BY Advocate.com Editors
March 05 2002 1:00 AM ET
Queer as Folk named favorite show in GLBT poll
Queer as Folk overwhelming favorite of gays online
A poll recently conducted online found Showtime's Queer as Folk to be the favorite TV show among GLBT viewers, chosen by almost twice as many people as second-place finisher Will & Grace.
Showtime's Queer as Folk has been chosen the top show featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered characters in a nationwide online poll of self-identified GLBT respondents conducted by Zogby International and GLCensus (a Syracuse University, OpusComm Group, and GSociety Partnership), the group announced on Monday. Queer as Folk was chosen the favorite by 39% of the respondents. NBC's Will & Grace came in second with 22%, and NBC's ER was third with 10% of the first-place votes. Other shows receiving significant votes included HBO's Six Feet Under (8%), the WB's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (6%), and CBS's The Ellen Show (3%).
The online poll included 1,931 U.S. residents who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trangendered and was conducted February 18-21.
While QAF was named favorite show, its lead character, Brian Kinney, played by Gale Harold, was voted the GLBT character portrayed most negatively. His character was followed by Sean Hayes's portrayal of Jack McFarland on Will & Grace and ER's Dr. Kerry Weaver, played by Laura Innes. "It's not surprising that Showtime's Queer as Folk came out as the favorite GLBT show despite the lead character, Brian Kinney, being voted as portraying the most negative GLBT character," said Jeff Garber of OpusComm Group in a statement. "I think the bigger surprise to the general public, but not the GLBT community, is that NBC's Will & Grace's Jack McFarland was perceived the second most negatively portrayed GLBT main character. To the general public, the character Jack is one of the most favorite for his 'over the top' performance. However, the GLBT community probably feels that McFarland's portrayal of Jack, although funny, perpetuates negative stereotypes [because he is] an unemployed, shallow man who lives off the good graces of his friends."
Eric McCormack's portrayal of Will Truman on Will & Grace was named GLBT character most positively portrayed, with Ellen DeGeneres's character, Ellen, and Hal Sparks's portrayal of Michael Novotny on Queer as Folk in a virtual tie for second. Scott Seomin, entertainment media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said, "Eric McCormack's portrayal of Will Truman is a revelation. This is one of the few examples of a straight actor playing gay with honesty and integrity. He does do the best job in portraying a gay man currently on television, and he deserves our community's thanks."
Among GLBT supporting characters, the favorite was Emmett Honeycutt (Peter Paige) of Queer as Folk; the least favorite, Mr. Garrison of South Park. Lindsay Peterson (Thea Gill) of Queer as Folk was chosen as representing the most positive portrayal of a GLTB supporting character, while Mr. Garrison was voted the worst portrayal. "Lesbian portrayals on prime time are beloved by the gay and lesbian community," said Seomin. "Characters such as Dr. Weaver and Lindsay Peterson are popular and scarce. Lesbian representation on television is so sparse, in fact, that our community seeks out these characters and holds them dear."
Respondents were also asked to rate the portrayal of GLBT characters in several shows on a scale of very accurate, somewhat accurate, somewhat inaccurate, and very inaccurate. Over one third (35%) of respondents chose Queer as Folk as very accurate, followed by ER (26%) and Will & Grace (26%). No show was clearly labeled as very inaccurate, although Son of a Beach led the category with 7% of the vote. The least favorite show that features a GLBT character is Comedy Central's South Park, chosen by 18% of the respondents.
Garber said the poll is probably summed up best from one of the comments from a poll respondent: "Gay people are so diverse, one show could not possibly accurately describe a gay person or the gay culture."