One surprising aspect of TV, movies, etc, is the lack of bisexual characters despite the prevalence of bisexual people In Real Life. Although some series don't address any sexuality specifically, even gay characters tend to be more numerous. One reason might be it's very hard to attach a gimmick to bisexual characters. Camp Gay can't apply consistently; the majority are women who mostly have heterosexual relationships but occasionally have sexual encounters with Lipstick Lesbians, which comes off as a transparentbid for ratings.
Almost any character in a same-sex relationship or professing a same-sex attraction is assumed by the others to be either gay or joking. If the existence of bisexuals is acknowledged, they're usually depicted as very promiscuous and totally defined by sex, and sometimes even as predatory (these ideas may be due to the writers and/or the audience's prejudices). A few characters do manage to use a version of Ambiguously Gay to avoid scrutiny (see Hide Your Lesbians). Perhaps one of the most distracting aspects of this trope is that when a television character who has been heterosexual until this point falls for a member of their own sex, they jump the fence and become only interested in their own sex from that moment on; the possibility that they might be bisexual is never even brought up.
Ironically, there is nearly the polar opposite situation in some anime, especially shojo and BL, where an unusual number of characters seem to be mildly bisexual. This is not often specifically addressed, either because it's impolite to discuss one's sex life or just to maximize the shipping possibilities. In webcomics, as well, it's not uncommon for one or more characters to be bisexual.
The trope especially purports that there are no bisexual men, particularly in Western productions. Some female characters, due to the Girl on Girl Is Hot and Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss rules, can explore both sides of their sexuality as much as they want, especially if they're identified as promiscuous or plain evil. However, such characters will rarely call themselves bisexual. Meanwhile, since male characters often act as the Audience Surrogate, their sexuality has to be strictly heterosexual, lest the show be forced into the Minority Show Ghetto.
This trope is, of course, not truth in television in the sense that bisexuals exist (In Real Life). It is Truth in Television in the sense that bisexuals, unfortunately, have often been faced with prejudice and disbelief from hetero- and homosexuals alike on the grounds they 'have to be' one or the other, Kinsey Scale and the personal testimony of said bisexual people be damned.
See also Suddenly Sexuality and A Threesome Is Hot. Contrast Depraved Bisexual and Bi the Way. In Real Life, this phenomenon is occasionally called Bisexual Erasure. Also contrast But Not Too Bi, which is essentially this trope in reverse - a character who is established as bisexual yet only shows interest in one or the other sex. After bisexuality gains acceptance, the next version of this trope to come down the road will probably be No Polyamory (particularly since many bisexuals hate being mistaken for poly).
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Anime and Manga
This is the controversy among the fandom which the title character of Haruhi Suzumiya faces regarding her sexuality, even though she is clearly attracted to both Mikuru and Kyon, and actually spells it out in the first episode:
Haruhi: I don't care if it's a boy or a girl!
In the yuri manga Indigo Blue, the main character, Rutsu, is pretty clearly bisexual - though she prefers women, she admits to having had genuine feelings for her ex-boyfriend and to sometimes enjoying sex with men. However, her decision to accept her attraction to women and begin a same-sex relationship is consistently referred to as "becoming a lesbian" or "sinking into lesbianism," which not only avoids use of the term "bisexual," but implies it to be some kind of irreversible process (i.e. she can never go back to dating/sleeping with men now).
The fifth manga of Sailor Moon, called simply STARS, featured cross-dressing Sailor Senshi named the Sailor Starlights, and one of them, Sailor Star Fighter, has feelings of affection towards Sailor Moon. They are not a major part of the storyline, and Star Fighter only makes it clear in passing. But when this became a major part of the anime adaptation, Sailor Stars, Star Fighter and the other Starlights became physical males in their civilian forms to keep Usagi from being seen as a maybe bisexual. Naoko Takeuchi was not amused by this in the slightest, although she stopped short of disowning the anime. The anime itself only acknowledges this awkwardly in one scene where the Starlights' Princess asks Fighter "You take these forms on earth?" and Fighter nervously responds "To attract only women, this form was easiest".
Despite the previously mentioned tendency for BL manga to have an Everyone is Bi trend, many or most don't say that the characters like men and women and tend to go more for the trend of "Straight, just dating/in love with a man." Despite having a clear interest in men/a man, bisexuality often isn't even considered in-universe and these characters either automatically come to the conclusion that they're gay (or "gay now") or spend their time insisting that their current partner is anexception.
Minto from Tokyo Mew Mew is Ambiguously Bi - she expresses a rather excessive admiration for her Oneesama Zakuro (including a love confession that could go either way), but also seems interested in boys, most notably when Ichigo asks the Mews what they find attractive to and Minto thinks of a male dancer. For some reason, the 4Kids dub changed this, switching the image of a dancer into a picture of Zakuro, tremendously increasing the Les Yay. Given that 4Kids obviously isn't all that keen on queer characters in childrens' tv shows, the only sensible reason anyone's been able to come up with to explain this is that they were less willing to have a subtextually bi character than a subtextually gay character.
In the Adventure Time comic "Adventure Time Marceline And The Scream Queens," it is quite obvious that Marceline and Princess Bubblegum are experiencing sexual tension in their relationship. This is evident in Marceline's clear jealousy of Bubblegum's feelings for fellow bandmate, Guy, and Bubblegum's reaction to Marceline admitting to said jealousy. However, many fans argue that Bubblegum's attraction to Guy means that she could not possibly have an intimate relationship with Marceline.
