This week on Secret Life of the American Teenager, the World’s BestAdjusted Gay Teenager (Brando Eaton) gets set up on a blind date with a another not so well adjusted, in fact closeted, gay teen. It has all the hallmarks of being a”Very Special Episode.” But it has a twist. A twist that made me misty-eyed.
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Griffin’s friend Grace arranges for him to meet a tall young man named Peter. When it is clear to Peter that Griffin was being pimped as his date, he gets a look of terror as if he’s just shownup to school in his underpants.
Don’t take up poker, Peter.
Self-aware Griffin comes to the rescue, “He’swondering where his date is.” Peter says he isn’t gay, Grace stutters, Griffinsmooths things over, and insists they all have dinner anyway.
After dinner and once they’re alone, Peter comes out to Griffin and thanks him for “not saying anything.”Griffin, ever smooth, says he doesn’t know anything.
Peter gets closer, andadmits he’s recognizes Griffin from Thursday gay night at a club. Seriously, where is this suburban town with high school clubs with gay nights?
If you recall, Griffin related his coming out in a car parked outside last season. It’s his thing.
Peter relates a terrified tale of not being able to be out because of his father.Griffin is supportive, and smoothly hands him a business card (seriously, froma high school student?) and tells him if he’s ready to be out, call him. Their scene ends with Peter wondering how Grace knew he was gay. That’s what passes for subtleforeshadowing on this show.
If Peter’s dad is any indication, we have a future otter on our hands.
Once home, Peter’s father comes to his room and asks him howthe evening went. Peter gives a typical teenage non-answer, and dad almostleaves. Then dad says “Are you going to be going out with him again?”
Cueterrified look on Peter’s face again.
The father continues. “Didyou like this guy that Grace introduced you to? Because your mom and I justwant you to be happy, and if dating guys makes you happy, that’s fine with us.We don’t want you to feel like you have anything to hide from us.”
The speech itself is nearly worthy of Glee’s Burt Hummel.
“My mom outed me?” has to be one of the greatestconversational openers to a phone call in television history. And I completelyunderstand his mortification – outing your closeted son to his church mate ranks right up there with showing your friends pictures of you as a toddler during bath time.
Grace looks pleased her scheme had a happy ending. Did she call Peter’s mom after he left?
Is the episode perfect? Not really. Griffin didn’t even geta kiss. This seems like a serious double standard considering half the characters one the show are unwed teen parents, and oralsex was a fad for a while.
Also, there’s no indication that Peter will reappear in afuture episode (I can’t even find the actor’s name, or his dad’s actor’s name).
Still, it was a nice twist on a “coming out to mom and dad” story –the character thinking he’s in the closet but all the while his parents know and are maneuvering to fix him up with somebody. And dad’s speech was pitchperfect, from the words and wishes, to the halting delivering turning into a gush. As I said, it had me misty-eyed.
I didn’t buy Peter’s muted reaction to the speech, but I’m glad they didn’t go theobvious route and have his religious parents kick him out of the house.