Imagine if every straight romance was met with a yawn and a “Haven’t we seen this already?” That’s the burden placed on gay TV, as if there have been so many such stories. There are gay characters everywhere, or so say the cultural gatekeepers. Meanwhile, lonely urban heteros are sinking the comedy line-ups of every broadcast network with their emo decadence, and just next door, sister-in-arms Girls is talked to death by mass media. Whatever your experience with gay pop culture, there is activism in this story of two guys falling for each other, and it works by simply selling the reality. Hence fly-on-location long takes and funny, naturalistic performances. The conversation is specific to the characters, as in Richie’s story about being sent to Mexico, but there’s a lot of universality here—for gay men. Patrick can’t bring himself to come out on the first try, the camera drools over Richie’s armpit and body hair, Patrick worries he has HIV every time he sneezes. Hell, Patrick refusing to bottom is a key to the season. How’s that for not gay enough?
But showing America what it looks like when two guys have sex with each other has a normalizing power, even if the audience right now is just me and my gay friends. Turns out there’s nothing to be afraid of. Can we have our rights now?
It's okay, Sara C thinks Before Midnight is a rom-com, so you know.
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