Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Kevin Sullivan Talks About the Freedom Nickelodeon Gives for LGBTQ+-Themed 'The Loud House' Episodes

In June 2017, Nickelodeon surprised and delighted fans by revealing that one of the main characters on the network's hit animated comedy series The Loud House was part of the LGBTQ+ community.

In an interview with Insider, Kevin Sullivan, a story editor for The Loud House, which centers Lincoln Loud, the only boy in a family of 11 children, talked about the freedom Nickelodeon gave him in producing the episode.

Sullivan revealed that wasn't barred from using the word "lesbian" in dialogue when writing a storyline for the third-oldest Loud sibling, Luna, and her bandmate crush Sam, however, he wouldn't "push" saying LGBTQ-specific words in dialogue due to fear of internal and external pushback.

"We just can't say those words because of how young our audience can skew," he said. "But the joy of the episode, that I really was proud of, was that it wasn't that 'coming out' episode."

The lack of a more explicit identification resulted in some fans reading Luna as bisexual following the events of an earlier episode when she appeared to have a crush on a boy as part of a show joke.

Sullivan clarified to Insider in a separate interview that issues around language weren't due to pressure from Nickelodeon, adding that saying a word like lesbian in dialogue "never came up." 

"I don't know if I would push it," he added. "We never challenged that and I'm actually glad we didn't because she becomes representative of so many more young people struggling with their identity."

Luna and Sam weren't the first LGBTQ+ characters to appear on the show, however. A year prior to "L is for Love” airing, the series introduced viewers to Harold and Howard McBride, the same-sex married parents of Lincoln's best friend, Clyde. Both sets of characters have helped the show earn a raft of GLAAD Media Award nominations.

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