Photo Courtesy of Lifetime Television
Last night the team at Drop Dead Diva once again tackled a sensitive issue with humor and grace. In the episode “Prom” they took the story of Mississippi teen Constance McMillen straight from the headlines. The courageous young woman is known for suing her high school after they barred her from going to the prom with her girlfriend. And the Diva episode in her honor attracted a slew of high profile guest stars including Wanda Sykes, Amanda Bearse, Lance Bass and Clay Aiken. In a recent conference call interview, Aiken talked about why he wanted to be a part of the show.
The former American Idol contestant explained why he signed on to Drop Dead Diva’s “Prom” episode, “Let me put it this way, simply because the storyline is something… that resonated with me… Being a part of this episode was exciting for me.”
In addition Aiken said he believes that beyond this episode, the show is truly unique to television. “The message of the show is different than anything that's on TV. It really tells a story that resonates with so many people. It talks about the importance of how image should not be as important as often times we make it in society. And it does that while being really funny, so it's not preachy at all. It gives a really positive message without preaching, and that’s really hard to find on TV.”
The crooner continued, “You find shows that don’t give a message at all or they do have a message and they preach to you so much that you don’t really want to watch them. And this show has a great premise and a very positive message and you don’t feel preached to. You're entertained and you laugh the entire time.”
Clay said he hoped that people learned something from last night’s Diva episode. He acknowledged, “The very obvious lesson from this particular show, from the script itself, is that there are teenagers, they're children, I have to call them children… [There are] teenagers and young people in this county who are being persecuted against, who are being discriminated against for things as silly as who they wanna go to a prom with, who they want to go to a dance with. This isn’t anything salacious. It isn’t anything inappropriate. They just want to go to a dance with their girlfriend or their boyfriend, whoever they are.”
He continued, “That's the lesson on the surface and I think that's hopefully what people will take away from it is look at the arguments that are being made. That allowing this girl to go with her girlfriend to a prom is in violation of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the best argument I think they could find, and it's pretty preposterous. So I think that that's the message on the surface.”
Aiken was happy to be one of several stars who appeared on the show. He remarked, “What the show hopes to do and what the producer wanted to do when they cast myself and Amanda Bearse, Wanda Sykes, Lance Bass in the show. I think their goal was also to have an underlying message for teenagers who are gay and maybe being bullied right now, which was to take a look at the fact that this is a small subsection of folks in this county who are in high profile positions in the limelight.”
He acknowledged that the group represented a beacon of hope for young people who are struggling. “Look at how we've had an opportunity to be successful — myself, Lance, Wanda, Amanda in our different ways. An underlying message that the producers hope to get across to these young people who may be watching or to these people who are gay or may not be comfortable with themselves right yet, was to see that there are people who are gay and lesbian who are living happy productive lives being very comfortable with ourselves.”
He summed it all up saying, “There are two things that can be taken from it. One, for an audience that may be gay and may be struggling with it or who may be gay and may be being bullied. And another for a larger audience that just needs to see that there's discrimination being perpetrated, if you will, against kids for some of the silliest reasons that they can dream up.”
If you missed last night’s episode you can check it out on MyLifetime.com and catch the series when it airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. Central on Lifetime.
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