Work It actors are now not working — ABC has canceled the controversial cross-dressing “comedy” after just two episodes. It appears bad ratings, not transphobia, led to the decision.
EW reports “the Tuesday night comedy debuted to a 2.0 rating in the adult demo last week, then dropped 20 percent this week to a 1.6 — down 27 percent from its lead in, Last Man Standing.”
Hey, look at that: Sometimes controversy doesn’t generate ratings.
Work It featured two long-time unemployed straight men dressing and posing as women in order to acquire jobs in an increasingly female-dominated sales world. The premise reeked of anti-transgender attitudes, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Human Rights Campaign, which took out an ad in Variety disparaging the show as transphobic.
But for anyone who watched the show, one thing was clear from the start: It wasn’t so much offensive as it was painfully, astoundingly, horrifically, unabashedly not funny. Or, what’s more commonly known in science textbooks as The Seinfeld Corollary (yada yada):
Father: And this offends you as a Jewish person.
Jerry: No, it offends me as a comedian.
Transphobia is very real (and very under-reported). Anti-gay comedy is very real (just ask Tracy Morgan about his summer). But this? This was much ado about nothing.
How can this be considered transphobic yet so many other shows not? How about Bosom Buddies, The Birdcage, Mrs. Doubtfire, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Big Momma’s House, White Chicks, The Nutty Professor, Tyler Perry’s nonsense, and so many other cross-dressing comedies? This show did nothing different. There were no mean-spirited jokes. Heck, there were barely any jokes at all. So why single out this show? What did it do to deserve the heaps of scorn?
In the meantime, if you want to see what transphobia looks like, look to this conservative, reactionary branch of the girl scouts, not the airwaves.
Did you watch it? Did you think it was offensive? Or just plain not funny?