John Constantine of Hellblazer. In issue 51 he mentions that he's had a few boyfriends, though it remains lip-service bisexuality until the "Ashes and Dust in the City of Angels" story arc, where he seduces and is shown (in very tasteful silhouettes) having sex with the guy he is conning at the time.
It should be noted, however, that most, if not all, instances of Constantine's bisexuality exist in Brian Azzarello's run, which is generally considered non-canon by fans and other writers due to its low quality.
Though averted in X-Factor, in which Rictor and Shatterstar (both men) have a same sex relationship even though Rictor was previously interested in a female teammate and Shatterstar is currently taking a leaf from Captain Jack Harkness, it is played painfully straight by many of the book's readers, who responded with confusion and dismay, not because of the same sex relationship (well, some because of that, but they're not relevant here) but because it was clearly blatant disregard for continuity (in their eyes) to show someone being interested in women in one issue and men in another.
It's also played (somewhat) straight in the comic itself: while Shatterstar is happily and enthusiastically bisexual, Rictor is gay, and always has been, deep down.
It's been stated at one point or another that Rictor's sexuality is based on real life occurrences one of the writers has seen in people he has known in which gay men date women for a long time, but find these relationships ultimately unfulfilling before realizing their sexuality.
In slash fic, when a character previously known only to get involved with the opposite sex, reveals his having a same-sex attraction, it's quite common for another character to respond with something along the lines of "But you were married!"
It's also quite common in slash fiction for characters previously known only to get involved with the opposite sex to have an attraction to or hook up with someone of the same sex and suddenly realize that they're gay. It would make a lot more sense in most cases for them to be bisexual.
The Homestuck fandom zig-zags this trope; on the one hand, trolls live in a bi normative society, where exclusive same-or-opposite-sex attractions (like Kanaya) are treated more like preferences than sexual orientations (Andrew Hussie likens it to someone having a preference for blondes over brunettes; hence in human society there are no "blondesexuals"). On the other hand, the human characters are given this much more often. For example, John gets hit with this by slash and het shippers alike, with the former seeing him as "closeted" while the latter point to John's (now famous) "i'm not a homosexual" line as proof that he's straight. While the het shippers obviously have a point, the slash shippers never seem to bring up the idea that he's bi. Played with in Rose's case, she is currently in a relationship with the aformentioned Kanaya, had also had ship teases with John, Dave and Meenah, though this being Rose, the sincerity of those flirtations is hard to judge, and her sexuality isn't confirmed. Fans are free to interpret her sexuality as they care.
In-universe example in thisPsych fanfic and its sequels. Lassiter has a gay acquaintance from his academy days, Russell Santos, who claims that there is no such thing as bisexuals, even though his own partner of fifteen years lived with a woman before they got together. The partner himself is quite adamant about the fact that she was not his beard, but that he was in love with her for real. Lassiter is understandably miffed when Russell tells him that his relationship with Shawn is doomed because they both identify as bisexual.
Brokeback Mountain averted this by having the main characters be (possibly) bisexual, but pandering to this trope has nevertheless led to the movie being marketed as a gay love story.
Chasing Amy deals with this trope in "real" life, when the bisexual Alyssa identifies as a lesbian for the first half of the film; it's implied that she considered it easier to deny her attraction to men than to deal with the social ramifications of bisexuality.
Film Brain pointed out the above in his review of this movie.
In The Kids Are All Right, which was directed and co-written by a lesbian, Jules has (and quite clearly enjoys) sex with a man, but has crappy sex with her wife. Nevertheless, she continues to call herself gay, not straight or bisexual. Needless to say, this has caused a lot of controversy and is often seen as having Unfortunate Implications along the lines of "lesbians secretly want men.".
In Legally Blonde, when a witness is tricked into revealing that he has a boyfriend, this is considered proof he couldn't have had an affair with a woman; in addition, Elle says "gay men know designers, straight men don't". Apparently there are, you guessed it, no bisexuals.
The musical version addresses the issue (at least in part) by having the aforementioned boyfriend testify that the witness in question "never, ever, ever, ever swings the other way."
In the film version of Queen of the Damned, Lestat's canonical male love interests from the novels are nowhere to be found in the film. Nicki's absence was especially jarring to book fans, considering his crucial importance to Lestat's backstory (in The Vampire Lestat, it was Nicki's Stradivarius that he played to wake Akasha). Rife with Unfortunate Implications when you consider one of the novel's female characters (who had no romantic or sexual interest in Lestat) was Promoted to Love Interest in the film to compensate for the removal of the other male characters.
In Skyfall, James Bond makes a (possibly joking/bluffing) comment to a villain, who is threatening him with rape, about having slept with a man before. This led to talk about whether James Bond - who's had, and clearly enjoyed, more sex with women than just about any non-pornographic movie character - was gay. No bisexuals indeed!
The line in question is "What makes you think this is my first time?", which, considering that he was tied to a chair at the time, may in fact just be a call back to his time being tortured two movies earlier in Casino Royale. Although it certainly helps make the case for the alternate interpretation that the scene was very homoerotic.
Victor/Victoria has straight main characters and gay main characters, including a gay character who started out straight. No sign of bi characters, though.
