Needs Some LGBT-ness: Daryl On ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Dallas’ and Ross Mathews to ‘American Ninja Warrior?’

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon on 'The Walking Dead' (AMC)

With Fall TV coming, there are a bevy of new out gay characters coming your way from Tyler Ritter in “The McCarthys” over at CBS, a gay law student (played by Jack Falahee) on the new Shonda Rhimes ABC drama “How To Get Away With Murder” and Tim Meadows and Dan Bucatinsky playing gay dads to Casey Wilson on NBC’s new romantic sitcom, “Marry Me. 

But what about existing shows that could actually use a gay character but either haven't had one or at least not taken full advantage of what one would bring to the world of the series? Incorporating a little bit of LGBT-ness in any show can do a number of things and here's a handy guide to help some current series get a little edgier, sexier and more fun.

Stirring The Pot: There are a number of characters on the prime time soap “Dallas” who are already causing trouble for the Ewing clan and even though the TNT drama is set in the traditionally not-so-progressive state of Texas, I’ve lived there and (gasp!) there are gay people in the Lone Star State! Here’s my pitch on how to make it happen: John Ross (Josh Henderson) may try to do the right thing at times but he is J.R. Ewing’s offspring so he also likes to cause some trouble. John Ross has been outbid for some shipping contracts that could help fund his latest drilling endeavor and, determined to take down the party who outbid him, he finds out that the culprit is an old college buddy, Sebastian. Basically, Sebastian is the gay version of John Ross. Confidently sexy, he always goes after what he wants with gusto and if there’s a chance to bed some hot Texas stud, he’s game. John Ross confronts Sebastian (at a boxing gym where he’s working out, of course!) and while Sebastian has no interest in giving up what is rightfully his, he does enjoy teasing John Ross about a certain drunken frat boy night where apparently inhibitions went out the window along with their clothes. “Why don’t you get in the ring with me, John Ross,” Sebastian says, wiping his sweaty chest with a towel. “I’m sure you haven’t forgotten how to take me down.” A grinning John Ross grabs a pair of boxing gloves and moves into the ring.

And, come on, Judith Light, as Judith Ryland, is not a gay character (that we know of) but she brings a certain, wonderful kind of camp to the show that a gay character like Sebastian could also contribute to, right?

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A Dose Of Reality: I hadn’t seen much of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” the first few summers it aired because it just looked like it was overflowing with straight guy testosterone but I’ve stumbled upon it one too many times this summer and am now a fan. Where else do you get men (and some women) who are not only the fittest of the fit but shameless adrenaline junkies who throw themselves into the crazy obstacle courses of the show? And while we already have guys gleefully ripping off their shirts and showing off their amazing torsos to get the crowd roaring (and, boy, do they roar!), I think the show would benefit from a gay commentator. Sure, current commentators Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila do a fine job talking about the contestants as they go through the course but a gay commentator would add just a little more flare. When was the last time Matt or Akbar commented on some of the outfits these guys wear? For example, let’s get Ross Mathews in the mix and while he’ll be perfectly adept at talking about the physical prowess of a contestant like Dorian Cedars, pictured below, he’d also be compelled to add, “Guys, I have to speak about the elephant in the room and that is Dorian’s yellow and black patterned shorts, which are making me think if he doesn’t make it through the monkey bars, he’s got a job waiting for him in ‘Magic Mike 2,’ okay?” I’m right there with you, Ross!

A contestant like Dorian Cedars has other options if "American Ninja Warrior" doesn't work out. (NBC)

Post-Apocalypic Gays: To its credit, AMC’s The Walking Dead” hasn’t been completely devoid of gay characters with out and proud Tara (Alanna Masterson), who had a too-brief connection last season with the slain Alisha (Juliana Harkavy). And while some applauded the show for the subtlety of introducing gay characters (that were not pulled from the comic books) and how they simply existed in the world, the news that Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) could be gay isn’t news anyone should brush off as being a silly want from gay viewers. Having Daryl come out would be huge for his character and the show but, unfortunately, showrunner Scott Gimple has said if it is true (and he’s not saying it is), we wouldn’t dive into that part of Daryl’s storyline anytime soon.

But, let’s face it. It would make total sense if Daryl had been playing for our team all this time, right? He’s really the anti-gay in terms of stereotypes, which only makes him sexier. In fact, I think zombie apocalypse or not, Daryl would look and act pretty much the way he does in the world on the show. First, he doesn’t care how he’s dressed yet it’s clear he likes a sleeveless shirt to show off his lean, muscled guns. And while you might call his hair ‘dirty sexy,’ I strongly believe he’d have the same tousled, unkempt head of hair if he were ordering his daily double shot of espresso from Starbucks in the heart of West Hollywood. One thing the show should do if and when Daryl comes out is not underplay it. The LGBT community is a huge part of our current world and, hello, our group of survivors is somewhere outside Atlanta, right? Well, Atlanta has a HUGE gay community and I can’t believe the majority of them are gone. If there’s a group of people that know how to survive even in the darkest of times, it’s the LGBT community, right?

What other shows do you think would benefit from having an LGBT character or person in the mix? Let me know via Twitter @jimhalterman.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast. 

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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