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Keep it gay, keep it gay, keepy it gay!
March 15, 2010 6:29 PM   Subscribe

Top 50 Gay TV Characters. (Full list.)
Some stats and commentary about that list.
Top 50 Lesbian and Bisexual Characters.
posted by crossoverman (93 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jack Tripper
posted by louche mustachio at 6:31 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


no Steven Carrington?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:40 PM on March 15, 2010


The full list of gay characters is on the last page in case you don't have the attention span to click through. Sorry, fans of lesbian and bi characters.
posted by desjardins at 6:42 PM on March 15, 2010


Yay Capt. Jack Harkness #1 WOOT!!
posted by The otter lady at 6:45 PM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sincerely puzzled: why are the categories broken down thus? "Lesbian and bisexual" have to share a list, but "gay" gets its own list. And #1 on the "gay characters" list is actually bi- well, technically, "omnisexual."

It almost feels like someone felt like they didn't have enough lesbian characters, so they threw bisexuals in to round out the list. Kind of like when they only announce 3 nominees for Best Whatever in the Oscars.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:45 PM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


No Marty from Barney Miller?
posted by jonmc at 6:45 PM on March 15, 2010


17. Steve Urkel

I had no idea.
posted by Slap Factory at 6:46 PM on March 15, 2010


Omar only makes it to #44 on the gay list? Kima doesn't even make the lesbian/bi list?

I know it's fashionable to worship at The Wire's altar on MetaFilter but I think both of those characters deserved top-20 status at least... if only for the fact that the show presented their relationships just as they would've presented a heterosexual relationship, except insofar as others' homophobia made their homosexuality an issue.
posted by Riki tiki at 6:50 PM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


17. Steve Urkel

I had no idea.


You son of a bitch you made me look.
posted by Adam_S at 6:52 PM on March 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


Omar from the Wire is only #44? LIST INVALID
posted by clockworkjoe at 6:52 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


No Snagglepuss? That list is bullshit.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:54 PM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I await a list of Top 50 Asexuals. But now cringe at the concept of Budding Starlets.
posted by hal9k at 6:54 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


The full list of gay characters is on the last page in case you don't have the attention span to click through.

That's why I put it in the FPP!

Sincerely puzzled: why are the categories broken down thus? "Lesbian and bisexual" have to share a list, but "gay" gets its own list.

Err, because they are actually lists on two different sites! The gay (male) list is on AfterElton and the lesbian and bi (female) list is on AfterEllen.

Also, noteworthy - all the gay male characters are from television; the lesbian/bi list covers films as well, presumably to make up the numbers.
posted by crossoverman at 6:55 PM on March 15, 2010


EmpressCallipygos: ""Lesbian and bisexual" have to share a list, but "gay" gets its own list."

Well I think there's more of a history in film and television of gay male characters who were gay from their introduction, or alternatively "100% gay the whole time but closeted".

Outside of The L Word, it seems like a lot of lesbian characters only come out of the closet after having a dramatically meaningful straight relationship... the writers can't say they were 100%-lesbian-all-along without undermining the drama they'd written into the earlier romantic plotlines, so the character becomes a de facto bisexual.

It's a shame, because the latter is lazier from a writing perspective, in my opinion, but probably more reflective of the complexities of the real world.
posted by Riki tiki at 7:00 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, I was hoping this would actually be a list with historical perspective, analysis of why certain characters were / are important in the evolution of television becoming a medium which reflects us all. It's not. It's just a popularity contest, and not a very thoughtful one at that.

I'm surprised at how many shows there are that actually have gay/lesbian characters, however. We've come a long way, I think, just in my lifetime. The scene of having a male couple sitting next to each other reading in bed that was such a headline grabber in thirtysomething all those years ago wouldn't even make most bay an eye today. I think that a list like this, as dissatisfying as it is for me, shows real progress.
posted by hippybear at 7:00 PM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


crossoverman: That's why I put it in the FPP!

blech, sorry, reading comprehension fail.
posted by desjardins at 7:06 PM on March 15, 2010


Keepy!
posted by lumensimus at 7:09 PM on March 15, 2010


(although he prefers “omnisexual”...

Really. Bisexual is such a limiting term for someone like Captain Jack. But I guess the list of omnisexuals would be like, him and Captain Kirk.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:10 PM on March 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


Err, because they are actually lists on two different sites! The gay (male) list is on AfterElton and the lesbian and bi (female) list is on AfterEllen.