Briefly referenced in Brimstone. Early in the book, an officer points out that a murder victim had "perverse sexual tendencies". When Agent Pendergast asks what these are, the cop replies that he "liked men and women". Pendergast then matter-of-factly points out that thirty percent of all men have such tendencies, to which the cop replies: "Not in Southampton [the town where this is taking place] they don't!".
Sexual orientation in Gone is pretty much always discussed in terms of gay/straight, with no indication that someone could be in between although there is a lot of controversy involving a certain Zil Sperry.
There is an argument amongst the Harry Potter fandom as to whether the subtext suggests Remus Lupin and Sirius Black are romantically attracted to one another. Tonks/Remus shippers argue that Remus's marriage to a woman disproves this and that the poster on teenage Sirius's wall of girls in bikinis disproves it also. Of course, they could both be bisexual.
In Greg Egan's short story Reasons To Be Cheerful, the narrator, due to repaired brain damage, is given the ability to design his own likes and dislikes, starting from a blank slate of general approval. With regards to his sexuality, he starts off bisexual, but for rather unfortunate reasons decides that he must choose to be either gay or straight.
I didn't want to be bisexual. I was too old to experiment like a teenager; I wanted certainty, I wanted solid foundations. I wanted to be monogamous, and even if monogamy was rarely an effortless state for anyone, that was no reason to lumber myself with unnecessary obstacles.
In Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult, one of the main characters, Zoe, becomes involved with a woman after her divorce. However, she calls herself a lesbian despite the fact that she admits being attracted to and in love with men. Her partner, Vanessa, is a school counselor and frequently counsels LGBT teens, but never mentions any bisexuals.
Appears in-story in Stephen King's The Stand. When Stu Redman (who comes from a small town in Texas) hears that Dayna Jurgens is bi, he doesn't even understand the term first. Later, when Dayna flirts with him and kisses him "for good luck" before she goes on a mission, he wonders how she could be a lesbian.
Although Stranger in a Strange Land has the characters being generally very accepting of any sexual practices, bisexuals and camp gays are seen as being kind of weird and not people really worth being part of their group. It's not clear if this applies to all gays as well, though.
The novel also states that people in the group often end up primarily with somebody other then whom they might have been married to when they started, and that they don't always end up with the opposite gender.
Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar plays with the culture clash of sexuality mores: the Big Bad tries to mess up the Vorkosigans' marriage by revealing Lord Vorkosigan's bisexuality. On Barrayar, that's a taboo (as is pure homosexuality). Lady Vorkosigan, being from a planet where the only rules about sex are "it has to be consensual" and "having kids requires governmental approval," absently responds, "Was bisexual. Now monogamous," and has to see the other's reaction to realize this was an attempt to blow up the marriage.
In a later book, Lady Vorkosigan explains that her husband is bisexual, leaning toward soldiers; her own military background lets him have his cake and eat it too. (Brings more meaning to all the times he calls her "my Captain.")
Anne Frank was actually bisexual, and wrote quite a bit about her attraction to girls and women. Many versions of Diary Of A Young Girl edited these versions out, and their inclusion has often been a factor in having the book banned from schools.
Liz Lemon of 30 Rock decrees on a talk show in "Kidney Now!" that "There's no such thing as bisexual. That's just something invented in the nineties so they could sell more hair products." However, it should be noted that it's made obvious Liz is not qualified to give relationship advice.
Two of the men (Justin and Max) who have slept with Edina of Absolutely Fabulous became gay, apparently as a direct result ("You sure know how to turn them"). There is no evidence that they were ever attracted to men before, or were at all attracted to women afterward. However, this is subverted in a episode featuring Whoopi Goldberg, who claims that everyone is at least a little bit gay.
An episode from the first season of Brothers and Sisters invoked this trope when Kevin was trying to figure out if a guy he was interested in, Chad, was gay or straight. When one of his siblings suggested that the guy might be bi, his answer was that no one is really bi, and that everyone has to "make a choice" eventually. A few episodes later, after they had been seeing each other for a while, Kevin decided that he was mistaken and that Chad was living proof that someone could really be bisexual.
In the first few seasons, Willow is portrayed as straight: she has a crush on Xander, and has a relationship with Oz. However, once Tara enters the pictures, she's just "gay now". The idea that she might be attracted to both genders is never brought up. It even ignores that in Season 4 and 5 Willow still does have feelings for Oz, and she is rather impressed by both Giles's singing (saying, "Now I remember why I had such a crush on him") and Dracula in a semi-sexualway.
After Buffy and Satsu hook up in the season 8 comics, several good reasons are given why they can't stay together, but apparently the main reason is that the former is "not a dyke". But could she be bi? The possibility isn't so much as alluded to. Later, we get Kennedy saying "You're not the only fool to ever wrinkle the sheets with a straight girl", which is arguably fair, but the possibility that she's bisexual still isn't mentioned. Her straightness is treated as just obvious. Even Xander gets in on it: when Buffy admits her attraction to him, he says that he is on the list as a potential romantic interest "right after gay. I rate almost as good as trying to change your sexual orientation. You went through gay to me."
An offhand comment by Faith in Season 8 indicates she isn't bisexual. Really into a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship perhaps, but as she says if you want her to go down on a woman you have the wrong chosen one.
Apparently Mary Beth Lacey was married off to avert initial audience reactions that Cagney & Lacey were a "couple of dykes".
