|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
There are some shows that make it apparent that "queers ain't welcome around these parts", while other shows that scream "Gay is O.K.". And then there are shows with this trope.
One is hard-pressed to find a show without at least some example of this trope, especially in comedy, because, after all, Gay jokes are funny.
Not That There's Anything Wrong with That is what happens when homosexuality is painted in a negative light by words or actions from characters just to be portrayed as completely normal. Usually invoked as a weak saving throw and an attempt to prevent losing fans and coming across as a bigot.
This can be played straight as in: "Dude, I always thought you were gay... Not that there's anything wrong with that." or played for laughs when a rather effeminate character proclaims to an obviously straight character "That's kind of gay...Not that there's anything wrong with that."
This trope is used often for laughs by having a male character defend his sexuality while not coming off as homophobic. I.e. "I'm Not Gay!...Not that there's anything wrong with that".
This trope may not apply exclusively to homosexuality. It can be applied to any instance where People Group X are degraded only to have the writer or character make up for their intolerance with a weak defense, often immediately after the remark. Bonus points for also invoking Some of My Best Friends Are X.
It is a frequent joke type found in British Cringe Comedies, where a character digs himself into this situation over the course of a short conversation, usually very efficiently.
Note: For this trope to be in effect the phrase "Not that there's anything wrong with that" doesn't necessarily have to be said.
The opposite of this trope is And That Would Be Wrong, where a character proposes something bad as if it were good, leading to a hasty retraction.
Anime & Manga
- Providing the "almost" exception above: Mai says these exact words to Natsuki in Mai-HiME's Beach Episode after Natsuki denies that anything happened between her and the Kendo Team Captain when they were caught in a compromising position. Natsuki groans and tells Mai that she "doesn't have time for romance".
- Stephen Lynch, a singing stand-up comic, has a song called "If I Were Gay", about two old friends who get drunk, which leads to gay experimentation. The song goes back and forth between saying there's nothing wrong with being gay and refusing the drunken friend's advances.
- Comedian Demetri Martin explores this concept in a bit where he feels the need to add "Not Gay (but supportive!)" to his clothes featuring a rainbow, a well-known LGBT symbol.
Demetri: I think it's unfair that one group just took refracted light. That's pretty greedy, gays!
- Rowan Atkinson has a sketch called "The Gay Christian" that is essentially this trope.
- Lashings of Ginger Beer parody this trope in Are You Sure You're Straight?
- The comic Cable and Deadpool has used this phrase in refrence to Nate and Wade merging their DNA -- a completely non-sexual situation, but considering the relationship between the characters....
- Lampshaded in Ex Machina, where Journal quotes the line after suggesting the public will suspect Mayor Hundred of being gay.
- Yorick from Y: The Last Man remembers to say this even when he's pretty much being tortured. And, you know, the last man on Earth....
- In the Ultimate Spider-Man series, Spider-Man is occasionally accused of being a mutant, to which he always responds, "I'm not a mutant!... Not that there's anything wrong with that."
- Parodied in this Marvel/DC episode.
- Dragon Ball Abridged
Krillin: These aliens are scary. Especially that one in the front. Looks like a total fag.
- Inverted in an episode of Gantz Abridged which involves a gay bully planning to rape a main character, leading to this exchange:
Side character: (paraphrased) You know that guy, Donovan?
- Parodied in an episode of The Randomverse series After Hours, when Wolverine accuses Superman of being an "anti-mutite" because Superman Returns stole the director of the X Men movies. Superman insists he has mutant friends, but when pressed can only name Spider Man:
Spider-Man: (indignantly) Hey, I'm not a mutant! (everyone stares at him, Wolverine with special hostility) ... Not that there's, you know, anything wrong with that...
- Note also that, among other uses, mutants in the Marvel Universe have been frequently used as a metaphor for homosexuality.
Films -- Live-Action
- This is subverted in the movie In and Out, where the protagonist making these protestations discovers he is indeed homosexual.
- Kirk, in the novelization of Star Trek the Motion Picture, says something like this about himself and Spock. Except he is so ambiguous in what he says that it can actually be interpreted as him confirming his gay/bi-ness just as easily. The relevant line is: "As for myself, though I have no moral or other objections to physical love in any of its many earthly, alien and mixed forms, I have always found my best gratification in that creature woman." As many people have pointed out, "best" is a relative term, which would indicate that Kirk has, at some point, had sex with someone who isn't a woman. (See here for a breakdown of the whole quote.)
