you know, even if you aren’t a fan of Night Vale you can’t deny that it’s pretty important as a piece of media
the first reason being that it’s a fairly unconventional creative work (like, who listens to radio anymore, right?) that is entirely donor-funded, and yet still managed to pull off multiple national and international tours, sells a good and diverse amount of merchandise, has produced three books (one of which is the novel), and has been featured in the New York Times I believe twice now
like that’s all super impressive for an independent creative work that is totally funded by listeners
and also, it’s super important because it goes out of its way to be diverse on multiple levels
like obviously we have Cecil, whose appearance is totally open to interpretation and who is almost certainly gay (as opposed to bi, for example; all the people that he’s implied to have had a thing with are men.)
And he’s in a loving and healthy relationship with Carlos, whose appearance is a little less open to interpretation (between his name and Cecil describing him as dark and delicate skinned.) Like, we have a wonderful canon relationship between two men that never had all the Gay Angst we so often see in stories about LGBTQ+ people.
And even besides that, we have lots of moments where the show goes out of its way to prevent whitewashing or otherwise defaulting to a certain standard.
We have LOTS of great female characters, like Old Woman Josie, Tamika Flynn, Dana, Pamela Winchell (all of whom also happen to be black or very much coded as black.) We also had Basimah, a lesbian hijabi. And Janice, who has used a wheelchair since birth and, as stated in the show, does not need fixing. We’ve also had several mentions of nonbinary or possibly agender characters (like Alicia in the desert otherworld and one Sheriff’s spokesperson). Like, I could go on and on but you get the idea.
And there’s tons of other moments that are little shout outs and challenges to perceptions. There’s one moment I remember in particular where something like, “American Teddy’s Halal Stand” was mentioned. I just remember that sticking out to me because it seems so subtle and throwaway but if you catch it it’s seems like a huge and important thing to include.
like…I love Night Vale because it goes out of its way to do things like this and more, and it’s great on its own, but it’s even greater because the show’s popularity proves that you can have this kind of diversity in a piece of media and still have it be immensely popular