In an episode of Cheers, one of Rebecca's ex-boyfriends comes to the bar, and she's thinking of taking him back. When, with Rebecca absent, an off-hand mention of an ex-boyfriend of his own makes Sam realize that winning him back is impossible (which, of course, it turns out to be), and starting off a plot of wondering whether to tell her. Note that he doesn't say he's gay until near the end of the episode (when Rebecca's trying to seduce him).
Subverted in the Cold Case episode "Triple Threat". Chelsea comments that the murder victim, Elena, was a dating a man in high school, and she later saw him in a gay bar. She seems to think that he's gay, but if Elena found out, he would be willing to kill her to keep it hidden. When the detectives question him he openly states that he's bisexual. The detectives take him seriously, and he's quickly (and accurately) dismissed as a suspect.
Played for Laughs on the Comedy Central roast of William Shatner, where the other comedians repeatedly and pointedly refer to Andy Dick as "gay," while the camera cuts to him getting steadily more indignant in the background.
In Coronation Street Todd realised he was gay after being in a loving and committed relationship with Sarah for nearly three years. Even after coming out he admitted he still loved Sarah and enjoyed being in a relationship with her but he never entertains the possibility he has an attraction to both sexes (he previously also dated Candice) and he's only had relationships with men since.
Occurs again with Marcus and Maria's relationship. Marcus identifies as a gay man who fell in love with a woman. Maria insists that he calls himself straight. I think bisexual is the word they are both looking for.
Jane in Coupling seems to be a subversion of this trope, revealing herself to be bisexual in the very first episode (specifically to stop her lesbian-obsessed boyfriend breaking up with her) but then spending four seasons in relationships exclusively with men. Unfortunately, Jane is a shallow, self-centered attention-seeker, so it appears she just claims to be bisexual to make herself seem more interesting than she really is. Amusingly, the one on-screen exception is a girl-on-girl kiss between her and another (straight) cast member... and the straight girl initiates it, leaving Jane stunned and speechless.
In the last season "wacky, bisexual Jane" is exposed as an attention-seeking ploy by a male character when she discovers his porn lying around (when she tries to defend this, he shows her a page from one of his lad mags, and she turns away in shock.) He tells her something to the effect that he isn't taken in but that he likes her anyway and the two of them start a relationship.
In Criminal Minds the team must find a male serial killer who rapes and kills other men. It seems that they went with him out of their own free will, therefore they assume the victims are gay, however, the inquired father denies that his son was gay and says he had a girlfriend. The team jumps to the conclusion that the Serial Killer must have a female partner. The idea that this victim could be bi does not cross anyone's mind.
Granted, they don't seem sure of this theory until they get to the third victim, whose friend saw him leave the bar with a woman.
It gets weirder. It turns out it wasn't a killing team, it was one guy... whose alternate female personality was the one committing the rapes and murders.
Averted in the episode "Machismo". The team learns that a man's boyfriend previously had a wife, and instantly deduce that the man is bisexual.
Degrassi almost escaped this, but then fell right back into it once Lad-ette Lesbian Alex was written off the show. When they started the plot, Paige's feelings for Alex had her confused, eventually coming to terms with not having labels attached. Having Paige openly date guys and Alex at the same time. Alex also said she was bi at the start of the arc, then revealed herself to be a lesbian by the middle of it. Paige stuck with bisexual up until Alex left the show, then it was a 'phase' and Alex was 'the only girl for her.' And while Degrassi usually has at least one gay or lesbian character (plus satellite romantic interest cast), the line is clearly defined each time.
In one episode of Designing Women, Suzanne mentions that she told some guy's parents that he was bisexual because, "I don't believe in bisexuals. I figure the rest of us have to choose, so why shouldn't they?"
They seem to be going this route on Desperate Housewives with Katherine recently finding herself attracted to, and eventually sleeping with, the attractive, female stripper Robin. Despite the fact that this would mean she was most likely bisexual than anything, everyone including her describes her as a lesbian. With the token gay couple flat out stating she can't have gay feelings for a woman because she is straight and there "isn't an on off switch". At no point is bisexuality ever even considered a concept.
A season later the show employed this trope again with a different character: Bree's son Andrew. Andrew who had been openly gay for many years returned to Bree's house having gotten engaged to a young woman. Bree is flabbergasted and quickly suspects (correctly) he is marrying the woman for her money. Again at no point is the idea that Andrew might be bi even raised as a possibility - Andrew himself even tries to insist his homosexuality was a phase.
There was also an episode where Drew becomes interested in what he believes to be a bisexual woman, but who turns out to simply be a lesbian. Then he meets a woman who turns out to actually be bisexual. Hilarity Ensues.
Kerry Weaver on ER. This was briefly addressed in one episode - Weaver was re-united with her birth mother, but the mother was appalled when she learned of Weaver's sexuality, asking her how she could "choose" to be that way. Weaver said in no blunt terms that she was "alone in her soul" before she realized she was gay.
Despite a couple of obviously passionate relationships she had had with men before that.