Both of which are hosted by Logo. So it's more a problem that Logo doesn't actually represent GLBT people. (See also: where's the "Top 50 Trans People" list?)
posted by jiawen at 7:14 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sincerely puzzled: why are the categories broken down thus? "Lesbian and bisexual" have to share a list, but "gay" gets its own list. And #1 on the "gay characters" list is actually bi- well, technically, "omnisexual."

It almost feels like someone felt like they didn't have enough lesbian characters, so they threw bisexuals in to round out the list. Kind of like when they only announce 3 nominees for Best Whatever in the Oscars.


Could be worse, T didn't even get a list. Like come on! All those fabulous trans characters in TV shows like, well, there's one in The L Word, and another in that show about something, and...okay, we're not going to make it to 50.

Seriously, I can think of a few, but nowhere near enough for the list unless you're going to include everybody in the "top". Personally though, #1 would be Hayley Cropper, who's getting married soon.
posted by Sova at 7:15 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


No Susan Ivanova.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:15 PM on March 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Carter Haywood from Spin City got robbed.

Also, the American Queer as Folk wasn't all that and a bag of chips and it is totally overrepresented on this list, as is The L Word on its list.
posted by mightygodking at 7:17 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Err, because they are actually lists on two different sites! The gay (male) list is on AfterElton and the lesbian and bi (female) list is on AfterEllen.

Both of which are hosted by Logo. So it's more a problem that Logo doesn't actually represent GLBT people.


See, yeah, I thought they were both run by the same people even though it was different sites.

I'm also slightly confused that Captain Jack was on the "gay" side because...he's more pan-sexual. (He had a female love interest the first season, no?)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:31 PM on March 15, 2010


EmpressCallipygos - I was going to snark a bit about the missing bisexual men, but the first article does at least mention it:

"And bisexuality continues have low visibility, with no characters that openly as identify as bisexual."
posted by hackwolf at 7:33 PM on March 15, 2010


needs more bears! brian & steve on sarah silverman's show are the most real gay characters i've seen on tv
posted by fallacy of the beard at 7:35 PM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


No Waylon Smithers? No Vito Spatafore?
posted by box at 7:40 PM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


That bi/lesbian list is pretty sad. I enjoy Skins, but the top two? Ever? From basically the worst season? Eesh. Half the list is L Word characters!
posted by graventy at 7:44 PM on March 15, 2010


44 Omar Little (The Wire)
27 Cameron Tucker (Modern Family)


My #1 and #2 right here. I would like to request a show called Omar & Fizbo, where Cam finds love with someone sufficiently awesome.
posted by sallybrown at 7:49 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hope everyone remembers to thank Peppermint Patty and Marcie should they have the opportunity to give an acceptance speech.
posted by vapidave at 7:57 PM on March 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


No Stewie Griffin? This list is so cartoonist.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:01 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Holy hot DAMN, looks like I'm gonna have to start watching Caprica after all.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:01 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


That sure is a gay list.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:09 PM on March 15, 2010


The lists are definitely popularity contests, without any real historical perspective. That's why I included the stats and commentary link, because while the list is weighted toward recent characters, this is only partly because of short-term memory. It's mostly because there's a lot more choice now! And the gay characters are becoming much more fully-rounded and integrated into their respective casts.
posted by crossoverman at 8:24 PM on March 15, 2010


Am I the ONLY one who remembers Paul Regina and Philip Charles MacKenzie from Showtime's "Brothers" (1984)???

Or Tony Randall in "Love Sidney" (1981).

... I'll be over here, yelling at some clouds.
posted by RavinDave at 8:27 PM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Offering a second lament on the lack of bi dudes. Ianto from Torchwood is definitely bi. He's into women, but LOVES Captain Jack.

Candis Cayne is a transsexual actress that plays a trans character on Dirty Sexy Money. Also, isn't one of the characters on Nip/Tuck trans?
posted by apiaryist at 8:37 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Werd, RavinDave. Brothers was a milestone in my own coming out story.

Which I will now spare you all from hearing.
posted by darkstar at 8:42 PM on March 15, 2010


Oh, and Will of Will and Grace scored higher than Jack?

FAIL.

I despise that show, but Jack totally stole the show every time he appeared in a scene.
posted by darkstar at 8:47 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


No Tobias Fünke??
posted by dunkadunc at 8:59 PM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jack was gay?
posted by mazola at 9:00 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


No Tobias Fünke??

