Is television Finally Ditching The ‘Gay Best Friend’?

Is television Finally Ditching The ‘Gay Best Friend’?

“The ‘gay closest friend’ trope is homosexuality on straight people’s terms. We deserve better. “

Gays! They’re everywhere these full days: inside our houses, within our groups, inside our politics, and flocking together like tropical birds on our truth television shows.

When it comes to TV representation, we’re doing a lot better than before. We’ve got gay wizards, homosexual superheroes and teenage that is gay on our displays. We’ve got trans and sex non-binary characters in a few tv shows, such as for example Orange could be the brand brand brand New Ebony and clear. But as heartening because it is seeing LGBTQI individuals on display, showrunners nevertheless have actually a responsibility to be sure these figures tend to be more than simple ticks in a package.

We deserve figures that fulfil more function than merely being on-screen and homosexual. 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 is a television basic for a long time now. If there’s a female on television having intimate problems, you better think there was a sassy homosexual label offering her wise yet arch advice. Think Stanford Blatch from Intercourse in addition to City, who had been defined by the hunger that is endless Carrie’s non-stop drama and bad relationship alternatives. He was the template when it comes to homosexual friend that is best — 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 aswell, because of the few types of lesbian closest friend handling to fall away from traits for this trope. This will be most likely because lesbian exposure on television is significantly smaller than homosexual guys (imagine if Buffy began a trope of lesbian close friends whom want to flay guys with dark secret).

The homosexual closest friend is eventually defined by simply how much of a accessory he’s into the right protagonist. He’s basically just pulled away for unique occasions, whenever somebody requires an ear that is sympathetic a shopping montage, or maybe some gossip in a cocktail club. In Intercourse plus the City’s heyday, the homosexual friend that is best became an indication of status for the cultured, inner-city woman — because essential as a couple of Manolo Blahniks or a Cosmopolitan.

“It’s homosexuality on right people’s terms. ”

The situation using this trade in stereotypical homosexual males is the fact that it implicitly describes exactly exactly just what an ‘acceptable’ kind of homosexuality seems like — plus in television, that’s defined by what’s commercially viable. As the GBF is inherently bound up in notions of sex, they have been hardly ever regarded as intimate beings. The work of homointercourseual intercourse continues to be tip-toed around on lots of television, particularly commercial systems which can be directed at ‘families’. This can even extend to displays of homosexual affection in some cases.

While nevertheless being represented, the homosexual closest friend becomes concealed behind an outdated collection of actions and behaviours, cloaked by appropriate, non-threatening stereotypes.

Most of the conservative a reaction to homosexuality is approximately ‘not forcing it down people’s throats’. Aside from being a terminology that is overtly sexual this is often the sort of homophobia that the GBF trope usually plays into. It is homosexuality on right people’s terms, in place of real representation of just how people that are gay.

Once the just person that is gay a show is provided unequal time with their love — or their love life is also addressed once the comic relief, we’re overtly being told that straight people’s love isn’t only more essential, but additionally the standard. We’re being told that homosexuality is significantly diffent, the ‘other’. Both Will and Grace had been the primary figures inside their very own show, for example — but because revolutionary as that has been at enough time — we absolutely heard more about Grace’s love life.

Too Gay To Operate

This is certainly a trope which includes gradually been placed off to pasture, but it is especially 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 a unique 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 is raised therefore high with gorgeously three-dimensional homosexual figures and their complex homosexual romances in programs like Sense8 or Please that it shines a stark contrast on shows that aren’t putting in quite the same effort like me.

This current year, Netflix’s teen-drama that is new comes with a homosexual character within the blandly handsome Kevin. Kevin has also been homosexual when you look at the Archie comics from where the show ended up being based, although he had been a belated addition, just joining the gang this season (which obtained the comics a GLAAD prize at that time). But the TV is being watched by me form of him such as for instance a hawk.

At the moment, as the show shows an enjoyable self-awareness to your homosexual friend trope that is best

— also referencing the out-of-date cliche by title in a slick burn by syrup heiress Cheryl Blossom — they continue to have prioritised not merely all of the right individuals romances over his very own, but also Archie’s never-ending quest to play ‘Wonderwall’. Whenever a bro’s love of electric electric guitar is prioritised within the one romance that is queer a show, I have dubious.

Everyone’s free sex cam problematic fave, Girls, in addition has ignited conversation associated with the trope. Though he’s been the topic of critique into the past, Hannah’s friend that is best 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 possibly not be the primary focus regarding the show — maybe maybe not being one of several titular Girls — but he’s definitely characterised as a complete and person that is real problems and arcs, whom lives away from Hannah’s dilemmas.

Narratively, it is well well worth having this variety of romances — by restricting the GBF to a staid role that is supporting we’re limiting the range of y our very very own tales. We’re restricting the worth of our representation on display screen, forcing queer individuals into impractical moulds. And we’re restricting what number of men that are hot get to see kissing, and that we won’t stand for.

Patrick Lenton is a journalist and writer. He tweets at @patricklenton.