I guess minorities have always been a joke before they can be taken as... well... real. Looking back at old movies: black or asian characters were comic relief. I notice the same with gay characters. Fruity characters mince across the screen keeping up the common myth that queer men are silly, frivolous creatures who are not too smart and are ready to jump any man alive. Lesbians are hard, man hating, bitches. But is it necessary to bring about change. Are the non-gay population more comfortable with gay characters who are "obvious" and "flamboyant" gay? Does it make het people more secure that it is safe to watch the homos, so long as you know that is what they are?
The supercilious Jack on Will and Grace has made way for a more serious Kurt of Glee, or kick ass of Barca in Spartacus? Suddenly "funny" has made way to a more realistic look at a lifestyle that people may or may not agree with. My question, does the comedic idiot have to come before we can really see the human side of minorities? I guess Iam wondering if it the way tv tests the boundaries, or if that is truly the way acceptance is gained.