Is television Finally Ditching The ‘Gay Best Friend’?
“The ‘gay closest friend’ trope is homosexuality on right people’s terms. We deserve better. “
Gays! They’re every-where these full times: inside our domiciles, within our groups, inside our politics, and flocking together like tropical birds on our truth television shows.
When it comes to television representation, we’re doing much better than before. We’ve got gay wizards, gay superheroes and homosexual teenage detectives on our displays. We’ve got trans and gender non-binary characters in a few tv shows, such as for example Orange may be the brand brand New Ebony and clear. But as heartening because it’s seeing people that are LGBTQI screen, showrunners continue to have a responsibility to be sure these figures are far more than easy ticks in a package.
We deserve figures that fulfil more function than merely being gay and on-screen. We deserve much better than the storied and egregious ‘gay well friend’.
Where There’s A Will (And Grace) There’s A Way
The homosexual closest friend happens to be a television basic for a long time now. If there’s a female on television having intimate dilemmas, you better think there clearly was a sassy homosexual label providing her wise yet arch advice. Think Stanford Blatch from Intercourse in addition to City, who was simply defined by the hunger that is endless Carrie’s non-stop drama and bad relationship choices. He had been the template for the homosexual closest friend — the Platonian ideal.
George from Julia Robert’s film that is best My Best Friend’s Wedding was another notable person in the GBF (Gay closest friend) vanguard.
They constantly appear to be males also, using the few samples of lesbian closest friend handling to fall outside of the faculties of the trope. That is most likely because lesbian exposure on tv is significantly reduced than homosexual guys (imagine if Buffy began a trope of lesbian close friends whom want to flay guys with dark miracle).
The homosexual closest friend is fundamentally defined by just how much of a accessory he could be towards the right protagonist. He’s basically just pulled away for unique occasions, whenever some one requires an ear that is sympathetic a shopping montage, or maybe some gossip in a cocktail club. In Intercourse together with City’s heyday, the gay friend that is best became an indication of status for the cultured, inner-city woman — as essential as a set of Manolo Blahniks or a Cosmopolitan.
“It’s homosexuality on right people’s terms. ”
The issue using this trade in stereotypical homosexual males is it implicitly describes exactly just exactly what an ‘acceptable’ form of homosexuality seems like — plus in television, that is defined by what’s commercially viable. Whilst the GBF is inherently bound up in notions of sex, these are typically hardly ever regarded as sexual beings. The work of homosexual sex continues to be tip-toed around on plenty of tv, particularly commercial companies which can be directed at ‘families’. In some instances, this will probably also expand to shows of homosexual love.
While nevertheless being represented, xlovecam. com the homosexual friend that is best becomes concealed behind an outdated group of actions and behaviours, cloaked by appropriate, non-threatening stereotypes.
Most of the conservative reaction to homosexuality is approximately ‘not forcing it down people’s throats’. Aside from becoming a terminology that is overtly sexual this really is the sort of homophobia that the GBF trope frequently plays into. It is homosexuality on right people’s terms, as opposed to real representation of exactly how homosexual individuals reside.
If the just person that is gay a show is offered unequal time with regards to their love — or their love life is also addressed due to the fact comic relief, we’re overtly being told that straight people’s love isn’t just more crucial, but in addition the standard. We’re being told that homosexuality is significantly diffent, the ‘other’. Both Will and Grace had been the key figures inside their very own show, for example — but because revolutionary as which was at enough time — we undoubtedly heard much more about Grace’s love life.
Too Gay To Work
It is a trope who has gradually been placed off to pasture, but it is specially interesting to analyse with a number of programs through the era that is golden of now getting reboots. The SATC that is short-lived spin-off Carrie Diaries had its very own precursor to Stanford Blatch, Gilmore Girls rebooted having a partner for Michel, and certainly will and Grace is on its far too.
It feels like new shows are taking more care in developing new gay characters although I don’t want to be complacent. The club happens to be raised therefore high with gorgeously three-dimensional homosexual figures and their complex homosexual romances in programs like Sense8 or Please Like Me, so it shines a stark comparison on demonstrates that aren’t setting up quite the exact same work.
This present year, Netflix’s new teen-drama Riverdale includes a homosexual character within the blandly handsome Kevin. Kevin has also been homosexual within the Archie comics from where the show was based, although he had been an addition that is late just joining the gang this season (which attained the comics a GLAAD prize at that time). But the TV is being watched by me form of him such as a hawk.
At the moment, whilst the show shows a wonderful self-awareness towards the homosexual closest friend trope
— also referencing the cliche that is out-of-date title in a slick burn by syrup heiress Cheryl Blossom — they continue to have prioritised not just most of the right individuals romances over his or her own, but also Archie’s never-ending quest to play ‘Wonderwall’. Each time a bro’s love of guitar is prioritised on the one queer relationship in a show, we get suspicious.
Everyone’s fave that is problematic Girls, in addition has ignited conversation regarding the trope. Though he’s been the main topic of critique in past times, Hannah’s closest friend Elijah was handed a lot of development into the show’s final periods.
He was also given space to grow through a complicated and full relationship (with full on-screen sex) as well as a standalone episode that focussed on a potential career path while he was always a go-to for support, bitchy gossip, and coke-fuelled nights out. Elijah may not be the primary focus for the show — maybe not being one of several titular Girls — but he’s positively characterised as the full and genuine individual with dilemmas and arcs, who lives outside of Hannah’s issues.
Narratively, it is well well worth having this variety of romances — by limiting the GBF to a staid supporting role, we’re restricting the range of our very own stories. We’re restricting the worth of our representation on display screen, forcing people that are queer impractical moulds. And we’re restricting what number of men that are hot reach see kissing, and that we won’t stand for.
Patrick Lenton is just a author and writer. He tweets at @patricklenton.