Success! ABC Cancels Trans-Insensitive ‘Work It’
ABC has announced it has pulled the plug on highly controversial and poorly rating show Work It, a sitcom about two men who dress up as women in order to get a job and then must keep up the pretense while navigating the trials and tribulations of daily office life.
The network has pulled the critically panned cross-dressing comedy — a project only ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee seemed to love — after two episodes. Repeats of Tim Allen’s freshman comedy Last Man Standing will air in its place beginning Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.
Work It premiered lower than its canceled predecessor, Man Up, on Jan 3, drawing a 2.0 in the key adults 18-49 demographic and luring 6.1 million viewers. Its second airing tumbled 20 percent, dropping to a 1.6 in the demo and 5.1 million viewers.
The show, widely panned as terminally unfunny by TV critics, drew the ire of LGBT rights groups and many in the trans community over its reliance on gender binary stereotypes that, even though the show did not in fact have any trans characters or make specific reference to the trans community, might easily serve to reinforce negative ideas about trans women.
GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign were particularly critical of the show, taking out a full page ad in Variety that urged ABC not to air the sitcom. The ad noted concerns that “by encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters’ attempts at womanhood, the show gives license to similar treatment of transgender women.”
ABC execs had defended the show as being harmless but did eventually agree to meet with LGBT rights groups to hear their concerns.
The subsequent demise of the show has been welcomed by GLAAD.
“While many of ABC’s positive and groundbreaking portrayals of LGBT people have been critical and popular successes, the public had little interest in this outdated show,” said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs and Communications at GLAAD. “As a result of this campaign, an important dialogue has been started in Hollywood and mainstream media about the real discrimination faced by transgender people today.”
Thank you to all those who took action and helped raise awareness.
Image taken form show's trailer, no infringement intended.