I gotta wonder …
With all the screeching about indecency on television, how does it feel for all those Puritanical zealots in those Red States — mine included — to face very sympathetic portrayals of gay life in TV drama?
I’d insert links to the whole Desperate Houswives/Monday Night Football and Saving Private Ryan snits but I’m way too lazy and you’ve all heard about it by now.
In “Lost Boys“, Jack (Matt Long) faces guilt over the suicide of a longtime friend, who came out to him a year earlier. In “It’s Raining Men“, investigators look into the 1983 murder of an AIDS activist.
“Lost Boys” rang really true for me because that was the exact situation where I confronted my own sexuality — developing feelings for my best friend in high school. The way Matt (Patrick J. Adams) stumbles over his words in trying to articulate his feelings for Jack reminded me of the time I was trying to make sense of what I was feeling for my friend when I told him. I didn’t understand it, so I couldn’t make him understand it either.
It feels weird that a TV show would mirror my experience.
(Of course, the first feature film written and directed by Greg Berlanti, the show’s creator, was The Broken Hearts Club, a somewhat mediocre film about friendships between gay men. I watched it again this weekend and came to the conclusion it wasn’t as bad as I first thought it was — it would have made better TV than cinema.)
Cold Case, on the other hand, was a lot more forward. Some of the scenes in “It’s Raining Men” included two men showing affection for each other and a very extended gay marriage scene at the end. One tableaux showed a gay couple carrying a baby, fawning over pets through a store window. The episode also contained a scene in a bathhouse.
For some reason, it strikes me as more subversive to portray a relationship between two men as loving, as opposed to, say, Queer as Folk (UK, of course, because the US version sucks), where it’s primarily physical. Perhaps its because humanizing gay people in mainstream media could have a contrarian effect on the rhetoric of bigotry that seems very fashionable this decade. That would qualify as subversive.