Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Sunday, January 15, 2017

My 10 Favorite Gay Couples from TV and Film

LGBT visibility has come a very long way since I was a young movie buff.  Our journey has taken us from small parts (usually the but of a joke) to horrible stereotypes.  But soon we would evolve to be the featured characters in TV shows and on the big screen.  As the journey continued, it was nice to see gay couples make their way front and center.  Now that gay marriage is the law of the land, I thought it may be a good time to highlite some couples that have made me smile as I watched them.

My current guilty addiction is the brilliant series Shameless, and I'm honest enough to admit that Ian Gallagher (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey Malkovich (Noel Fisher) are the inspiration for this list.  They are the most creative thing I've seen as far as same gender loving relationships in quite some time. Two poor white masculine young men growing up in the rough hoods of Chicago, they were a very wonderful trip away from the usual narrative we see for young white gay men in love.   I was totally thrilled with the evolution of these guys both as individuals and as a couple.  "Not your typical gay couple" is an understatement when it comes to these two.  We get to see these young men in such roles as pimp, drug dealer and thug; and tackling such interesting issues as bi-polor disorder, pregnancy, being on the run from the military, and being on the run from the law.   


The show may have been called Noah's Arc but all the drama wrapped around Noah and his on again and off again boyfriend Wade was a bit too much for me.  It was Alex (Rodney Chesster) and Trey (Gregory Keith) that were the stand out couple on this show in my opinion.  Noah's Arc had me hooked the moment the show aired. Groundbreaking was the word frequently tied to the show and it was indeed that.  It was the first television show centered around African-American same-gender loving men.  Gay black men around the country quickly tuned it every week to find out what was happening with these four best friends in L.A. Though the show focused on Noah naivety and his quest for love, it was actually Alex's quick wit and funny one-liners that kept me interested in the show. And Trey was the perfect balance for Alex's over the top personality. And let's be real, Trey was very easy on the eyes.

The Birdcage still holds firm as one of the funniest movies I have ever seen.  Armand (Robin Williams) and Albert (Nathan Lane) are hilarious and will keep you in stitches the duration of the film.  The two are approached by their son in the beginning of the film with the announcement that while away at college he has met the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with.  The interesting part, the fiance is the daughter of a very conservative Senator. Proud parents Armand and Albert want to embrace the soon to be daughter in law and invite her parents to their home.  The twist, they must pretend to be a heterosexual couple and Albert must dress in drag as they entertain their potential in-laws.  An interesting great re-interpretation of La Cage au Falles (also funny as hell by the way), The Birdcage still holds up as one the best gay films ever and this couple holds up as one of the best couples ever.

True Blood was one of the greatest things on television in recent years.  Lafayette was one the main reasons I tuned into the show week after week.  Played by Nelson Ellis, Lafayette was the epitome of a hustler.  He cooked at the restaurant, sold “v” on the side, uploaded videos to the internet for pay.  The man did what he had to do to make that dollar.  He went several seasons just hooking up with random men throughout the series, but the show eventually gave him a boyfriend.  I was pleased to see him meet and initiate a relationship with the very hot male nurse Jesus (Kevin Alejandro).  Lafayette finally found someone that made him think about settling down.  The shrew was being tamed.  The two just looked good together on screen.

Who does not love Modern Family?  The writing is brilliant.  The acting is spectacular.  And the chemistry of the cast shines through with every performance.  Mitchell (Jessie Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) are fantastic.  Since the success of the show, Mitchell, who is actually gay in real life, has become a role model for countless LGBT youth.  It’s always a great thing when celebrities come out of the closet, because they show our young people that you can be out and proud and still be successful in whatever career you decide to pursue.  And I still watch the show in awe of Eric Stonestreet who plays the over the top flamboyant Cameron.  Knowing that he is actually straight makes his character a bit more interesting.  The two together are a terrific example of how couples should respect and treat each other.

The stars of Grace and Frankie are Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.  In episode one of the show we meet them and their husbands as they all get together for dinner.  The husbands announce to them that they want as divorce.  The reason – the boys have been in love with each other for years and they would like to end their marriages so they can spend their remaining years as an out gay couple.  I'll be the first to say, it’s not right that they spent years lying to and deceiving their wives.  But after decades of lies they finally spoke their truth.  Although they come out late in their lives, it is the fact that they are now out that gives them permission to treat their passion like it’s fresh and new.  It is refreshing to see these mature gay men on the screen.

(Spoiler alert).  Rent came out a long time ago.  But if you still have not seen it, and you’re planning to, please stop reading now.  Tom Collins and Angel Dumont love each other.  Tom does not care that Angel is transgender.  Tom is in love with her for the person she is.  And Angel loves Tom, flaws and all.  But sadly, we lose Angel in the middle of the movie.  When she dies, Tom is devastated.  I’m gonna tell you, I mourn with him as he goes through this loss.  You can tell as he grieves that this was the person he wanted to spend the rest of his years with.  The two made a beautiful couple.

Someone described Trick to me before I saw it.  Basically, it’s a movie about two men that spend the entire night looking for a place to hook up.  Based on this description it was not a movie I was in a big rush to see.  One day on a whim I decided to check it out.  Not only do I love this couple, I must say, this is now one of my all time favorite LGBT films.  Gabriel (Christian Campbell) plays a full time call center customer support tech/ part time musical theater writer.  Mark (John Paul Pitoc) plays go-go boy that picks up Gabriel on the subway.  Unfortunately, Gabriel’s room mate has the room for the night and going to his place is not an option.  Mark’s living situation is “complicated.”  As the two spend the evening looking for a place for sex, it is obvious that something is developing between the two of them.

I still very distinctly remember watching Philadelphia in the theater.  This film came out in 1993.  Back then playing gay for a big named actor like Tom Hanks was still something very taboo to do.  It was a very bold mold for him.  At this point, Antonio Banderas was not a house hold name but he had several successful films under his belt already, so this was also a bold move for him as well.  But not only was Hank’s character gay, he was also HIV positive.  Hanks actually lost a lot of weight for this role because in the film he develops full blown AIDS and fights for his life while simultaneously fighting this lawsuit within the courts.  With a stellar performance by Denzel Washington as well, Hanks would go on to win an Oscar for this role.  While Andrew and Miguel don’t spend a great deal of time together on film, their few shared on-screen moments showed intimacy and passion the likes unseen between gay men before this film (at least for me).

If you have not yet viewed the little gem Leave It on the Floor, do yourself a favor and go check it out on Netflix.   Brad (Ephraim Sykes) is kicked out his home by his mother after she learns that he is gay.  But I must add, if I had spoken to my mom the way he spoke to his mom, gay or not, I would have been kicked out of my house as well. After ending up homeless, he happens to meet Carter (Andre Myers) in a store and as a result stumbles into the L.A. ballroom scene.  The film is a musical.  So if you are not a fan of this genre you may not like this movie.  But if you are okay with a group of men that spontaneously break into song, you may get to love this as much as I do.

So there it is.  My list of favorite gay couples.  My list of favorite lesbian couples will come later.  But in the meantime, let me hear back from you.  How do you feel about the couples on this list?  And who are your favorite gay couples?

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