- In Bend It Like Beckham, when Jules is explaining to her mother that she's not a lesbian, she ends it by saying there's nothing wrong with being a lesbian anyways. Her mother, who is in tears and had just thrown a fit over her "discovery", quickly composes herself and adamantly agrees.
- In the commentary for The Seventh Victim, film historian Steve Haberman discusses the lesbian undertones present in much of the movie, and ends with this trope.
- Minor example from Imagine Me and You:
Heck: [Trying to set her up with his best friend] Anyway, are you married? Been married? Ever going to be married...
- The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin: Reggie's boss CJ drags an employee into his office to ask whether he's gay due to having the face of Beethoven embroidered on his underwear. The employee panics and insists that he's not, then backtracks and says there's nothing wrong and he has many gay friends, then realises what this implies and stutters to a stop. CJ insists that this is absolutely fine, but then suggests that maybe he'd be happier in a more appropriate career, like hairdressing or interior design. After the colleague's continued protests, CJ finally believes that he's straight but points out that his underwear isn't really appropriate for one of his employees. To demonstrate, he asks the resident Flamboyant Gay to remove his trousers and prove what kind of underwear a 'staight man' actually wears. Answer: plain blue.
- The quote in question comes from the Seinfeld episode "The Outing", where Jerry and George are mistaken for gay lovers. The origin of the quote came about because during the writing of the episode, the writers were afraid the script was coming across as homophobic, which was entirely the wrong impression that they wanted to give. Then somebody suddenly said, "well, it's not like there's anything wrong with that," and they realized that was it.
- The Office (American version):
- Michael Scott inadvertently outed Oscar, and later fell directly into the second form of the trope, culminating with him kissing Oscar in front of the entire staff. One of his lines in this episode, said about gay porn, sums this trope up beautifully: "There is nothing wrong with this. I'm not into it myself, but I can definitely see the merit." (An interesting fact about that scene was that Carell actually improvised it- kissing Oscar was not in the script, which made Oscar's incredibly uncomfortable expression even funnier.)
- Roy also has his own one of these moments when he's talking to Pam after his outburst towards Jim. "I just thought you guys were really good friends, or...maybe he was gay or something. [remembers that he is on camera] Not that that's wrong."
- Scott's inspiration, David Brent in the UK version of The Office, also dealt in this trope a great deal. One notable example had him make a mildly homophobic joke to a colleague, trip over himself after suddenly realizing that the colleague might be gay, and end up counseling him with advice on safe gay sex. The colleague wasn't gay, incidentally.
- The phone call between Cordelia and Willow regarding Harmony's odd behaviour in Angel probably counts:
- Willow then lampshades it, sarcastically thanking Cordelia for the affirmation.
- The IT Crowd: Roy doesn't think there's anything wrong with homoerotic sexuality, he just personally doesn't want to be slapped in the face with it.
- Scrubs: Dr.Cox doesn't hate the gays, really.
Dr. Cox: I like their music, I like their sense of style, I especially like what they've done with Halloween.
- The title (priest) character in Father Ted is flustered to realise the man he's talking to has a gay partner but then adds "not that there's anything wrong with that sort of thing" (the writers have confirmed the deliberate Seinfeld homage). The other character responds that he thought the Catholic church thought it was inherently wrong, leading Ted into an embarrassed ramble where he suggests it must be fun to have boyfriends if you're a man ("not the... you know... but the nightclubs and the general rough and tumble of homosexual activity") and that the Pope "says things he doesn't really mean -- sure we all get things wrong. Even the Pope."
- Saturday Night Live had a "Weekend Update" segment where Chris Parnell began a rap song about having a crush on Demi Moore, which quickly morphed into a song about how, if he were bisexual, he'd have sex with Ashton Kutcher. Near the end he interrupted the song to say, "Let me reiterate, I am a heterosexual man, and I'm extremely attracted to Demi Moore, as I have been for 20 years. I am in no way sexually attracted to Ashton Kutcher... BUT IF I WAS..."
"Ashton, I don't roll that way / But if I did, I'd surely eat at your buffet."
- Flight of the Conchords
- "Brett you got it going on -- not in a gay way, just in a hey-mate-I-wanted-to-say-that-you're-looking-okay way!"