He's not gay, you selfish country-music loving lady. He just blue himself. (He's been in the film business for a while but he just can't seem to get one in the can.)
posted by sallybrown at 9:14 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


No Hard Gay? WOOOOOOOOO!
posted by Chocomog at 9:15 PM on March 15, 2010


No Blast Hardcheese?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:17 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


No Paul Lynde? What kind of damn list is this?
posted by blucevalo at 9:19 PM on March 15, 2010


This is pretty US-centric.

I wouldn't mention it, but I've never met a gay or lesbian character on a US TV show that I didn't despise, and the bisexual characters here are even worse if they exist at all. Whereas I can name at least a dozen really good, central characters in UK TV shows who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, and who I actually find compelling.

Gay characters on US television are always whining avatars of social justice, not real people. Of course, that makes them slightly more dimensional than the rest of the characters on US television, but... well.
posted by koeselitz at 9:19 PM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Spoke to goddamn soon. Heh. That'll teach me to comment after reading only the first link.
posted by koeselitz at 9:20 PM on March 15, 2010


koeselitz, i just favorited that so hard.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:22 PM on March 15, 2010


The comments mention, by the way, that a few of my favorite gay/bisexual/lesbian characters are in Shameless, which is in fact one of the best shows on fucking television.
posted by koeselitz at 9:26 PM on March 15, 2010


Also, the American Queer as Folk wasn't all that and a bag of chips and it is totally overrepresented on this list, as is The L Word on its list.

Who are all these people who watched the American QaF and not the far more delicious UK original?

Oh wait it wasn't a long-running soap opera of a show. When it's obvious that Russel T. Davies deserves praise for restraint, well, kids, that's sayin' something.

I am fond of Emmett Honeycut i must admit.
posted by desuetude at 9:32 PM on March 15, 2010


No Salvatore Romano? Oh come on. He had one of the most compelling subplots on Mad Men; and the scene at the hotel where the bellboy makes a pass, and his thunderstruck reaction-- everything he has ever wanted suddenly offered to him-- was just an amazing moment. And if he's really not appearing in Season 4 I will have much less reason to want to watch it.

Also, I'm surprised we got to almost 50 comments without the obvious criticisms of the "lesbian and bisexual" list: all young, all thin, overwhelmingly white, all in makeup, and the butchest woman on the list is Xena, Warrior Princess. Meh.
posted by jokeefe at 9:38 PM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, I guess Felix Gaeta was too complicated a character to be a gay hero?
posted by jokeefe at 9:39 PM on March 15, 2010


They oughta mention Buddy Cole/Scott Thompson.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 9:44 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I guess Felix Gaeta was too complicated a character to be a gay hero?

Yeah, but he was only gay on the webisodes!
posted by crossoverman at 9:44 PM on March 15, 2010


I mean Ian Gallagher from Shameless may have a complicated sexual life, but I think he belongs on the gay list, frankly.
posted by koeselitz at 9:47 PM on March 15, 2010


[link]
posted by koeselitz at 9:48 PM on March 15, 2010


Gay characters on US television are always whining avatars of social justice, not real people.

you're so right
posted by fallacy of the beard at 9:53 PM on March 15, 2010


I've never met a gay or lesbian character on a US TV show that I didn't despise

Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay? Who could hate Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay??
posted by tzikeh at 9:55 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


What? No Jim Lahey or Randy?
posted by mazola at 10:09 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gilligan and Skipper? He-llo!
posted by humannaire at 10:09 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


My vote is for the entire cast of Dante's Cove! :D

I made the mistake of having that show on in the background one night whilst I was pottering about and I turned around and there were DICKS FUCKING EVERYWHERE!
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:27 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd put Keith & David from Sex Feet Under together and promote them to #1. Great characters...damn I miss that show.
posted by aerotive at 10:45 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently, Snagglepuss 'cavorts'. I'm just sayin'.
posted by Bartonius at 10:55 PM on March 15, 2010


uh...Six.

Not Freudian at all...I hope.
posted by aerotive at 11:10 PM on March 15, 2010


you're so right

Those guys aren't whining avatars of social justice, they're a live-action Terrance and Phillip!
posted by dunkadunc at 11:26 PM on March 15, 2010


Forgot about those guys from the Sarah Silverman Show... they were indeed quite funny. Rare form, there. Actual real gay guys.
posted by koeselitz at 11:39 PM on March 15, 2010


Sova: "All those fabulous trans characters in TV shows like, well, there's one in The L Word, and another in that show about something, and...okay, we're not going to make it to 50."