Glee skirts this trope. The show had two characters that appeared to be bisexual, Brittany and Santana. Santana was subsequently revealed to be a lesbian, and with Brittany, the show uses the terms "fluid" and "bi-curious," rather than bisexual. In another episode, Kurt says that "bisexual is a term gay guys use in high school when they want to hold hands with girls and feel normal for a change" when Blaine, another (gay) character expresses doubt about his sexual orientation. Kurt is quickly called on the double-standard, although in the end Blaine does indeed turn out to be "100% gay" by the end of the episode, losing some weight. Furthermore, Ryan Murphy said that the decision to make Blaine gay instead of bisexual was that "the kids need to know he's one of them." 'Cause bisexual "kids" don't need characters who are "one of them"?
Other characters still seem to have a problem getting it, though—when threatened by Callie's constant presence in Mark's life, Lexie asked her "How gay are you? On a scale from one to...gay."
Averted in one episode of Happily Divorced, where Fran and Peter debated if guest star Charles Shaughnessy (who played Maxwell Sheffield in The Nanny) is straight or gay. He's both. He wanted a trio with Fran and Peter.
During John-Paul and Craig's gay romance on Hollyoaks, the idea that Craig - who had been involved with several female characters before, seemed to enjoy said relationships, and wanted to stay with his girlfriend Sarah - might be bisexual was mentioned all of once, several weeks after the storyline ended. All that was said on the matter while it was ongoing was:
John Paul: You have sex with men, in my books that makes you gay.
The show has, however, averted this trope with several characters, most notably Kris.
Averted in Homicide: Life on the Street. Tim Bayliss identifies as straight for the first five seasons and later starts experiencing attraction to men. He later identifies as Bisexual and is never implied to be secretly gay or just experimenting. He is shown as perfectly comfortable dating and hitting on both genders.
House, despite having a bisexual on the character list in the form of Thirteen, invoked this in the episode "The Choice" - the choice for the patient being straight or gay. That there is a third option is brought up in passing a couple times, but not much is made of it; mainly because the character was entirely attracted to men until he decided to get "fixed" at one of those infamous camps, and claims to have become entirely "straight" as a result, although the other characters mostly don't believe him when he says this.
At the end of season 1 of The L Word Jenny (who earlier in the season was torn between her long-time boyfriend/husband and the first woman she was attracted to) is involved at the same time with both a man and a woman. Both of them are aware of the other and it seems to be shaping up into an interesting poly relationship. However the writers seem to have decided not to pursue the the possibilities of this storyline and Season 2 begins with the guy breaking up with her because she's clearly more interested in women. (Later on, Jenny's sexuality gets complex again when she is dating someone in the process of transitioning from female to male.)
Also in the series was Alice, who identified as bisexual and dated both men and women up through season 2. After that the writers quietly dropped this and by the end of the series she was identifying as a lesbian.
Original Law & Order episode "For the Defense". Bernard and Lupo are protecting a female witness who had a relationship with the victim. Rough quote:
* Lupo leaves the room*
Witness: Does he have a girlfriend?
Bernard: Didn't you have a girlfriend?
Obviously, he considers this fact and her question contradictory.
I thought he was just reminding her that her girlfriend was murdered.
The episode "Lowdown" of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where "down-low" (ebonic slang for "man on the side") is described by Ice-T Tutuola as "closeted black men who have sex 'on the down-low' then go back and pretend to be attracted to their wives." In the entire episode, no variant of the word "bisexual" is used once. Three egregious lines:
Dr. Huang: You're not the first woman who's slept with a closeted man. Sexuality is very complicated. Just because he was gay didn't mean he wasn't attracted to you.
Tutuola: Guess what? That [mansex] MEANS YOU'RE GAY!
Andy: I love you. That's why I couldn't admit who I was... couldn't leave my family... couldn't admit I was gay.
Try "Weak." The prime suspect in the serial rape of a number of disabled and mentally ill women is discounted because he appears to be gay. And I don't mean as in, "Oh, he has a boyfriend, never mind," but the SVU detectives repeatedly saying, "How can he be the prime suspect? He's gay!"
"11x13", "P.C.", had a militant lesbian activist clear her boyfriend's name by coming out and admitting that she's bisexual. Of course, all the people at the meeting act like it's a personal betrayal.
MTV's The Real World: DC features Mike Manning, who is exploring his attraction to men. Despite dating and making out with other men, he still feels an attraction to women. This is hard for his housemates to understand (They think he's gay, but denying it) and even the guy he dates think he's in denial about being gay. In this article with After Elton, he comes out as fully bisexual and says he prefers men.
MTV themselves invoked this as well, by editing the episodes to almost exclusively include his interactions with men.
Michael in My Family came out as gay after nine seasons of being straight. Bisexuality is never even mentioned.
Nip/Tuck seems rather biased against bisexuals at times. Lesbian characters demand for bi-curious women to "pick a side," seeming to think that you can only be one or the other. Many of the people who do show sexual attraction to both sexes seem to be psychotic and slightly dangerous. On the other hand, Female-Female-Male Threesomes aren't an uncommon feature of the show.
Men in the Noah's Arc universe are apparently only gay, straight, or closeted (e.g. gay). Even characters who have at least been implied to have had opposite sex relationships, such as Wade and Guy, are depicted as doing so solely to hide feelings for males or out of a poor understanding of their own sexuality.
Averted in Oz. Keller and Beecher are together but explicitly identify as bisexual and are both shown or mentioned to have attraction to both sexes. Keller, in particular, has been married multiple times and Beecher has a relationship with a woman towards the end. It is never hinted that their relationships with women are anything but genuine.
