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"Queer as Folk" and gay stereotypes


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Hi,

 

Since another thread has just addressed the issue of perpetuating negative stereotypes about gay culture, what do you all think about this show? An accurate reflection of gay society (or at least a part of it), a perpetuation of the most negative of gay stereotypes, or something in between?

 

And I learned a new term on tonight's episode -- scarfing. I wonder what we have instore next season, fisting and/or stuffing gerbels up Brian's ass?

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Something in between and something that's been missing from mainstream TV for a long time.

 

Yes the writing could be better. Yes, the acting could be better. (Would someone PLEASE put Hal Sparks out of my misery?)

 

But it is a slice of gay life (OK, not *every* gay life) seen on network (OK, cable) television every week. This is as much a landmark as Archie Bunker was.

 

I see people I know in every character. I know a Brian. I *was* a Justin. I know a Ted and an Emmett. Is it complete or accurate? Well no. It isn't meant to be.

 

I wore a t-shirt with the Queer as Folk logo on it to today's Pride Parade here in Chicago. I was *amazed* at the number of people who stopped me to say "WHOA! WHAT A GREAT SHOW!"

 

Two thumbs up to Showtime!

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Deej-

I couldn't agree with you more (except maybe about Hal Sparks...I don't think he is that bad and he is sorta cute). I too can recognize real life acquaintances in every character and situation. While it certainly does not depict the gay life style that I am currently living, it is very entertaining. I look forward each week to the new episode and have become addicted. I have taped the whole series and will re-watch it as a marathon sometime this summer. Can't wait to see what happens in the fall!

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i enjoy the show as i do any tv show, as fiction. while the people pictured do not show ALL gay people it is a picture of some. i do not worry about the sterotyping as i do not think too many straight people watch the show.

 

i enjoyed "tales of the city" that was in the same time slot a few weeks back. i think it might have had a larger audience.

 

as for sterotyping to a very broad audience, what about "the producers". while roger de briss and carma ghia were in the movie and just as swishy, the play added the rest of roger's crew and enlarged the parts and the gay sterotypes. yes, i enjoyed the play and would have given it the tony's it got, however, this aspect did bother me. i did wonder why there were no pickets in front of the theater. i wondered what the reaction of the gay community would have been if this was written and performed for a republican fund raiser for george bush or jessie helms; i could imagine bomb threats and pickets and press editorials full of condemnation. are there two standards: one for the liberals and one for the conseratives?

 

what this does is to lower the bar as to what is acceptable. the next time someone makes a gay joke, the reaction is likely to be, what's wrong or the joke was in "the producers". there is no question that bill clinton lowered the standard as to what is acceptable behavior as his supporters claimed "it's only sex"; isn't that why they threw out senator packwood? the next republican who does such things (and there will be one) can raise the same defense as bill clinton. the next person making a gay joke can raise the mel brook's defense.

 

i think mel brooks is funny and i loved the show but just raise the question. in some of his past works, the gay sterotype shows up; as i recall, at the end of "blazing saddles" the dance routine and dancers were clearly gay.

 

one last thing, the movie dates to the late 60's and is one of the first very open, clearly gay pictures of gay men; there is no question about roger and his assistant. it was probabally more harmful at the time in forming people's ideas as to the behavior of gay people as there was nothing positive in general circulation. at least the are now positive role models.

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Well, most of American tv strays so far from reality that I don't expect this show to be much different. That said, certain aspects of these characters are familiar to me. What's disappointing (but again, consistent with most tv) is the lack of real depth of any of the characters.

 

I agree that Hal Sparks has to be one of the worst actors on the series. Hopefully his character will move to Portland and be phased out of next season. If not, perhaps the producers will suggest some good acting lessons for him which will stretch his ability to emote beyond scrunching up his face.

 

Queer As Folk is like sex with a stranger - a fun romp, but meaningless in the end. There is a lot of eye candy, however, and it is fun to see gay and lesbian sexuality on tv. That's why I'm still watching.

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Guest curious2000

I have really enjoyed this series and although not as well written and acted as it could be, it is very accurate at times and find myself still not beleiveing this on mainstream t.v. ( ok, cable). Finally a television show that does not hold back on sexual situations and shows two men deep french kissing, like all of those soap operas have shown heterosexuals doing this for decades!

 

I can relate to Michael ( Hal Sparks) when I was in my 20's. I had a roomate in college exactly like Brian. I now relate mostly to Ted. It really is a landmark direction for gay television and hope it continues and will be as "normal" to see this type of series as it is other dramas involving "slice of life" relationships. It sort of remind me of the old "Knots Landing" but with all gays. It's about time!

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It sort of remind me of the old "Knots Landing" but with all gays. It's about time!

 

I've seen it compared to "Dynasty" on other boards, so "Knots Landing" isn't much of a stretch either. Just another "Dallas" spinoff. Just think of the Brian character as Joan Collins. ;-)

 

I watched the season finale last night, having spent most of the day at the Chicago Pride parade. It was predictable, and they'd leaked enough details you could tell where it was going. Still enjoyable.