My early morning E4 Ugly Betty addiction has added Alexis Meade to my own tiny list, and a yay for a show that doesn't just get a cis guy to put on a dress and a funny voice.

jokeefe: "Also, I guess Felix Gaeta was too complicated a character to be a gay hero?"

To be honest, I thought BSG's inclusion of a gay character as an afterthought made it slightly more insulting that the show proper was nothing but straight.

WolfDaddy: "Holy hot DAMN, looks like I'm gonna have to start watching Caprica after all."

Caprica's kind of looking like one of those series that works best on DVD, because it moves so damn slowly I can't help yelling "Get on with it!" from the sofa.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:43 AM on March 16, 2010


Omar only makes it to #44 on the gay list? Kima doesn't even make the lesbian/bi list?

Yes, and Snoop, too. Definitely top of my list of sociopathic lesbian mass murderers.
posted by Grangousier at 2:13 AM on March 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


No Monroe Ficus?

Shite list.
posted by chillmost at 2:43 AM on March 16, 2010


No Lieutenant Hubert Gruber? Bummer
posted by DreamerFi at 3:52 AM on March 16, 2010


I love him and everything, but Kurt Hummel from Glee has not had enough screen time (yet?) to be #7.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 4:09 AM on March 16, 2010


I was hoping to read this and find out who the gay character from Happy Days or M*A*S*H* was.
posted by marxchivist at 4:13 AM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love him and everything, but Kurt Hummel from Glee has not had enough screen time (yet?) to be #7.

Disagree. His status as an out high school character pretty much elevates him close to the top, in my mind. Also the fact that coming out to his dad didn't actually cause any problems and, in fact, had Kurt feel like he had to protect his father after that (rather than the other way around), makes it a pretty rare fictional coming out story. Almost angst-free.

Caprica's kind of looking like one of those series that works best on DVD, because it moves so damn slowly I can't help yelling "Get on with it!" from the sofa.

To each his/her own, I actually like the pace it's moving at. In some ways it feels like Mad Men to me; it's taking its time to explore character, instead of throwing huge amounts of plot at us.
posted by crossoverman at 4:47 AM on March 16, 2010


I was hoping to read this and find out who the gay character from Happy Days or M*A*S*H* was.

Potsy and Frank Burns.
posted by grubi at 5:44 AM on March 16, 2010


I've never met a gay or lesbian character on a US TV show that I didn't despise, and the bisexual characters here are even worse if they exist at all. Whereas I can name at least a dozen really good, central characters in UK TV shows who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, and who I actually find compelling.

Gay characters on US television are always whining avatars of social justice, not real people. Of course, that makes them slightly more dimensional than the rest of the characters on US television, but... well.
posted by koeselitz at 9:19 PM on March 15


Kima and Omar from The Wire are definitely whining avatars of social justice. I remember the episode when Omar was walking down the street and everyone was running away and he said "it's because im gay. thats wrong. its wrong to discriminate" and then Kima appeared to him in a vision and said "its okay to be gay. im gay" and then I realized that discrimination was wrong
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:52 AM on March 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


I await a list of Top 50 Asexuals. But now cringe at the concept of Budding Starlets.

If you have a better method of asexual reproduction, I'd like to hear it.
posted by electroboy at 6:55 AM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ugh and don't get me started on USian TV. Just don't. No episode of The Sopranos could hold a candle to the finale of Fancy a Shag? when Lord Crumblebottom petitioned his MP for tulip subsidies on his block and they had a Dr. Who crossover (squee!) and they all went to Milton Keynes for a cuppa and a towel (a little Adams reference for you clueless Americans). Arrested Development? Feh. Try AbFab, motherbitches. *rolls eyes*
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:01 AM on March 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


You're not crazy, RavinDave -- I do remember "Love Sidney".

Granted, I only remember seeing bits of one episode when I was eleven, but hey.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 AM on March 16, 2010


crossoverman: His status as an out high school character pretty much elevates him close to the top, in my mind.

