Public Relations; Math


Walshe, Rachel

Advisor Department





diversity; LGBT; television; script; writing; comedy


Television is accessible to millions from the comfort of their own homes and shapes the way we view the world. It has the power to bring people together, but often presents diversity with a strong emphasis on labels. Characters are defined by the one trait that, to the majority of viewers, is unrelatable. This maintains the separation of “us” and “them,” isolating those in the minority. Representation is essential for progress, but it’s more than just including diversity. Instead of dwelling on differences and indulging in stereotypes, characters should all treat each other equally.

The focal TV show of this project, Happy Endings, did this well. The fact that Max was gay and Brad & Jane were an interracial couple was not made into a spectacle because it was a normal part of their lives and was treated as such. Normalization is the key. TV must express that although we have different backgrounds or lifestyles, we are all people beyond these labels. As a writer, an actor, and a gay man, I want to create and work on stories like these that unify people and look beyond their differences.

In pursuit of this, I wrote a spec script. In Hollywood, budding writers draft their own episodes of pre-existing shows to give samples of their work to employers. Spec scripts demonstrate one’s writing style while showing the ability to adapt to the style of an existing piece, presenting established characters and relationships in accordance with someone else’s vision. For this project, I did research on crafting stories; following continuous action and adhering to characters’ objectives. I read about comedy writing and the sitcom structure and examined the formatting of real television scripts. This was all applied to my own spec script of the series Happy Endings. I cast actors from the theatre department to do a reading of my work so I could present the script in full last fall. Following the reading, I looked into what steps can be taken to build my portfolio and share my work to continue my pursuit as a writer.