 

Next week, they're showing a rerun with "picture in picture" featuring actor/producer/director commentaries. Should be interesting.

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Guest BenDover

QAF, warts and all, is a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere that has been completely saturated with heterosexualism since before my Dad brought home our first TV in 1958. Stereotypical? You bet, just like every other program on TV. I may be overly optomistic, but I hope American viewers will be able to appreciate the concept of what a stereotype is and how entertainment is filled with them, gay or straight. Who finds the banal or ordinary entertaining? We want to see the bitch, the flirt, the seducer, the miser, the whore...to briefly fill in the little gaps in our ordinary lives. I experience QAF as an answer to the void in gay entertainment. Thank God we are beyond the days when we all used to sit on the edges of our chairs every week, wondering if Stephen was finally going to actually kiss his boyfriend on Dynasty, then groan when he decided, AGAIN, that he was in love with Sammy Jo, thanks to the producers and sponsors nervous nelly, chicken-shit wallets.

So, whore away, Brian; flirt wildly, Justin; one more outrageous outfit, Emmett; go for the druggie, Ted; throw one more stuffy elegant dinner party, Michael; and Debbie, wear bigger PFLAG buttons that we can read more easily. Bring it on, dammit. Its our turn!

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Guest pickwick

I haven't seen the American version but I have seen the British version on which it is based. I believe most if not all of the characters and plots in the American version have counterparts in the British version.

 

I enjoyed the show on one level but on another I was not very happy about a program that portrayed gay men as interested in nothing but debauchery. I suppose if there many other programs with different portrayals of gay men it wouldn't matter but there aren't, are there?

 

There was one scene that impressed me. One of the characters goes to a club and brings home a trick who gives him some heroin, which he snorts after some hesitation, he's not a regular user and is only doing it to make the trick happy. He has a seizure and dies then and there. The trick runs away and the body isn't found for several days. Later when the funeral arrangements are being made the man's mother asks another of the characters, "If my son weren't gay would this have happened? Would he have died like this?" I didn't know what to say to this and still don't. But I think it gives a very unfortunate impression of the way gay men live.

 

I understand that in the American version the same character doesn't die but recovers from the overdose. I suppose American producers think that the American audience can't stand something as stark as what happened in the British version.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

Stereotypical? You bet, just like every other program on TV.

 

Check out Six Feet Under (HBO)definitely not sterotypical -- what a hoot!! Unhappily it conflicts with QAF but fortunately they both repeat enough to catch them both.

 

I try to catch QAF when I can, warts and all -- it is ground breaking. I caught two of the 'More Tales of the CIty' and thought that series a notch or two higher in quality. So I wait for the repeats and the repeats of Tales in the City. Eventually I'll see them all -- I hope. :-)

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>There was one scene that impressed

>me. One of the

>characters goes to a club

>and brings home a trick

>who gives him some heroin,

>which he snorts after some

>hesitation, he's not a regular

>user and is only doing

>it to make the trick

>happy. He has a

>seizure and dies then and

>there. The trick runs

>away and the body isn't

>found for several days.

>Later when the funeral arrangements

>are being made the man's

>mother asks another of the

>characters, "If my son weren't

>gay would this have happened?

> Would he have died

>like this?" I didn't

>know what to say to

>this and still don't.

>But I think it gives

>a very unfortunate impression of

>the way gay men live.

>

>

>I understand that in the American

>version the same character doesn't

>die but recovers from the

>overdose. I suppose American

>producers think that the American

>audience can't stand something as

>stark as what happened in

>the British version.

 

 

That scene impressed you? It depressed the hell out of me!

 

Yes, American audiences can't stomach that stuff. But

 

 

SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT!!!!!!!

 

 

we'll just have to deal with a gay-bashing incident where the cute blond teenager gets whacked in the head with a baseball bat and we don't know whether he survives. Or what happens to the whacker.

 

We all know American audiences have no stomach for the rough stuff. And we all know American audiences have no stomach for checking a drug user into rehab (only to have him walk out). And we all know American audiences have no stomach for older gay men arrested unjustly for exposing themselves to an undercover cop.

 

Unless you've watched it, be careful what judgements you toss around hon.

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Guest ChicagoCorey

>>I understand that in the American

>>version the same character doesn't

>>die but recovers from the

>>overdose. I suppose American

>>producers think that the American

>>audience can't stand something as

>>stark as what happened in

>>the British version.

>

 

Actually, I think that particular scene had a lot more to do with the dynamics of British television than anything about the audiences. The UK QAF was planned to be exactly what it was -- a 13-episode series whereas the American version was always planned on being larger and focusing on more characters. In other words, whereas the "Ted" character in the UK version died, they wanted him around longer in the US version because there was more story to tell.

 

-------

[email protected]

new site and pictures

http://www.geocities.com/chicagocorey

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I have watched every episode of the North American QAF (as well as the British version). While "our" QAF definitely was based on the Brits' version, it has significantly departed from theirs, story wise, since the very early episodes. Even the characters have evolved beyond the British models.

