My new obsession: The Wendy Williams Show

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

For the past week or so, I’ve spent every night watching Tivo’d episodes of The Wendy Williams Show. It’s been my new secret obsession and (yay!) I just found out that the show has officially been picked up by Fox. (Hat tip to Stereohyped.)

I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about the show that I like so much, and last night it finally dawned on me that there are two factors that are particularly appealing.

First, it’s the first TV talk show I’ve ever seen that captures the authentic essence of social media. Wendy makes no pretense that she’s a TV pro. When she’s not picking synthetic wig hairs off her outfit, she’s barely holding back her belches. When she’s not asking the producer how much time there’s left in the segment, she’s messing up the pronunciation of people’s names. And just like here at Racialicious, comments from her viewers are an integral and seamless part of the show’s content.

Second, it’s so refreshing how her show completely normalizes queerness among people of color. So many of her audience members, mostly black and Latino, are casually open about their sexuality. Plus when she had Margaret Cho on the show, they actually touched on trans issues.

At a time when other prominent TV personalities *coughTyracough* only include gay people in the most stereotypical or exploitative situations (drag queen pageants! down low homothugs! Mr. and Mrs. Jay!), and mainstream media pretends that all African-Americans are vehemently homophobic, there’s something quietly subversive about demonstrating that gay people of color are just a fact of life, and no big deal.

Have any of you been following the show? What do you think?