Fair enough, but there are out high schoolers on Degrassi and My So-Called Life, too. My problem with Kurt (and the other gay boys on the two shows I mentioned) is that he's too stereotypical, and unlike the authors of this list, I am not as willing to excuse it completely. Yes, his father was accepting of his sexual orientation and that was refreshing to see and well done. Nevertheless, I wish we could have more gay people on TV like David and Keith on Six Feet Under—people who are not stereotypically fashion-obsessed or flamboyant and who don't call their female friends "girlfriend." I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 7:29 AM on March 16, 2010


I'm sure my children and my children's children and my children's children's children are going to roll their eyes when they find this dusty, forgotten corner of the internet, someday decades hence when keyboards are as quaint as Model T's and society is regularly referred to as post-gender without a hint of irony and love between two people is legal and safe and admired and considered as fundamental a right as the rights of speech or emancipation or electoral participation, and they realize that at one time, their father/grandfather/greatgrandfather was the internet user known as greekphilosophy, and sometime in 2010 he ducked into a thread about gay characters and admitted to his unabated boyhood crush on Jack McPhee from Dawson's Creek. Sorry kids. I hope this doesn't change how you feel about me.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:45 AM on March 16, 2010


At first Kurt on Glee struck me as just a stereotype until the football episode. That pretty much made the character something more than a flamboyant flamer. The coming out was very well played, especially Dad's reaction. I've known a couple other parents whose experience was similar. "Yeah, we always knew."

I do remember Brothers on Showtime. It seems cliched and dated now but it was cutting edge at the time.
posted by Ber at 8:21 AM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would have enjoyed seeing more older people on the gay man list. Then again it's TV, for the young and beautiful, and the popularity contest of the poll makes this more "boys I'd like to fuck" than anything else. Still, gay life doesn't end at 40, despite what you see in the media.

Isn't it fantastic that we can sit here debating which of our favourite gay TV characters didn't make the top 50? When thinking about this, I'm always reminded of Marlon Riggs' fantastic documentary Color Adjustment, about the portrayal of blacks in early US TV. There's a great interview with one of the actors (Diahann Carroll?) where she talks about how in the early days, every time there'd be a black character coming on a TV show all her friends in Harlem would call each other. And they'd all make plans to get together and watch the show together on a neighbour's TV, because OMG! There's a black man on TV! I still feel that way a little when I see a gay character on a new show (hello, Caprica). But it's less rare now.
posted by Nelson at 9:06 AM on March 16, 2010


When thinking about this, I'm always reminded of Marlon Riggs' fantastic documentary Color Adjustment, about the portrayal of blacks in early US TV. There's a great interview with one of the actors (Diahann Carroll?) where she talks about how in the early days, every time there'd be a black character coming on a TV show all her friends in Harlem would call each other. And they'd all make plans to get together and watch the show together on a neighbour's TV, because OMG! There's a black man on TV!

You've reminded me of something I've heard about why Whoopi Goldberg was on Star Trek -- it was a tribute to Nichelle Nicols. Apparently, when a little-girl Whoopi first saw Uhura on Star Trek, she excitedly went running to her mother saying, "mom! There's a black lady in a show on TV -- and she's not playing a maid!"

I wish we could have more gay people on TV like David and Keith on Six Feet Under—people who are not stereotypically fashion-obsessed or flamboyant and who don't call their female friends "girlfriend."


I was a bit disappointed when I saw bits of Michael Urie's character on Ugly Betty; largely because I'd first seen him in the stage version of WTC View in 2003. He was absolutely phenomenal, and it was a wonderfully-drawn character. ....And then Urie went on to do Marc St. James.

Then again, it could be that Ugly Betty is for the Archie-Bunkers of the world, and stuff like WTC View and the more recent play The Tempermentals comes later.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 AM on March 16, 2010


Whoopi's comment about Uhura reminds me of another bit of Color Adjustment, an interview with Esther Rolle, the lead actress in Good Times. She talked about how the original script had her playing a single mother raising kids in the projects, in a sitcom. And she put her foot down and refused. "No, I'm going to have a husband. And he's going to have a job." Which ended up not working out very well on the show, but I thought it was interesting how strong a sense the actress had that she was creating a role model family on television.

I'm loving Sam Adama on Caprica: Emo Teen Robot. Sasha Roiz is a great actor, and I think this is the first "just happens to be gay" character writing that actually works. Because yeah, he's gay, and we see his husband, but it's entirely unremarkable. What's remarkable is that he's a complete amoral gangster thug. I also love that a main storyline is he's corrupting his 12 year old nephew. But not gay-corrupting, gangster-corrupting. Nice twist.
posted by Nelson at 9:35 AM on March 16, 2010


Who could hate Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay??

