Sparks keeps Queer Michael in the closet

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com January 05 2002 12:00 AM ET

Producers of the Showtime series Queer as Folk had planned to have the character of Michael (played by Hal Sparks) come out at work last season--Michael does, after all, have a super-supportive mother--but Sparks put the kibosh on it, according to TVGuide.com. "I refused to do it," says Sparks. "I didn't think seeing all seven of us on a pride march every week would serve the audience. There are too many people who are in the closet living this double life, and we lose touch with part of our audience if we're all out of the closet and everyone's OK with it. That's not how life is."
Sharon Gless, who plays Michael's mother, Debbie, hopes that Michael won't get complacent about his workplace secret. "We're going to deal with that [during season 2], where Michael is going to come to me and say, 'You have to keep your mouth shut. It isn't your business.' And she's going to have to take it and back off," says Gless. "I still believe that Debbie is who she is, and she's going to hold her position and say, 'I know who you are, and I'm proud of it, and if you're ashamed, that's your problem.' They haven't written it yet, but I'm going to fight for it. But Hal feels very strongly that Debbie has overstepped her bounds. And we're having these little tiffs with the producers about...these issues."
But Sparks plans to remain firm on the subject: "I'd like Michael to stay closeted for as long as possible--at least in his workplace. It gives more depth to the character. If we all came out, what would the last season be? All of us attending the GLAAD Awards?"