Queer As Folk

"I haven't sold my soul, I'm just billing for time and expenses." - Brian

Queer As Folk first aired in 2000 on Showtime and was a groundbreaking show that paved the way for greater acceptance of the gay community on other television shows. The show was set in Pittsburgh and centered on a group of friends and their everyday lives of work and play. Throughout the five seasons, the characters all grew and changed as they dealt with their own personal struggles and achievements, as well as social issues that affected their community as a whole.

The main draw of the show to me was the likable cast of well rounded characters and how they acted and grew realistically throughout the series. It was also interesting that although the main character of the show was Michael, most of the focus was placed on Brian Kinney. Brian was a really unique character and watching his struggles and the way he handled (or didn't handle) certain situations was always intriguing. He wanted to live life on his own terms and didn't always make the best choices when trying to protect himself, for reasons it didn't even seem that he fully understood. Ruining Michael's birthday and outing him, keeping his visits to Justin in the hospital a secret, and hiding his cancer diagnosis and treatment for example, really demonstrated how troubled Brian was and it was very compelling to watch such a conflicted character try to deal with what life dealt him.

Throughout the series there were a lot of romantic pairings and it was interesting to watch the different dynamics between all of the couples. Although Brian and Justin were a very popular couple among fans of the show, they never really appealed to me. Brian made it clear from the start that he was not interested in monogamy, and it just wasn't fair of Justin to expect Brian to change for him or hold Brian's values against him when he knew what he was getting into. For that reason I really enjoyed Justin and Ethan and felt they were a really well matched pairing. It was unfortunate that lazy writing broke them apart to watch more of Justin and Brian's drama. Michael and Ben were my favorite couple on the show and I really enjoyed watching their relationship progress from their initial meeting to being married with a foster son. I also loved Ted and Blake and was so happy with the scene in the final episode when Blake finally appeared at a time when they were both able to fully be present for one another. I also enjoyed Emmett with both George and then later with Drew - it was sweet that Emmett always had a picture of George in his house, and hopefully he and Drew could be together again at some point in the future.

For a show that focused a lot on the romantic side of relationships, a lot of care was also put into the friendships and family bonds. It was really nice to see just how important Michael and Brian were to each other and that it wasn't pushed to the side when they were in relationships. Brian, for example, always put his work above everything, but when Michael called him when Ben was in the hospital, he left his business meeting without even a second thought. As Emmett once told Ted, the friendship they shared would last a lot longer than most marriages. He more than anyone was able to understand the value of the family he chose for himself when his actual family rejected him and he had to leave his hometown. As for families, it was interesting to see how Brian struggled with his feelings of being a father to Gus while trying to come to terms with his own troubled relationship with his parents and sister. While Justin's mother tried so hard to be understanding and accepting of his sexuality, Lindsay's parents turned a blind eye to her wife, and while Brian's mother told him he was going to Hell, Debbie wanted to walk with Michael in Pride.

Some of the topics the show covered could be very uncomfortable to watch, such as Ted's descent after his legal troubles, losing his business and home, and ultimately his drug use which led to the destruction of his relationships with Emmett and everyone he cared for. It was also hard to watch Brian's silent struggle with his cancer and the after effects of that, not the least of which was the difficult acceptance of his own mortality. These types of issues were handled pretty well and it was fulfilling to watch Ted's slow and eventual progress to turning his life back around, or Brian's realization that even though he wouldn't always be young and beautiful that he still had worth and could make something of his life.

As a whole the show was really enjoyable and I like to rewatch the episodes. Although it could be overly sexual and gratuitous at times, the character moments and growth were great and really made the show what it was. It was really nice to see Michael go from a closeted worker at the Big Q with no direction to the owner of his own comic book store who was much more assertive and proud in his life. When the characters made bad decisions, the show didn't seem to want you to judge them a certain way, they were just showing that they just being human and it made it very realistic. It was also kind of refreshing that even though the show spent so much time on Brian and Justin's relationship, that they ended up apart at the end. It seemed important to show that even though they cared about each other, they wanted different things from life, and that they could be happy even without the big wedding, dream house, and fairytale ending.

Michael, Ben, Emmett, Brian, Hunter
Brian Kinney, Michael Novotny, Emmett Honeycutt
Pride, Accentuate the Positive, Sick, Sick, Sick, Bowling for Equality, Liberty Ride
Liberty Ride, Priorities, Please! (Beat the Time), The Election
Ben/Michael, Michael and Brian, Emmett/Drew, Ted/Blake, Justin/Ethan, Debbie and Emmett
Brian/Michael, Ted/Blake, Emmett/Drew, Justin/Ethan, Michael/Ben and Hunter, Ted and Emmett, Debbie and Emmett