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Guest Joey Ciccone

RE: Normal gay stereotypes

 

> Stereotypical? You bet.....

> Who finds the banal

>or ordinary entertaining?

 

The answer to that may explain why another 'landmark gay program' was pulled off the air after only 6 or seven episodes. Was Normal Ohio too normal? Perhaps it was too indicative of many americans' actual gay experiences (coming out at middle age after first living the hetero life). Do people really prefer glamour and the wanton use of the word "fuck" to the possibly more stereotypically accurate representations put forth by the producers of Normal, Ohio? I guess so since nobody watched that show. Maybe if it had been set in liberally fabulous Pittsburgh, like QAF, there would have been more escapism in the fleeting forms of youth, beauty, and drama in Normal. I only caught one episode, but the characterizations of those living the life in Normal seemed to be about as accurate as those on QAF, just different age ranges.

Was that show even ever discussed on these boards? Was there no public outcry from the gay community, demanding their gaytv? Or did even a gay audience recognize the fact that Normal Ohio was an unfunny sitcom starring unattractive people?

 

>I experience QAF as an answer

>to the void in gay

>entertainment.

 

It is one of the few things out there to latch onto, if a person is the latching type searching for icons of lifestyle choice. As far as plain old entertainment, it's adequate fun, although after seeing the Celluloid Closet, I'm not sure how harmless it is. And I think both gay and straight audiences deserve better in regards to the writing, but the direction and editing are top shelf.

QAF fans should not think I'm bashing that show, I'm just curious why it's considered groundbreaking and Normal Ohio is off the air. And why is Will and Grace a hit, but not mentioned half as much as QAF? And howcum no one thinks of Felix Unger as the godfather of gaytv, and why is the sky blue?

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Guest pickwick

>Unless you've watched it, be careful

>what judgements you toss around

>hon.

 

"Hon?" Don't try getting fresh with me, young man! :-)

 

Actually, when I said American producers may feel their audience is not up for something stark, I wasn't referring to violence or death. What one sees in American TV and movies indicates producers think the audience has a huge appetite for that. What I meant was that they seem to think the audience doesn't want to see unhappy endings involving main characters like "Ted."

 

I think there may be some truth in what Corey said, at least what he said is very similar to what the producers of (American) QAF said in a recent interview with the Advocate. But I think I'm right too. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence. Why do you suppose the producers of the movie version of "The Scarlet Letter" changed the ending of a novel that is still in print after 150 years? I think it's the same reason Paramount nixed a film version of the novel "An Innocent Millionaire" starring Tom Cruise and produced by Merchant/Ivory because the producers refused to change the ending of the book, in which the protagonist dies. Hollywood only likes happy endings.

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>Actually, when I said American producers

>may feel their audience is

>not up for something stark,

>I wasn't referring to violence

>or death. What one

>sees in American TV and

>movies indicates producers think the

>audience has a huge appetite

>for that. What I

>meant was that they seem

>to think the audience doesn't

>want to see unhappy endings

>involving main characters like "Ted."

 

Perhaps. And you're entitled to that perception. Perhaps the death of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Titanic was lost on you?

 

Corey is *exactly* on the mark. In fact, he almost directly quotes Russell Davies (the creator of the UK version). The original was intended to be exactly what it was, and then be finished with all story lines neatly resolved and tied up in a pretty lavendar ribbon. The US version is going for a much longer run (and I'm glad it is!) therefore they invest more in character development and are less likely to kill off one of the main players.

 

My only point is that you admit to not having seen the show, but have a strong opinion about it. Watch it before criticizing is all I meant.

 

And what's this? You don't like it when guys get fresh with you? You naughty boy! :-)

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Guest pickwick

>Perhaps. And you're entitled to that

>perception. Perhaps the death of

>Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Titanic

>was lost on you?

>

 

Indeed it was. Wild horses couldn't drag me to a movie made by a hack like James Cameron.

 

>My only point is that you

>admit to not having seen

>the show, but have a

>strong opinion about it. Watch

>it before criticizing is all

>I meant.

>

 

Excuse me, but I made no criticism of the American show. My remark was about the perceptions of American producers concerning their audience. All I said about the show itself is that the "Ted" character didn't die, which I believe is quite right.

 

 

>And what's this? You don't like

>it when guys get fresh

>with you? You naughty boy!

 

 

Don't even think about it. :-)

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RE: Normal gay stereotypes

 

Felix Unger was MY first gay icon. Then, a few years later, came the bitchy camraderie of Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Sommers, and Gene Rayburn on Match Game. Maybe we should be discussing The Game Show Network's recent Match Game marathon instead of QAF.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

RE: Spoiler Alert!!!! PIC

 

jizz,

 

I was down with your pics until this one... dump this and keep the 'gel' guys comming.

 

And it is a good idea of offer a pic alert in the subject line to warn those on 2400 baud modems that an all-night download is pending.

 

:-)

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