Another Academy Awards ceremony, another round of controversy over things that were said or done during and after the broadcast. Neil Patrick Harris is getting grief for his joke about Edward Snowden. Patricia Arquette, who received resounding support (including a "Yaaaaasssssssssss" from Meryl Streep) when she brought up the need for equal pay during her acceptance speech, later muddied her message when she tried to expand on her remarks in the press room. Apparently, you just can't win at the Oscars, even if you actually won an Oscar. Still, with all the umbrage taken over things that happened at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, two other shows that aired opposite the Oscars managed to top them, controversy-wise.
Girls first broached the topic of abortion back in its first season. In the pilot, Hannah told her parents about a friend of hers who'd had two abortions that summer, and raged that "no one came with her!" A few episodes later, Jessa asked her friends to come to her abortion appointment, but she didn't even bother showing up (or letting them know that she wouldn't be going) after she got her period. This meant that last night's episode marked the first time a character on Girls went through with an abortion, and it was also the first time the show offered a male perspective on his partner having one. Adam and Mimi-Rose Howard had just moved in together, and everything appeared to be coming up — wait for it — roses. He made breakfast for her so they could dine al fresco. Mimi-Rose pointed out how well their book collections merged, just to demonstrate to viewers how visually and textually simpatico they were. Then, Adam asked her to go running. She haphazardly fired off the remark, "I can't go for a run because I had an abortion yesterday," and Adam balked. "I didn't want to talk about it beforehand; I just wanted to do it, but I haven't shared with boyfriends in the past, and I'm trying to be more open with you," she said about her decision to notify him after the fact. He demanded to know if it had been his (it was) and if it was a boy or girl. "It was a ball of cells. It was smaller than a seed pearl. It didn't have a penis or a vagina," Mimi-Rose pointed out. Adam was still beside himself. "Isn't this a decision that people typically make together?" he asked. "I don't undrestand how you could do something like that without talking to me first. It's evil." "You're right; you don't understand," Mimi-Rose calmly responded. This is a character who isn't going to apologize for her decision to have an abortion. Instead, this storyline opened up a dialogue about a woman's choice to omit her partner from a decision she'd already made. Mimi-Rose knew she didn't want a baby, and she didn't think she needed to let Adam know before she took action. He begged to differ. From Adam's point of view, Mimi-Rose had lied to him by omission. "I didn't lie to you, I just waited to share information until it was too late for you to chime in," Mimi-Rose told Adam. It's a new experience for him, being in a relationship where the other person doesn't depend on him and need him. Mimi-Rose pointed out that she wants to be with him; she doesn't need to be. It's an entirely different dynamic than the one he and Hannah shared. The abortion was the embodiment of their relationship balance. In the next scene, we see Adam and Mimi-Rose waking up together, insinuating that they've reconciled. He carefully tucked a blanket around her, one of the reasons she listed for wanting him in her life. Where their relationship will go from there remains to be seen, but kudos to Girls for portraying an abortion storyline in a real-life context.
The Walking Dead also stirred up controversy last night when it aired the series' first-ever kiss between two men. The show's first openly gay male character, Aaron, was introduced last week, and last night we met his boyfriend, Eric. The two were reunited after some time apart — which of course is even more perilous in the world of TWD, where an absentee loved one is forever at risk of becoming a zombie's dinner — and shared a sweet kiss. Sounds lovely, right? Not for many homophobic Walking Dead fans, who took to Twitter to voice their outrage over the show featuring a gay kiss. "[G]ay guys on walking dead just made the show value go down," @AA_2105 tweeted. "The Walking Dead killed off Tyreese to insert a gay couple....... smh..." wrote @BigJoeHep. "Had to go and put fags in the walking dead...... damn.......just damn," @Hibow88 said. Despite the negative outcry, the Aaron and Eric kiss received a lot of support from fans who A) already knew it happened from the comic book, and B) support the characters. "After the introduction of a gay couple on walking dead, the Twitter hashtag reminds me how real homophobia still is #WalkingDead #homophobia," @MelissaSteinkam tweeted. So yeah, the Oscars weren't the most controversial show that aired on TV last night. Watching them may have been the right choice, though, if you didn't want your head to explode.