For whatever reason (or none at all), Queer as Folk never explored or even mentioned bisexuality. But everybody's gay - except for a few token straight characters. Though a brief intrigue gave the Unfortunate Implications that if you aren't either completely gay or totally straight, something's wrong with you.
Roseanne had an interesting case with Nancy. She would frequently say things such as "Ugh, I'm sick of women, I'm going back to men this week," and being very blasé about dating both men and women. All arrows point to her being bisexual, but when she came to Roseanne's house with a male date after coming out, Roseanne and her other friends were confused, asking things such as "Well, won't they kick you out of the club for that?" They were more confused than anything.
The Todd from Scrubs appears to be bisexual, but the lines and actions that suggest this are just isolated enough that they could be in jest.
Until one episode features Carla and Eliot becoming convinced Todd's offensive sexual comments are over-compensation because he's a repressed homosexual, before deciding he isn't. The episode ends, however, with Todd making sexual comments to everyone. Thereafter, he's pretty much an openly bisexual hound-dog. One might suspect Unfortunate Implications, but it's generally treated as just being a result of his personality, not his sexual orientation.
Janitor: What the hell are you?
Todd: I'm The Todd!
Later averted when its revealed in the final series that Todd is bisexual and in a relationship with both of the Hendersons. Then in the first episode of the Season nine retool, when asked by Turk to sit on top of Cole, who he's covered up so he won't know its him doing it, Todd does so happily while asking if it's a guy or a girl. He decides he doesn't care, before sitting on him and spanking his butt, clearly enjoying himself. Cole is understandably freaked out when it starts happening, while JD and Turk walk away.
Turk and J.D. are completely in love with each other (J.D. showed up drunk at Carla's bridal shower crying and rambling about how she would never be as close to Turk as he is), but "in a totally non-sexual way". It's just guy-love between two guys.
Susan from Seinfeld briefly becomes a lesbian, seeing at least two women. One of these women leaves Susan for Kramer until being turned off from men by a coat, and the other was an ex of George's who remained infatuated right up until meeting Susan. Susan herself eventually returns to George. Despite the fact that the orientations of these three change at the drop of a hat (or coat), each of them is identified by her immediate status at all times, never as bisexual.
Despite several seasons of being seen exclusively with men, Sex and the City's Samantha briefly became a lesbian during the show's fourth season... then returned to heterosexuality immediately after. (And lampshaded thereafter, "When I was a lesbian" becoming something of a catchphrase.) Although sometimes straight women do experiment (especially during sweeps week *eyeroll*)
On the other hand, Carrie did date a bisexual guy in one episode, but the way it was presented it kinda came off like "oh those young people, what with their wacky bisexuality!"
Sherlock features Irene Adler, a professional dominatrix who has both female and male clients but, who, upon acknowledging her feelings for Sherlock, was quick to clarify that she is, in fact, a lesbian, and that where Sherlock is concerned she merely suffers from a case of If It's You, It's Okay.
It's Played for Laughs, and we're never given any real cause to believe that he's anything other than heterosexual, but John's response every time someone implies that he and his best friend Sherlock are a couple is: "I'm not gay!"
A Shot At Love, a reality series based around the concept of having Tila Tequila dating (completely) straight men and (total) lesbians, to, as promos put it, "choose" whether to be straight or gay.
There have also been several hints that Amanda is bisexual, though it's been entirely for comedy.
In Soap, nominally "gay" Jodie (Billy Crystal) seems to have more girlfriends and have sex with more women than most of the straight male cast put together!
The Steve Wilkos show, while generally making a point of showcasing the scum of the earth regardless of sexual orientation, sometimes uses this as a way to further demonize some already skeevy people. A man accused of orally sodomizing his four-year-old niece supposedly admitted to a lie-detector test administrator that he'd had sexual relationships with men in the past, and that he preferred men to women. Despite being in a long-term sexual relationship with a woman at the time, everyone on the show condemned it as being a further element of his monstrosity. Even Steve chewed him out for not just admitting that he was gay and living an ordinary gay life, because "if you have sex with men, you're gay".
One of the two jokes used on Three's Company was Jack posing as a gay man so the conservative Mr. Roper (and, later, the moronic Mr. Furley) would allow him to share an apartment with two unmarried women. The possibility of him being a bisexual was brought up once ... with Jack taking the entire episode to figure out that that would get him kicked out just as quickly as being straight.
Despite being explicitly described as someone who does not fit into twenty-first century categories of orientation, Jack Harkness of Torchwood is only ever seen in sexual relationships with other men. Any woman he has been sexually involved with is in his past. The closest he gets to on-screen chemistry with a female character is some flirtation with Gwen. But once he is sexually involved with Ianto, he rarely even flirts with a female character again through the rest of the series.
That said, we see him flirt and dance with multiple female characters in Doctor Who, and the "Children of Earth" mini-series introduces his daughter and grand-son, showing that he must have had a fairly long relationship with a woman in the past.
On the Tyra Show episode "The Gay Kingdom," which consisted of representatives of the GLBT community, guess which one of them is designated as the "Pauper" and later banished from the kingdom.
Karen from Will and Grace, though played by the openly bisexual Megan Mullally, was never explicitly described as bi, but she certainly expressed interest in men and women alike.
Another episode featured Matt Damon as a straight guy trying to pretend he's gay to join the gay men's chorus. When he checks out a woman, Jack says,"Holy Anne Heche Laffoon, he's straight!," thus invoking the trope for a character and a real person.
