“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 houses, within our clubs, 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, homosexual superheroes and homosexual teenage detectives on our displays. We’ve got trans and sex characters that are non-binary a few shows, such as for example Orange may be the brand New Ebony and clear. But as heartening as it’s seeing people that are LGBTQI display screen, showrunners continue to have a responsibility to ensure these figures are far more than easy ticks in a package.
We deserve figures that fulfil more function than just being gay and on-screen. We deserve a lot better than the storied and egregious ‘gay well friend’.
Where There’s A Will (And Grace) There’s A Way
The homosexual friend that is best is a television basic for a long time now. If there’s a female on television having intimate dilemmas, you better think there 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 endless hunger for Carrie’s non-stop drama and bad relationship alternatives. He had been the template for the homosexual friend that is best — the Platonian ideal.
George from Julia Robert’s most useful movie My Best Friend’s Wedding was another notable person in the GBF (Gay companion) vanguard.
They constantly be seemingly males also, utilizing the few types of lesbian friend that is best handling to fall outside of the faculties with this trope. This really is most likely because lesbian exposure on tv is a lot reduced than homosexual guys (imagine if Buffy began a trope of lesbian close friends whom want to flay males with dark secret).
The homosexual closest friend is fundamentally defined by just how much of an accessory he could be to your right protagonist. He’s basically just pulled down for unique occasions, whenever some body requires an ear that is sympathetic a shopping montage, or maybe some gossip in a cocktail club. In Intercourse while the City’s heyday, the homosexual 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 situation using this trade in stereotypical homosexual males is the fact that it implicitly describes just just exactly what an ‘acceptable’ form of homosexuality appears like — plus in television, that’s defined by what’s commercially viable. Whilst the GBF is inherently bound up in notions of sex, they’ve been hardly ever regarded as intimate beings. The work of homointercourseual intercourse continues to be tip-toed around on plenty of tv, specially commercial sites which are directed at ‘families’. In many cases, this will also expand to shows of homosexual love.
While nevertheless being represented, the homosexual closest friend becomes concealed behind an outdated group of actions and behaviours, cloaked by appropriate, non-threatening stereotypes.
Most of the response that is conservative homosexuality is approximately ‘not forcing it down people’s throats’. Aside from being an overtly intimate terminology, this really is the type of homophobia that the GBF trope frequently plays into. It is homosexuality on right people’s terms, in place of real representation of exactly exactly just how homosexual people reside.
Whenever only gay individual on a show is offered unequal time with regards to 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 key figures within their show that is own instance — but because revolutionary as which was during the time — we surely heard far more about Grace’s love life.
Too Gay To Operate
That is a trope who has gradually been placed out to pasture, but it is specially interesting to analyse with a lot of programs through the golden age of GBF now getting reboots. The SATC that is short-lived spin-off Carrie Diaries had its very own precursor to Stanford Blatch, Gilmore Girls rebooted with a partner for Michel, and 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 was raised therefore high with gorgeously three-dimensional homosexual figures and their complex homosexual romances in programs like Sense8 or Please anything like me, so it shines a stark comparison on demonstrates that aren’t setting up quite exactly the same work.
This present year, Netflix’s teen-drama that is new features a homosexual character into the blandly handsome Kevin. Kevin had been additionally homosexual into the Archie comics from where the show ended up being based, although he had been a belated addition, just joining the gang this year (which attained 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, whilst the series shows a wonderful 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 or her own, but also Archie’s never-ending quest to play ‘Wonderwall’. When a bro’s love of electric electric electric guitar is prioritised within the one romance that is queer a show, I have dubious.
Everyone’s fave that is problematic Girls, in addition has ignited conversation associated with trope. Though he’s been the topic of critique in past times, Hannah’s closest friend Elijah was handed significant amounts of development when you look at the show’s final periods.
As he ended up being constantly a go-to for help, bitchy gossip, and coke-fuelled evenings away, he had been additionally provided area to cultivate through an intricate and complete relationship (with complete on-screen intercourse) in addition to a standalone episode that focussed on a possible job course. Elijah is probably not the primary focus nyluh camwithher regarding the show — maybe maybe maybe not being one of many titular Girls — but he’s definitely characterised as a complete and genuine individual with dilemmas and arcs, whom lives away from Hannah’s dilemmas.
Narratively, it is well worth having this variety of romances — by restricting the GBF to a staid supporting role, we’re restricting the range of y our very own tales. We’re restricting the worth of y our representation on display, forcing queer individuals into impractical moulds. And we’re restricting what amount of hot males we reach see kissing, and that we won’t stand for.
Patrick Lenton is really an author and writer. He tweets at @patricklenton.