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‘L.A. Law’ Lesbian Kiss Hailed By Gay Rights Group

February 9, 1991

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Gay activists said Friday a kiss between two women lawyers on this week’s episode of ″L.A. Law″ may have been the first lesbian kiss broadcast on commercial network television.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation hailed NBC, saying the ″historic smooch makes attorney C.J. Lamb ... the only recurring gay or bisexual female character currently on television.″

ABC’s ″thirtysomething″ has two gay male characters who appear infrequently. CBS’ ″Doctor, Doctor″ comedy series, now on hiatus, had an openly gay male supporting character.

Some advertisers boycott ″thirtysomething″ each time the gay characters appear. ″Doctor, Doctor″ never experienced advertising boycotts.

NBC spokeswoman Sue Binford said the network didn’t know if the Thursday night show’s lesbian kiss was a first. Some advertisers yanked their commercials, she said, but audience response was ″really mild.″

Of about 85 viewer calls to NBC, slightly more than half were negative, Binford said. The advertisers who withdrew their spots were immediately replaced and the network didn’t lose any money, Binford said.

Such defections, she added, occur regularly on ″L.A. Law,″ a series known for consistently breaking the boundaries of traditional television.

The kiss, which lasted only a few seconds, came when C.J. made a pass at character Abby Perkins as they hugged after an office maneuver that upped Abby’s income.

Later in the show, Abby told C.J., ″I like men.″

″L.A. Law,″ which won last year’s Emmy for best dramatic series, has broken TV taboos in each of its five seasons on the air. In one episode last year, a lead character audibly passed gas. In another segment, a guest character with Tourette’s Syndrome sputtered racial epithets on the witness stand.

In December, GLAD launched a high-profile campaign to embarrass NBC for rescheduling an episode of ″Lifestories″ that dealt with AIDS.

Since then, GLAD members and NBC executives have met to discuss the depiction of gays and lesbians in the network’s programs.

Also Friday, GLAD said it would protest a kiss between two men shown earlier Thursday on NBC’s hit comedy series ″Cheers.″

In that scene, womanizing bartender Sam (played by Ted Danson), kissed another man to try to convince Rebecca (played by Kirstie Alley), that he was not interested in her.

The exchange ended with the other man slugging Sam.

″We were very disappointed at the idea that there can’t be affection between two men without it being followed by violence,″ Jennings said.

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