- "Why can't a heterosexual guy tell a heterosexual guy that he thinks his booty is fly?"
- An early episode of Friends has Chandler nearly hooking up with another guy via coworker. This was slightly shocking to him, when he learned that most of his friends assumed he was gay.
- A Sex and the City episode also involved Miranda getting set up on a blind date with an actual lesbian woman named Sydney. Although she naturally had to turn her down and explain the situation, they ended up friends. Later in the episode Miranda pretended they were together to get her boss's notice. And ends up kissing the blind date in the elevator to check if she herself might be gay without knowing. Interestingly enough, the actress who plays Miranda is now, after being with men all her life and having two children, engaged to a woman.
- On Thirty Rock, Jack set Liz up with "Thomas", a friend of his. Turned out to be a lesbian named Gretchen Thomas. Liz was upset with Jack for assuming she was gay, but hit it off with Gretchen; Liz proposed that if they were both still single in 25 years they could get together, insisting that she's still not gay but "you could do stuff to me."
- Given that just about every lesbian alive has had a massive crush on Stephanie March, who played Thomas, since she swaggered onto the Law & Order SVU set, it was the greatest moment in American television history. For lesbians.
- Sugar from Sugar Rush (TV) says these exact words to some customers when she's explaining that she's not gay... whilst manning the till in a lesbian sex shop...
- The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. One of the boss' toadies is Mistaken for Gay after overindulging at a party and does a desperate Not That There's Anything Wrong With That speech, going overboard with panic when he thinks his boss might be reading more into his use of the stock phrase "Some of my best friends are..." than he intends.
- The real estate agent in Being Human mistakenly thinks the two men she's selling the house to are gay. After mistakenly making a homophobic insult, she tries to furiously backpedal, culminating in her saying that she sees no problem with it, but would be unable to do it herself because "like [the two men], I just like dick too much".
- An episode shows McGee doing something stereotypically feminine (a running gag), and Ducky assuring him that "there is nothing homosexual about doing that. Er... not that there would be anything wrong with that, either."
- This phrase is used more often when Tony is talking about Gibbs working on his boat while getting drunk. Frequently said when Gibbs appears out of thin air after the initial comment.
- A running gag has the two main characters (who are brothers) being Mistaken for Gay. At least once, such as when they were pretending to buy a house together, the person making the mistake accidentally said something they thought could be misconstrued and backpedaled furiously. Worth noting, that during the house-buying incident, the boys eventually just gave up and went along with it.
- The show itself, which has faced accusations of homophobia due to this running gag has had a few of these moments, such as "outing" a pair of cosplayers going as Sam and Dean. That doubled as a nod to the fandom, where the Sam×Dean pairing is immensely popular.
"They know we're brothers, right?"
- In the BBC series Sherlock, first episode, after Holmes declines having a girlfriend (which are "not really his area"), Watson asks him "Do you have a boyfriend? Which is fine by the way." Holmes answers simply, "I know it's fine." and keeps staring unmovingly at him, needing another repeated prompt to actually answer "No." to the question. It gets worse. John's next comment (that they're both single) is misconstrued by Sherlock as him hitting on his new flatmate, prompting Sherlock to inform him that he's flattered, but married to his work. John reassures him that "I'm just saying... that it's fine. It's all fine." And a ship set sail.
- The trope is namedropped and eventually averted in an episode of The West Wing where a right-wing blogger decides to "out" the decidedly straight CJ after discovering that she played high school basketball.
Reporter: Are you a homosexual?
- This WWE moment:  
- HHH was doing a lot of this while calling Kurt Angle gay for crying on the podium at the 1996 Olympics.
- The comedy musical Avenue Q. The song "If You Were Gay" is sung by a character trying to convince his flatmate that there's nothing wrong with being gay, but is careful to repeatedly mention that he, himself, isn't gay.
- The online game Forumwarz has a random E-Peen™ (a type of achievement) called "I'm Gay!" The description: Not That There's Anything Right With That!
- Monster Hunter Tri has a slightly odd version: one of the villagers will tell you that they've learned a "terrible secret"... they heard strange noises coming from your house one night, so they peeked through the door... and saw your Felyne servant dressed as a dog, looking in the mirror and barking! Not that there's anything wrong with that.