Xena: Warrior Princess is often thought to be lesbian because of her love for Gabrielle, despite seeming to enjoy sex and relationships with many men (Ares, Marcus, etc).
One might argue the same with Gabrielle, though it's also possible that one of her two relationships (with Perdicus or with Xena) is a case of If It's You, It's Okay.
In Girls, Hannah's ex Elijah Krantz is generally portrayed as "having always been gay" despite his attraction to women in the past. He tries to "prove" he is bisexual, and him not enjoying the sex is seen as objective evidence for his homosexuality, ignoring what he identifies as.
In The Mighty Boosh, Howard was openly attracted to women and secretly attracted to men. When he kisses Vince in series 3 and realizes he likes men he declares himself gay. Vince himself is bisexual, as are many other characters, so it wasn't that the show said there were no bisexuals, it just had Howard assume the trope was true to demonstrate his ineptness in the world of sex and romance.
Series/Castle: More than once.
In Kill The Messenger, a male suspect is revealed to have been having sex with a man at one point. This is treated as unassailable proof that he could not have had sex with a woman.
Invoked in True Blood when Jessica catches her then-boyfriend James having an affair with Lafayette. She tells Jason about it who instantly assumes he's gay, even though James was clearly in love with Jess and enjoyed having sex with her. She thinks he's "confused" even though he's at least 70 years old (having been turned into a vampire as a young man in the 1960's) and would most likely have a grip on his sexuality by now. She was conveniently blind to the fact that she was a shitty girlfriend, and that is why he cheated on her; his bisexuality simply made Lafayette a viable option.
In 9 Chickweed Lane, Seth spends a large chunk of time trying to coax Edda's uncle, Roger out of the closet, never once considering that Roger might be attracted to men AND love his wife — nope he's just an extreme closet case who managed to conceive eleven children (after the second set of twins he was basically stuck). This is made even more egregious later on when Seth continued to assert his gayness after sleeping with diva ballerina, Fernanda. The latter is Handwaveed by an earlier revelation that Seth was attracted to "true artistry" and thus was seduced by Fernanda's dancing skills. And now that Edda revealed that, aside from her childhood friend Amos, Seth was the only man she ever loved he seemed to be really fighting the urge to sleep with her.
BioWare usually averts this trope in most of their original settings, since at least one of the potential Love Interests in each game is usually bisexual. With Dragon Age II, however, it's the fans that seem to be invoking the trope in the case of one particular character. A vocal group believes that Anders' sexual orientation is determined by the player character's gender, due to one early conversation. If Hawke is male, Anders reveals that Karl, the mage he was desperately trying to save from becoming Tranquil in his initial quest, was not only his lover, but his first. If Hawke is female, that part of the conversation never happens, and Karl's just assumed to be a good friend. Said fans have pointed to this as proof that Anders is gay if Hawke's male, and straight if Hawke's female, with bisexuality completely off the table as a possibility. This, despite despite Word of God that Everyone Is Bi, and Anders' own statements to the contrary to male!Hawke:
Anders: "I've always believed people fall in love with a whole person, not just a body. Why would you shy away from loving someone just because they're like you?"
In Jade Empire, two of three possible Love Interests are bisexual. Adding in the possibility of threesomes, there are eight possible romantic endings to the game.
Bizarrely, Mass Effect seems to invert this; same-sex relationships are exclusively bisexual until the third game. Asari are Discount Lesbians for Female Shepard, but Male Shepard can also romance Liara, Kelly is an unofficial love interest for both Shepards, and it's claimed that early drafts of Mass Effect 2 had both Thane and Tali as bisexual love interests. It's not until 3 that Samantha Traynor, who is a lesbian that will politely reject Male Shepard, and Steve Cortez, who is a gay man who will only romance Male Shepard, that a non-bisexual same-sex encounter is possible.
Somewhat a strange inversion in Bully, where the NPCs are either straight (all females and all but one male in each clique) or gay (one male in each clique), but due to some of the plot and cutscenes requiring you to engage on that level with some of the female characters, it's possible for the protagonist to be played as straight or bi, but not gay.
Fear Effect: Averted. Hana and Rain are attracted to each other and to men.
Persona 4 has the mildly (for a video game) controversial and definitely infamous matter of Kanji's sexuality, which was intentionally left ambiguous by the writers to allow the player to interpret the character as they like. Opinions on this range from "He's gay and insecure about his sexuality" to "He's straight and afraid of being rejected for his domestic hobbies" to "He's a teenager and still discovering himself", due to various lines of dialogue and events, but few, if any, of Kanji's scenes ever present the idea that he may just be attracted to both sexes; the fandom generally treats "He's bisexual" as a compromise to end arguments over the matter, rather than as a legitimate sexual orientation.
This is muddled further by the fact that he has a crush on Naoto, both before and after the revelation of her sex and his bizarrely sheepish demeanor with the protagonist in the later parts of his Social Link and near the game's end.
Phantasmagoria 2: Averted. Curtis Craig admits that he's attracted to both men and women.
In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , once Jyrras realizes he's attracted to Abel... that's it, he's gay, no in-betweens allowed, despite previously having had subtext with Lorenda. Granted, Jyrras has shown a tendency towards a binary "Right Answer/Wrong Answer" view of the world and a shaky grasp of relationships in general. He, himself, may think there's only the two options.
