The good news? We're at a time in television history when the gay character is now a staple of mainstream programming with characters serving functions that are well outside their sexuality. And, surprise, they even get to have relationships!
The bad news? Well, there isn’t much of that at all. Sure, we can complain about the slower pace of HBO’s “Looking” or that maybe the gays on “Modern Family” are stereotypical and rarely show any physical affection. But, hey, we’re there and we’re not just there for that ‘special episode.’ That, to me, is progress.
So, here are some of our favorite gay couples on the air right now and while I’m aware this isn’t everyone, it’s a damn good start, right?
Lena and Stef (“The Fosters“): Who would’ve guessed ABC Family would be the place to find a drama series with a lesbian couple (played by Sherri Saum and Teri Polo) at its center. But in the series, created by out producers Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg and Exec Produced by Jennifer Lopez, the subtle message is that this is a new kind of family and one that is probably more reflective of today than the ancient image of a television family. The series is only in its first season and already a critical and fan favorite.
Mitch & Cam (“Modern Family“): Groundbreaking in the fact that they are part of a hugely successful mainstream sitcom and while their being gay does come up, both Mitch and Cam are well rounded characters with other characteristics outside of their sexuality including being parents. With multiple awards for both the show and Eric Stonestreet (Cam) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell), the series is still going strong.
Nolan & Patrick (“Revenge“): After a dismal 2nd season affair between Nolan (Gabriel Mann) and Padma, the producers planted the pride flag in Nolan’s yard and gave him a hot lover in Patrick (Justin Hartley), the long-lost son of Queen Bee Victoria (Madeleine Stowe). And while the snarky techie and the down-to-earth goody two shoes may have seemed like an odd pairing, Patrick is showing that he’s definitely Victoria’s son and can hold his own with the rest of the manipulators. The future is never happy for anyone on the ABC soap but let’s hope Patrick sticks around for awhile.
Kurt & Blaine AND Santana & Brittany (“Glee“): Say what you will about the overall quality of the Fox series, it definitely has gone further than most other series with its LGBT characters. And with the guys represented by the long romance of Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt (Chris Colfer), there are just as many fans that want to see Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris) stop with all the drama and just be together!
Patrick & Richie or Patrick & Kevin (“Looking“): Everyone loves a good love triangle and the new HBO series ended its first season with a nice cliffhanger where Patrick (Jonathan Groff) had just slept with his boss (Russell Tovey) and shortly thereafter was told by Richie (Raul Castillo) that he was in love with him and wanted to be together. Complicated, yes, but the show wisely has given two good guys for Patrick to have to choose over next season.
Emily and Paige (“Pretty Little Liars“): Another kudos to ABCFamily, who greenlit a show where one of the main characters – a teenager for that matter – is a lesbian. Emily (Shay Mitchell) went through coming out in the early years of the show but has had her most successful relationship with Paige (Lindsey Shaw). Now, as long as Paige doesn’t turn out to be the villainous “A,” right? Here’s a clip from the show:
Callie and Arizona (“Grey’s Anatomy“): Talk about a long road! From their first interaction, fans went crazy for the hard as nails Callie (Sara Ramirez) and cheery, can-do anything Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) and while their relationship has seen more ups and downs than a yo-yo, they’ve weathered it all and are currently side by side and one of the more successful “Greys” couplings. Will they live happily ever after though? Time will tell…
Will & Sonny (“Days Of Our Lives“): While there have been gay characters in daytime before, they’ve been few and far between but the NBC soap helped bring back the genre from the dead and now the show is thriving and other daytime soaps (“General Hospital” for one) are embracing gay characters and romances. The key to Will (Guy Wilson) and Sonny’s (Freddie Smith) success with fans is that the show has treated them as any other couple with complications and love scenes that only draw the WilSon fans in more. Bravo!
Captain Holt & Kevin Cozner (“Brooklyn 99“): We knew Holt (Andre Braugher) was gay from the pilot episode of the Fox sitcom and last month we finally met his better half, husband Kevin (Marc Evan Jackson). The twosome have a lovely home and while Kevin initially wasn’t taken with Holt’s squad of misfits (including Andy Samberg), he eventually warmed to them. Hopefully we’ll see more of Kevin on the show and the happily married couple.
Sara & Nyssa (“Arrow“): One of the bigger shocks on the CW action drama was when Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) was confronted by her former League of Assassins cohort Nyssa (Katrina Law) and we thought they might fight but what they did was lock lips! Turns out Sara and Nyssa had been lovers, which was a welcome addition to a show that hadn’t had much gay in it yet as well as just instantly make two female characters way more interesting. Currently, Nyssa is gone and Sara is with Ollie (Stephen Amell) but hopefully she’ll be back to dig deeper into the relationship.
Who did I miss? Send me a tweet @JimHalterman and let me know since I’m not above doing a sequel to this post!
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.