Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (February 15, 2008)

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve written “it started off so promisingly” in this column over the last four years, I might finally be able to give Karman a raise.

Unfortunately, I have to write it again, this time about ABC’s Cashmere Mafia, which debuted in January with a good premise, a great lesbian/bi character, and a potentially interesting relationship … and then went to lesbian hell in a hand basket faster than you can say “heterosexual double standard.”

I’ve kept you all updated on what my sources have told me about Caitlin’s story line on the series, and everything I’ve been told has come to pass. I knew Caitlin was going to sleep with a guy one more time, that Caitlin and Alicia were going to break up eventually because Alicia got back together with her ex, but that Caitlin was going to stay gay. (Or bi. At any rate, not straight.)

What I didn’t know was how much of Caitlin’s story line was going to get whittled down to only that — that she would get far less screen time than the other characters, and while the other women juggled work, family and relationships, Caitlin would only juggle — or more correctly, bungle — a relationship that quickly became bogged down in stereotypes and hypocrisy.

While the other characters were routinely seen in bed or being affectionate with their boyfriends/husbands/one-night stands, Caitlin and Alicia never shared more than a kiss on-screen (and then only three times). While Juliet, Zoe and Mia got nuanced relationships and semi-realistic workplace drama, Caitlin got a cartoonish lesbian bridal shower, a sonogram and dumped. All in only three minutes per week over six episodes.

Caitlin has become, in effect, the Original Cindy of Cashmere Mafia: a funny, endearing and memorable supporting character who is clearly there just to provide diversity and support for the lead characters. And that’s so seven years ago.

If the show gets renewed after its season finale next week — and that’s a big “if” considering how poor the ratings have been — I’d watch it again next fall only because of Bonnie Somerville‘s brilliant performance, and because I like the other characters.

But the lesbian story line? If you can’t do it right, please, Mafia writers, just put it — and us — out of our misery already!

Australia’s newest MTV VJ, 21-year-old Ruby Rose, recently came out as bisexual after a local weekend gossip columnist reported overhearing her talking openly about her attraction to women at a high-profile social function.

“I just can’t believe people are so interested in that,” she told Australian Age when the news broke, explaining, “I’m a human being and I love people — I think some guys are hot and some girls are hot.”

Rose, who has dated women before, then gave the usual I’m-attracted-to-the-person-not-the-gender mantra (which I object to only on the basis of its unoriginality, not its meaning), and then proved why she’s made to be an MTV VJ by saying, “I guess it’s a bit like fashion, you just know when you like something, irrespective of the brand.”

Come to think of it, being gay/bi is a little like fashion: One day you’re in, the next day you’re out. Welcome to the club, Ruby!