I can pretty easily see people who loved Tara hating Willow. I happened to love Tara and not hate Willow too much, but come on... mind wiping your girlfriend multiple times? And that's just the start of the character crapfest that Willow turned into in the later seasons. I actually like most of seasons 6 and 7, but Willow's characterization was just... not good.
posted by kmz at 9:46 AM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


According to Wikipedia, the Peter Panama character on The Corner Bar (1972) was the first recurring gay character on American television. Source: USA Today's Emergence from the closet timeline of gay characters on TV. A year earlier, All in the Family was the first American show to feature a gay character.

To be honest, I thought BSG's inclusion of a gay character as an afterthought made it slightly more insulting that the show proper was nothing but straight.

They also had Helena Cain.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:59 AM on March 16, 2010


I was hoping to read this and find out who the gay character from Happy Days or M*A*S*H* was.

Potsie Weber and Radar O'Reilly, respectively.
posted by hippybear at 11:57 AM on March 16, 2010


And if he's [Sal's] really not appearing in [MadMen] Season 4 I will have much less reason to want to watch it.

Bryan Batt Talks Sal's 'Mad Men' Fate, Hollywood's Gay Problem.
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on March 16, 2010


They also had Helena Cain.

And, again, that was an afterthought. By the time it was revealed she was gay (in the TV Movie, "Razor"), the character was already dead. Killed by her lover. So, you know, the fact we can point to two gay characters on the show means very little.

Nevertheless, I wish we could have more gay people on TV like David and Keith on Six Feet Under—people who are not stereotypically fashion-obsessed or flamboyant and who don't call their female friends "girlfriend." I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Well, I'd like more characters like David and Keith on TV as well, because as much fun as Glee is, it doesn't hold a candle to the likes of Six Feet Under and it's complex characterisations.

But I think we have to look past Kurt as a "stereotype", even if he does fall into the old cliche a little. Because there are guys out there like that and they shouldn't have to apologise for that and they should be represented on television as well. What's great - as evidence by this list - is that most of the gay characters on TV don't adhere to the stereotype that Kurt veers close to. That's to be appreciated, sure, but not at the expense of flamboyant gays who call their all their friends "girlfriend".
posted by crossoverman at 3:00 PM on March 16, 2010


Optimus Chyme: “Kima and Omar from The Wire are definitely whining avatars of social justice. I remember the episode when Omar was walking down the street and everyone was running away and he said "it's because im gay. thats wrong. its wrong to discriminate" and then Kima appeared to him in a vision and said "its okay to be gay. im gay" and then I realized that discrimination was wrong.”

I've only seen the last season and a half of The Wire, so I didn't realize that. Hm.

I guess my point wasn't so much that there aren't exceptions; I just... I've seen so many primary and central gay, lesbian and bisexual characters on UK TV shows that I'm always amazed at how rare and remarkable the good ones are on US television. The Wire was of course a superlative TV show, but the vast bulk of US television shows – Lost, CSI (ugh), NCIS (ugh) – you could never picture a gay character on these shows, and it's pretty clear that the network knows that putting in gay characters would be like shooting themselves in the foot, because, now that they're seen as "enlightened" because they've supposedly broken the gay barrier by putting up shows like Will & Grace, they have nothing to gain. That just makes me a bit sad.

As far as UK shows go, there are sexually diverse characters everywhere – hell, look at Green Wing, a relatively funny if sometimes annoying The Office–style comedy. There were a couple of really great and very interesting bisexual characters there.
posted by koeselitz at 6:51 PM on March 16, 2010


But, heh, yeah - just because it's from the UK doesn't make it better. Two Pints Of Lager is the dumbest goddamned show every shown on television.
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 PM on March 16, 2010


Even though The Sopranos does bore me to tears.
posted by koeselitz at 6:53 PM on March 16, 2010


...now that they're seen as "enlightened" because they've supposedly broken the gay barrier by putting up shows like Will & Grace...

i pay little attention to network tv these days, so i don't know the trends, but i give a lot of credit to will & grace in terms of shifting US mainstream perceptions of gays--a tradition i think continues, wonderfully, with modern family.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 10:54 PM on March 16, 2010


a tradition i think continues, wonderfully, with modern family.

And one day Cam & Mitchell will show some affection for each other and not bicker all the time!
posted by crossoverman at 4:12 AM on March 17, 2010


I can pretty easily see people who loved Tara hating Willow. I happened to love Tara and not hate Willow too much, but come on... mind wiping your girlfriend multiple times?

I'll never understand "hating" characters for being anything other than schmoopy or token. Yeah, people in relationships do shitty things to each other sometimes, and then work through it because they love each other. More of this, please.
posted by desuetude at 6:21 AM on March 17, 2010


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