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The new gay tube

The new gay tube


Sometimes there's a gay god so quickly. Apologies to Tennessee Williams for the postmodern paraphrase, but it wasn't so long ago that groups of us would sit around the TV set and watch Linda Evans and Joan Collins digging their claws into each other on Dynasty, wondering what it would be like to have a gay channel where we could watch endless variations of Dynasty, maybe even without commercial breaks. (Remember those? The things you now TiVo through?)

And now, a mere wiggle of a witch's nose later, you can indulge in not just one but three channels of homo promo. Four if you count Bravo, and even more if you spend time watching VH1 or E! or any of the house, garden, fashion, style, food, or makeover channels, or even ESPN and Fox Sports if they're showing synchronized swimming or the WNBA.

You can watch Logo, with stand-up specials and some edited and commercial-interrupted classic movies on gay themes. Over at Here network, with no commercials, you can see some foreign pictures, some new independent features, and a hilarious Canadian soap opera called Paradise Falls. As is the custom on soap operas, most of the people in this small northern Ontario town are congenital idiots--the lady cop who runs the police station accidentally leaves her baby at an outdoor cafe, that sort of thing. There's a gay bed-and-breakfast in town, the object of much scorn from the local fundamentalists, but we know who will prevail. Hunks in Speedos abound, as do naked straight guys and their desperate housewife fling-mates. Being Canadian, even the bigots are kind of sweet and polite.

Farther along the dial there's Q Television Network, which beams every day from Palm Springs. There's a weekday news broadcast and a late-night talk show with an actual budget, enough to fly in iconic performers like the Dueling Bankheads. (If you've never seen their act, do yourself a favor. There's nothing like it.)

All these new networks are starting to fulfill the "what if" fantasy so many of us have been carrying around for years. What if there were a gay James Bond, a gay MacGyver? As readers of this magazine know, Here has already come up with a gay noir detective, played impeccably by Chad Allen in Third Man Out. There have, of course, been hundreds of noir novels written with gay private eyes--John Morgan Wilson's excellent Ben Justice stories spring to mind--but this first cinematic representation is a doozy. Allen plays not a strapping action hero but a conflicted, alternately hard-boiled and softhearted, partnered gay man. Third Man Out is so good, it invites a whole new form of speculation. Now that we've delivered a gay mystery with prime-time production values, it could be time for a TV franchise where the private eye is gay but the world in which he solves his cases is straight. Like many of us, he is visible, proud, and living in a world outside the cloisters of gay life. His sexuality would come into play no more and no less than any straight detective's. A series like that might even have a chance of showing up on a network where they try to sell trucks every eight minutes.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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Bruce Vilanch