Gay television characters

At the moment I’m in heavy mourning for the loss of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from my life, as Dartmouth doesn’t get the WB. Sigh.

Anyway, one of the reasons that I like the show so much is the Willow/Tara relationship that began this past season and is continuing into season five. Putting aside the vampires, monsters, and general fantasy horror of the show, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a realistic television portrayal of a same sex relationship on television. (Even if they’re not allowed to kiss, but that’s a different rant.)

I know that I must not be the only gay person out there who is sick of almost every gay person on TV being a plot device, nothing more than a stereotype, or an utterly nonsexual being. So, dopers: what same sex relationships/characters on television do you think are realistic? Which ones are just a display in tokenism?

If you get the chance to see a BBC tv series from 2 or 3 years ago called “This Life” I’d strongly recommend it. Can’t imagine it would be shown on mainstream US tv but I believe all the episodes are available on video.

Certainly the most realistic (and pretty graphic) portrayal of a (male) gay relationship I have seen but it was also a lot more. Superb characterisation of a group of 20 somethings. You’ll get completely addicted to it, I guarantee. Truly excellent stuff.

I couldn’t agree with London_Calling more . A truely brilliant programme .
What about John from the Simpsons . “ZZZAAAPPP” . :smiley:

Well, Will and Grace won a whole crap-load of Emmy’s. I think those characters are realistic, or at least as realistic as any character you’ll find on a sit-com.

Another British show that might be of interest is Queer as Folk, about a group of young gay men in Manchester. It received excellent reviews, though not as good as those for This Life. (As I haven’t owned a television for the last two years, I never saw it.)

Unfortunately, as Queer as Folk was on Channel 4, I doubt it will ever be on PBS. But it may appear somewhere else in the US cable system.

Sorry for the hijack, but this question reminded me of the series Hot l Baltimore which ran in 1975. Was this the first American network series to feature a gay couple as regulars?

Ricky (Wilson Cruz) on My So Called Life

What about Xena and Gabrielle?

Jodi Dallas from Soap
The Ambiguously Gay Duo from SNL

Didn’t Tony Randall play the first gay lead character on TV in that show “Hello Sydney”?

I think that might have come after the character on Soap, though.

I am getting so damned tired of there not being any real gay characters on Star Trek. I understand that Gene Roddenberry was planning to put some in but the plans were hijacked after he died.

So far, we’ve had:

  1. an androgynous creature named Soren who believed herself to be a woman, and fell in love with Riker. Oooh, let’s do a homophobia story with a straight relationship! (“The Outcast” TNG).

  2. A Trill named Odan who Dr. Crusher fell in love with, stayed in love with (and had sex with) after the symbiont was transplanted into Riker, but suddenly had issues with after it was transplanted into a beautiful female body. (“The Host” TNG)

  3. Jadzia Dax, who found she was still in love with the new host of the ex-wife of her male former host Torias. In other words, they’re not lesbians, just two women who were a straight couple in a past life. At least they did a homophobia show with an actual same-sex pairing, and at least they showed that their being two women isn’t even noticed in the 24th century. (“Rejoined” DS9)

  4. Another straight-couple-in-past-life routine, with Jadzia and Vanessa Williams on Risa. Gotta love those Trills. Also, the worst episode in DS9 history. (“Let He Who Is Without Sin…” DS9)

  5. Ezri Tigan (not Dax) and Intendent Kira, and Ezri and Leeta. She may be a Trill, but she’s an unjoined Trill, so no past lives. And a very butch little number at that. So they actually did have real live Dykes In Space. But… it’s an alternate universe. And Kira gets to be a Sharon-Stone-type Evil Lesbian. Oopsie. And the episode wasn’t even that good. (“The Emperor’s New Cloak” DS9)

Come on. This is Star Trek for gods’ sakes. They had the first interracial kiss on TV, and that wasn’t exactly a popular move at the time. (“Plato’s Stepchildren” TOS) I don’t recall the continuing mission being to seek out new life and new heterosexuals.

It is high damn time for some Space Queers.

(On the other hand… there’s gay subtext galore. One thinks of Picard/Q (“Good morning, darling!”), O’Brien/Bashir (“I love Ezri, but I actually like you more.”), Garak/Bashir, and the ever-popular Paris/Kim (insert entire dialogue from “The Chute” VOY).)

I’ve always suspected that if Facts of Life had been made today, Jo would have been a lesbian.

I have liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the past couple of season, but my opinion of it shot up when the Tara/Willow relationship started to develop. It was so nice to see a friendship blossoming into a romance with no angst. Having every gay relationship treated like a political message gets tiring after a while, so this was a nice change of pace.

An episode of the X-Files written and directed by Gillian Anderson had a character that just happened to be a lesbian. It was treated with a very casual air, but still an acquantance of mine managed to be offended at how homosexuality was “shoved” in her face.

/minor hijack

Hey, andygirl. Have you seen Chutney Popcorn? I highly recommend it.

Xena and Gabrielle don’t count any more, IMHO… the show has just been going downhill since last season. Their “relationship” has been backed off to the point that it’s quite annoying.

Besides… I’m getting sick of subtext. I mean, gay couples don’t live on wistful looks.

Even worse than serial subtext is when a character “goes gay” for an episode, or decides to kiss another girl because it’s sweeps week. Ally McBeal and Party of Five much?

dartmouth is going to be showing Chutney Popcorn in a few weeks, actually. :slight_smile: They’re having this whole gay film series. I’m quite excited.

Well, they’res Talia and Ivonova from Babylon 5, matt… course, that didn’t last long.

Heh. That’s what you get for watching Ally McBeal in the first place, andygirl. :slight_smile:

Every time I meet someone, they’re either a terrorist, a psychic doppelganger, a british lunitic, or an insane telepathic mesiah . . .

Tried to post this yesterday. I trusted the CGI, and it let me down (oh the humanity.) To recap -

Willow and Tara were definitely one of the best developments of season 4, and the best romantic couple. Perhaps that’s not so hard when your romance competition is Buffy/Riley, Xander/Anya, and the never seen Giles/Olivia, but still…

Realistic, possibly. The quality may be questionable, but all of the last 2 seasons of H:LotS was questionable. Det. Tim Bayliss discovered his bisexuality in mid-season 6. He was then ignored for the next season. True that his character was supposed to be very passive and isolated after having been shot & losing his partner. But, IIRC, network idiocy also reared its ugly head (ahem) here. Thus the trauma of Falsone, Ballard, and the peaches. I’m shuddering even as I type.

But anyway, Tim Bayliss, whether focused on or ignored, was about as fascinating (and well-acted) a character as has ever been on television. Viva FrankenTim.

“Love Sidney” ran from 1981-83. Randall’s character started out gay, but the idea is changed early in the show’s run and is never spoken of again.

“Soap”, BTW, ran from 1976-81.