us Sean Saves the World would do for gay parents what Will & Grace did for gays. A good script, great cast and funny lines would normalize gay parenting even if the show never really tackled any of the topics same-sex parents face.

In Sean Saves the World, Sean is a gay man whose ex-wife leaves their 14-year-old daughter Ellie, played by Samantha Isler, with him after she decides to pursue a job in another state. So, Ellie has a mom and a dad. She spent her formative years growing up with her straight mother. Sean does not have a partner. He dates very occasionally but does not share parenting responsibilities with another man. And, Sean’s mother Lorna, played by Linda Lavin, acts as a mother figure to both Sean and Ellie. Already, the gay dad thing is watered down substantially – more like waterboarded.

It’s a show that intentionally did not allow viewers to think about the struggles or hardships of gay parenting. It’s a show that, in the words of cast member Thomas Lennon, “doesn’t make me think at all,” and that’s what he liked about it because it was simply good fun. The question is, does a show that doesn’t make us think move opinions forward just because the main character is a gay dad?

The show did have some great things going for it. The writing is clever and the cast is funny. It may not have been side-splittingly funny, but I’d titter a few times in any given episode. I don’t titter easily. I adore Linda Lavin, and she does not disappoint, and Thomas Lennon is perfectly cast as the weird, bad-guy boss.

My favorite episode was Sean the Fabulous. Ellie comes home from school with news about the annual fundraiser for the art program at school. “School stuff was Mom’s thing. You don’t have to get involved,” she tells Dad. Sean sees the fundraiser as the perfect opportunity to become more involved in Ellie’s life.

Sean thinks he’s a shoe-in for Fundraiser Designer given that he designs for a living for an online retailer. He doesn’t anticipate that experience is not as important as sucking up to fag-hag and parental liaison to the art committee, Susan. Sean has to “fly closer to the rainbow” than usual to get the job and practically kills himself living up to her idea of fabulous. He eventually stops acting the part of Ssssssyuper Gay, and Susan fires him.

PHOTO CREDIT: NBC.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: NBC.COM

His mother Lorna admits that she too always wanted a gay son who could play the part when she tries to force him to play fashion stylist for her upcoming school reunion. In the end, we learn that not every gay fulfills our fabulous stereotypes. If the writers had been able to address gay parenting topics with the same humor and fun as it did gay stereotypes, we may have had a winner.

I wasn’t convinced the show would be the Will & Grace of gay parenting, but I kept coming back. It grew on me, and now it’s ending. I have to say, I’m a little sad. I think it had potential, and the network didn’t give it a chance to develop. Also, we won’t get to see the stars slated to make guest appearances like Portia de Rossi as Sean’s ex-wife or Guy Pearce as Sean’s potential love interest or Megan Mullally as I don’t know what, but who cares – it’s Megan Mullally!

It could be that I will mourn the existence of a gay dad on a sitcom more than I will mourn this particular show. Please let’s see some more!

Did anyone else watch Sean Saves the World? Will anyone miss it?

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