El Goonish Shive triggered a massive TV Tropes Edit War over this trope that rages on to this day when two characters appeared to be renouncing their canon bisexuality.
To explain in a way that will hopefully not trigger a fan's fury: Ellen is bisexual, and Grace is effectively so. Some people feel, however, with Ellen choosing to sidestep her attraction to men and Grace's affection generally being limited solely to Tedd, the two characters are bisexual only in the most literal sense. Others, though, feel that the comic is not an example due to the TF Gun inducing bisexuality in most of its victims, as well as the fact that Ellen and Grace have been known to express their attraction to men and women respectively, just not often.
Addressed in Friendly Hostility after Bootsie realizes that neither Fox nor Collin wants to "ravish" her because they're dating each other. Fox says that he doesn't do labels, and that calling Collin gay would overload everyone's irony sensors. It's a bit of a plot point when Collin, after dating Fox for years, realizes he is, in fact, gay.
Somewhat averted by Jamie of Girls with Slingshots, an Above The Waist Lesbian, mostly fooled around with men and then had a same-sex encounter which she came away from ambivalent. She's now officially dating another woman and finally did the deed before she left for school, but still insists she's "not in the dictionary".
DiDi was originally portrayed as coming to realize her bisexuality, and was quick to object when someone refers to a bisexual, or even a bisexual's gay activities, as "gay". However, after a failed attempt at lesbian sex with similarly curious Sandra, Sandra declares herself and DiDi "two naked straight girls with poor boundary issues." Later on, DiDi simply becomes desperate for an orgasm and isn't really particular about who gets her there.
Appears in-universe, when Dillon is surprised to learn that his then-boyfriend Matt is bi, not gay. The comic also includes Gary, a nominally-straight man who is implied to have bisexual tendencies, Yuki, a nominal lesbian who may have bisexual tendencies which she represses as a result of, um, "tentacle-related childhood trauma", and, of course, Zii. The comic actually does a fairly decent job of acknowledging the fluidity of human sexuality without resorting to a polarised form of Everyone Is Bi. One of the characters even references the Kinsey Scale.
Averted in The Order of the Stick, where the part of Haley's personality that is attracted to women is referred to as "Haley's latent bisexuality".
Discussed in Something Positive. Monette came out as a "lesbian" early on but kept having (a lot) of sex with men, confusing her. It wasn't until after starting her long-term relationship with Lisa that she admitted to being bisexual. It's mentioned that many of Lisa's lesbian friends don't really believe in bisexuality, and the bisexual Vanessa once told Peejee about a female ex she'd dumped for saying she'd "get over it".
Terinu has the title character kissing Gwen deeply at one point (as part of a "pirate oath") while in a flashback he's seen sick and being cuddled by Matt in a definite moment of Ho Yay. However he hasn't publicly come out.
Averted in Niels, in which numerous characters are bisexual. In-universe, however, Duncan believed this as a youth, assumed that his attraction to men meant that he was gay and that his attraction to women was invalid.
Averted in Shortpacked!. Ethan's boyfriend Drew is explicitly stated to be bisexual.
An episode of The Ricky Gervais Show has Karl telling Ricky and Stephen his idea for a movie plot, which involves a widow starting a sexual relationship with her dead husband's former mistress. Both Ricky and Stephen object to the fact that the mistress who use to be attracted to the husband is now attracted to the widow. No one mentions that she could just be bisexual.
Stan from American Dad!! has a literal Gaydar (seen above) with a needle from "gay" to "straight," with a tiny wedge in the center that says "curious". It should be noted, however, that this device doesn't actually work.
Roger has described himself as a "fey pansexual alcoholic non-human", so at least there's that even if he's not exactly the most sympathetic character.
Played with in an episode of Archer where Cyril's ludicrously attractive ex Lana is threatening to have sex with the entire office to get back at him. Cyril is shocked to find Ray, his openly gay colleague, lining up with the rest of the men (and more than a few of the women), to which Ray replies "Girl, please. Nobody's that gay."
Stewie in Family Guy seems to flip/flop in terms of preference as the joke demands. True to the trope, the b-word is never used.
Word of God had him listed as gay, despite his obvious attraction to girls (more so then boys even). The writers had dropped more jokes than hints about Stewie's Ambiguously Gay nature, while simultaneously writing relationship arcs with female characters. Eventually, when Seth MacFarlane was asked about Stewie's sexuality on Jimmy Kimmel, he outright said that the character preferred "a little of both."
In Futurama, Fry's grandfather (whose apparent no-exceptions homosexuality temporally threatens Fry's existence) turns a calendar page away from this month's sexy woman so he can peek at next month's sexy man. In the DVD commentary, Matt Groening asks "Exactly who is this calendar for?", a reference to Fridge Logic that's more fridgy if No Bisexuals are assumed. (Of course, the fact that the event takes place in 1947 does make the calendar's existence strange.)
In South Park, Mr./Ms. Garrison becomes a lesbian for one episode. S/he never considers the possibility of being bisexual. But then, Garrison just has generally twisted ideas about sexuality.
Matt and Trey swiftly subverted this trope on their FAQ when asked what happened after Garrison's lesbianism and second sex change. According to them, Garrison "likeseverybody".
Chef put it best, though - "Children, there's a difference between gay people, and Mr. Garrison."