- Word of God is that Benimaru from The King of Fighters is Camp Straight. Instead of a direct translation, the English version dances around the subject and adds in this statement just in case you didn't get it.
- The third Ace Attorney game has a rather sneaky variant.
Maya: This place is so fruity!
- In Spore's Galactic Age, there's a greeting from another empire that goes something along the lines of "We were wondering where that handsome galactic explorer had gone to! Wait, I didn't mean it like that. Not that there's anything wrong with that."
- When asked, Durkon Thundershield, Dwarven Cleric of Thor of Order of the Stick says that he "loves Thor with all [his] heart, in a heterosexual 'just buddies' kind of way, not that there's anything wrong with the alternative."
- This Sabrina Online strip.
- Hiimdaisy's 2nd Big Long Persona 4 comic:
Kanji: What are you guys doing?
- This Goodship Chronicles comic has the captain trying to hold face -- it's not clear if he REALLY thinks there's nothing wrong, but he's trying.
- Sluggy Freelance uses the exact phrase on several occasions.
She-Demon: He-mortals! And the occasional she-mortal too, not that there's anything wrong with that! In fact it's rather hot!
- The Wheel of Time parody webcomic WOT Now? has Perrin remark this when Mat states that he understands soldiers, but not women. Comic here.
- El Goonish Shive
- This happen to Justin following him fighting off a flame monster.
- Justin had someone apologize to him for his own regular use of the word gay as an insult.
- Nanase (a lesbian herself) says it after saying its a relief that her little sister is not likely a lesbian then wonders if lesbians have to say it.
- This Blip strip.
K: I met Liz through Hester. She's...dark. She might be BI. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
- It was pretty much inevitable after this Gunnerkrigg Court comic, and we were not disapointed. Actually, we don't get confirmation that Kat didn't think there's anything wrong with that, but that might be the author bringing in the heavy torpedos against the Les Yay pairing of the two protagonists.
- From The Church of Blow's viral hit Youtube is my life:
"Your video is gay. Therefore, you must also be gay because you made a gay video, and only a gay person would make a gay video. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay that's all right with me -- no! I just don't have the bigot mindset..."
- That Guy With The Glasses does this in his Joker sketch for humour, as the Joker feels the need to specify that his "high school sweetheart Jamie" is a girl. As The Nostalgia Critic, he gave a serious note of it when reviewing Masters of the Universe.
- The Nostalgia Chick did it in her She Ra review, where she's trying so hard to be accepting and not act like the Critic did in his version.
- In his autobiography Things Can Only Get Better, comedy writer John O'Farrell recalls how, when he went on a door-to-door canvas for Labour, he was met with a old woman who demanded Labour do something about "the gays". O'Farrell responded with a spirited defence of homosexual rights, but was careful to finish with "And my girlfriend agrees with me."
- According to Producer Garry Marshall, The Odd Couple's opening sequence was written and produced that way to make sure everyone knew the roommates were not gay (per a request by the network). Jack Klugman once referred to it as "that cockamamie [silly, ridiculous] opening".
- Jeff Nimoy and Quinton Flynn were Mistaken for Gay due to walking into a yaoi film, not knowing that it was one at the time, so they decided to set the record straight. "No we're not saying there's anything wrong with that; just for this other team, we simply do not bat..."
- "Not Gay (but supportive!)" is sometimes expressed in Real Life as "Straight but Not Narrow" -- one symbol used is a greyscale rainbow.
- "I love Skittles, but I don't taste the rainbow" also works.
- The first time a politician at state or national level came out as homosexual in Germany was when there were rumors that a newspaper would report that one of the contestants for the office of Governor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, was gay. Instead he called a press conference and made the announcement himself, famously saying "I am gay, and that's perfectly fine". Nobody didn't really care and he ended up winning the election and was reelected for a second term. Since then, many public figures outside of the show business have come out with rarely causing any controvery.
- Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, who made an announcement that they weren't gay, but could understand why people would think they were, as the English language didn't have a word for that kind of bond between women. Mercilessly mocked by Stephen Colbert, who hoped that it would inspire more not-gay people to make announcements like this. Hannity and Colmes still haven't.
- Averted with Johnny Galecki. He had a lot of gay accusations and, although he was straight and had a girlfriend, never answered or denied them. When an interviewer asked why, he responded, "I didn't feel a need to defend myself about something that's not offensive".