The queerness of NBC’s new hit comedy “Crowded”

On this Sunday’s episode of NBC’s new family comedy Crowded, 20-something Stella (Mia Serafino) kisses a girl right in front of her parents (Carrie Preston and Patrick Warburton). That’s not something that happens on network TV too often.

“I think my character might be one of the first what we call sexually fluid characters on network television, which is kind of cool,” Mia told us after a panel for the show at TCA this past January. “I think it shows that I don’t want to be defined as bisexual or lesbian just like who I’m attracted to, which is kind of a millennial thing. So it’s kind of cool they’re letting me explore with that and go further.”

Crowded - Season 1Photo by: Vivian Zink/NBC

Crowded is based on creator Suzanne Martin (Hot in Cleveland, Ellen) and what happened with her millennial daughters (Stella’s younger sister, Shea, is played by Nickelodeon fave Miranda Cosgrove) moved back home. One of those daughters happens to be gay.

“I always wanted the second episode to be her coming down the stairs and her kissing a girl, and the parents going ‘What?’ and then making that sort of the story,” Suzanne said. “And when I did it, the network was sort of like, ‘Shouldn’t that be the A story?’ And I just wanted it to be nothing, just the way that a step-mom on the show is black and I want it to be nothing. I want no one to say—in the pilot we don’t say why or how. You don’t talk about stuff like that when it’s in your family.”


After kissing the girl goodbye, Stella saunters into the kitchen where she tells her family, “Just because I slept with a woman doesn’t make me a lesbian.” Her father looks confused and replies, “Doesn’t it, though?”

“I was so excited when I read that because I feel like people kind of steer away from [sexual fluidity],” Mia said, “but it’s very much a part of who my character is. It’s cool she doesn’t care what people think. She’s gonna do what she wants to do, even if it’s kissing a girl right in front of her parents with no explanation.”

The joke surrounding the moment of the kiss is that it’s not about the kiss at all.

“She comes down, and the mom goes crazy and [says], ‘You cut your hair!’ Which would be so much more upsetting for me if her daughter cut her hair,” Suzanne said.

“I was so happy that in the second episode that that worked out,” Suzanne said. “That story goes away and week to week she can be with girls she can be with guys, and it actually is revealed in that episode that the mom once slept with a girl. I just feel like there’s sort of a whole new world of all that and I want to have that on the show, because I think that’s the reality of young people these days.”