“Sean Saves the World” is one of NBC’s newest sitcoms, following the life of Sean, a divorced gay father who must balance his hectic work life with the demands that come with raising a teenage daughter and having an overbearing mother. Starring “Will & Grace” actor Sean Hayes and Broadway stars Linda Lavin and Megan Hilty (does anyone remember “Smash”?), “Sean Saves the World” does little to save NBC’s poor sitcom line-up this year. Rather than captivating audiences with its upbeat cast, the show ultimately deprives its viewers from its true potential by relying too heavily on Sean’s sexual orientation to get small, insignificant laughs.
Perhaps the most aggravating aspect “Sean Saves the World” is how one dimensional and stereotypical the characters are made to be. For a show that premiered in 2013, the lack of diversity and originality in these characters is not only alarming but also highly offensive. One would like to think that actors and actresses in today’s age are evolving and moving away from playing restrictive roles that only allow them to play standardized or conventional people. However “Sean Saves the World” proves that TV has not evolved as much as we had hoped.
There’s Ellie, Sean’s daughter, who is a typical teenage girl with lots of predictable adolescent drama (tune into episode 2 if you wish; Sean and his daughter battle the hurdles of bra shopping). There’s Liz, Sean’s best friend, played by Megan Hilty, who is heavily sexualized and “dumbed-down” with her blonde hair and large breasts (which become a source of cheap humour on the show) along with her seemingly low IQ and a tendency to make comments about her previous sexual encounters. There’s Hunter, Sean’s co-worker, who is the only Black character in the show who is often the punch line of poorly written, stereotypical jokes.
Reliance on “Gay”
And then there’s Sean, who is gay and the show refuses to let us forget about it. While I would argue that Sean’s character breaks free from the “stereotypical gay male” role often shown on TV, I would also argue that one of the show’s main downfalls is its dependence on Sean’s gayness to produce humorous content. Especially with Sean’s character seeming to be different from Hollywood’s depiction of the typical homosexual man, the jokes about him being gay occur enough to seem repetitive but spontaneously enough to appear out of the blue and ultimately, clashing with the already poorly written comedy of the show.
Overall, if you’re looking for an easy laugh and you’re willing to ignore the simplification of characters and the recurring emphasis that Sean is, in fact, a gay man, then I would recommend watching “Sean Saves the World”. Otherwise, I would suggest tuning into something that puts a little bit more effort into breaking free of stereotypical roles that are holding the television industry back.