My 5 Favorite Gaylord TV Characters
February 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
People can whine and bitch about how America oppresses gay rights too much and that it’s a travesty that gay marriage is still illegal in most states, but honestly, this country has come a very long way in the past three or four decades. Just 32 years ago, San Francisco mayor Harvey Milk was assassinated for being gay. When Magic Johnson got AIDS in the early 1990s, the first thing he did was deny that he’d been sleeping with men. How crazy is that? This man’s life was in severe danger, his basketball career was cut short, and his disease caused a significant amount of people to overreact and avoid sex, swimming pools and any other activity where there was a perceived chance of getting AIDS — and the first thing he does is deny he’s gay because that would ruin his image, cost him endorsement money and lose him sympathy due to the fact that “AIDS is God’s way of punishing fags” according to a lot of powerful religious nuts.
Pop culture has a funny way of mirroring society, and sure enough, very few gay characters appeared on TV throughout the 1980s and even into the 1990s. Luckily, our society has evolved to the point where gays can make a name for themselves and have successful careers. Obviously, to do so requires a lot of mental toughness and a strong, supportive network of family and friends, but my point is we’re evolving. And fast. TV has reflected this. Look at the above link again and notice how many shows have featured gays and lesbians since 2000.
At the risk of getting too political, I will now unveil my list of top 5 favorite gay TV characters. Three notes before I get started. (1.) There are no lesbians on this list. Sorry, but there aren’t as many lesbians as gay men on TV and the ones that are out there just aren’t interesting enough in my opinion. (2.) I’m only including characters from shows I watch. I try to watch most of the best shows out there of most genres, but if you feel I missed something, leave it in the comments. Reality TV doesn’t count, only fiction. (3.) I’ll try to keep SPOILERS to a minimum.
5. Lloyd Lee, Entourage
If you don’t like Ari Gold’s faithful assistant from Entourage, Lloyd, then you’re a gaycist. Lloyd is always there to help Ari out when he most needs him and even helped kind of save his marriage at one point, which turned out to be futile. They kind of stereotype him as the energetic sparkplug gaylord, but still, Lloyd kicks ass. And pounds ass. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
4. Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker, Modern Family
Ah, yes, the best couple on Modern Family checks in at no. 4. The best part about these two is that you don’t even think of them as being gay. They are just as relate-able, if not more so, than any other couple on TV. They make stupid mistakes, such as locking their adopted infant daughter in their car, they fight, they make up and they generally act like any other couple would. They just happen to be two men.
3. Mr. Garrison, South Park
Poor Mr. (Mrs.) Garrison, the South Park boys’ teacher. He/she has faced a lifelong struggle with his/her identity. First, he was a man who denied that he was gay despite obvious signs that indicated otherwise. Then, he became enraged at his father for refusing to sexually molest him as a child when he found out so many other kids had received that privilege. Afterward, Mr. Garrison embraced his homosexuality almost to a new extreme when he and Mr. Slave would perform diabolical sexual acts in the hopes of getting fired from the school and receiving a large settlement. Only the school board and students’ parents, who were trying to be more progressive, kept calling him “brave” for coming out of the closet and encouraged him to express himself. Frustrated, Mr. Garrison underwent a gruesome sex change operation and became known as Mrs. Garrison, which she thought would allow her to fully appreciate penis. Except then she decided to experiment with women, which confused her further. Eventually, Mrs. Garrison switched back to a man.
Who knows what’s in store for Mr. Garrison next? I just know he’ll be entertaining.
2. Tobias Funke, Arrested Development
The inspiration for the post, Tobias Funke from Arrested Development also struggles mightily with his identity. He’s married to a beautiful (not to mention superficial and lazy) heiress named Lindsay Bluth (who ironically is played by Portia De Rossi, a lesbian). But Tobias seems to have more of an interest in becoming an “actor,” which is basically an excuse for him to dress up in extremely flamboyant outfits. Whatever his sexuality, Tobias is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever seen on TV — his funniest attribute is that he’s a never-nude and therefore must wear short denim cut-offs at all times, even in the shower — and I’ve been told he only gets funnier (I have only watched the first season).
1. Omar Little, The Wire
This stick-up artist from The Wire is the most badass TV character of all time and the reason my respect for Obama shot up a little bit when he named Omar his favorite TV character. Omar has three different boyfriends that double as stick-up partners throughout the five seasons of The Wire, and at times he shows affection to them. It can be a little uncomfortable to watch, but it certainly doesn’t make me think any less of him, especially when he goes out on the streets and plays Baltimore’s version of Robin Hood; he robs drug dealers and then gives a good amount of that money to people in the run-down decaying urban city who need it. In a show full of colorful, vibrant characters who constantly challenge stereotypes, Omar is King.