Queer as Talk

I’m still chewing my way through Queer as Folk (since the episodes are rather long I usually only manage to watch two in a row before falling asleep and I don’t watch every evening to boot, so I’m not quite through) and as chance will have it, an interesting interview popped up on The Hollywood Reporter. While I’m not going to deny that the series as such is important and has done a lot for the LGBT community, Some points still need discussion (edited for brevity, please read the original article). So let’s have it.

How do you think Queer as Folk helped to break down the stereotypes about the gay community?

Unfortunately I think that’s where the series fails on some level. Yes, we do have a sex life and on any given day look like normal people, but what irks me is that the series itself counteracts its own good intentions of defacing stereotypes by resorting to other clichées. Partying every night? Having casual sex whenever there’s a chance? Getting high on Poppers and other drugs? Gangbangs in darkrooms? Running porn web sites? Having an overbearing “gayer than you” mother? The list could go on quite a bit, but I feel that this is not a world I live in or ever experienced and unfortunately the series fails to transport some of the more mundane, yet relevant problems of everyday life.

At the same time of course pretty much every gay stereotype is true – there’s always some sissy boy and drag queen as there is some bear and chaser or the cute guy next door. In the end it’s ultimately not so much about doing away with those stereotypes, but rather accepting them as a representation of the manifold diversity of people, regardless of their sexual orientation and preferences. And as someone who is into BDSM and other kinky stuff I sure know enough straight or bisexual people that always make me wonder “Really?” if you get my meaning. I’m sure some people would be surprised what their neighbors do for kicks… ;-)

How did you approach writing the sex scenes?

Lipman: (…) It’s not just having sex. They were like arias.

Cowan: It was psychological. (…)

Thanks professors, but no, thanks. This is a lame excuse, if ever there was one. Many of the sex scenes are actually just bad porn and having minute-long shots of Justin and Brian getting it on to make up after a fight still gets boring. And, well, again I don’t find any of it particularly representative with regards to displaying a wide choice of techniques… ;-)

Let’s jump to the series finale: A lot of fans were disappointed that Brian and Justin didn’t wind up getting married at the end.

Cowan: He and Michael had a falling out and ended their friendship over it because Brian called Michael a “Stepford f—g,” meaning he had become a fake straight person. In Brian’s mind, there was only one thing worse than a straight person: a fake straight person, meaning a gay person who was trying to imitate the way straight people lived their life. …

Actually I think that’s putting it the wrong way. Gay people don’t necessarily imitate heterosexual life, they just adopt and adapt to certain conditions. The irony here is that I’m the person who would just love to have a loving partner and five children, but at the same time I’m well aware that this most likely would not be possible due to my own complicated nature, needs and desires. Ultimately I think that this inner struggle and constantly being torn between the two worlds makes it so difficult. It’s so easy to be sort of discriminated from both sides.

Lipman: Brian is the most moral person on the show; he had his own code and was always honest.

Absolutely! While in the first few episodes I really hated him, he kinda grows on you for being so consistent.

A lot of the political issues addressed on the show are still very relevant today.

Unfortunately yes.

Have you thought about doing a revival?

I certainly would be interested. If one wasn’t/ isn’t into certain comedy series and the occasional alibi gay/ lesbian couple on other series, there’s actually very few stuff out there. It’s a straight world, after all…


3 comments on “Queer as Talk

  1. I loved Justin. I looked at the show as entertainment only. There were lots of issues brought up and some resolved without real thought, such as Ted’s addiction. Enjoy it for what it is, fun, fantasy and another peek at gay life.

    • Of course I understand that there is fictionalization and dramatization and I’m more than enjoying it – I had some insane laughs at some (blowjob) scenes with Emmett and that sort of thing and the time it represents is, after all, the same when I was roaming the discos (come to think of it, I could be any one of the group since I’m just that age) – but some things feel a bit off. I guess my peeve here is that the interview on THR makes claims it can’t deliver on when you actually know the series…

      • I watched it the first time round and I was spellbound. I live in a very gay city, so it wasn’t like I was some hick in the boonies. But these were the first real characters in real situations on TV, even if it was on Logo. I loved tuning in each week, just like with Desperate Housewives. When those series ended, they left a void. I truly lived in those characters. I’m glad you posted the article. I wish they’d do a new series, updated, refreshed.

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