Television Review: Queer As Folk
by Jonathan Sudduth
Published: December 5, 2000
What exactly do you expect from an original series on Showtime when the first phrase out of any character's mouth is, "Men think about sex every twenty-eight seconds. Of course that's straight men, with gay men it's every nine." Then again, what are you supposed to think when you've been enticed to watch such a series with a theme that's cross between "That 70's Show" and a Pet Shop Boys video with its psychedelic colors intermeshed with flaming gay silhouettes?
Welcome to the American version of "Queer As Folk." And while this series is just as British as "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," do we really want Reege to show his ass for a full on screen five seconds like some of the pretties do in this import?
Showtime, whose slogan is No Limits, has finally decided to take advantage of the gay population and is cruising a series with *those people* directly in their sights. It has all the drama of "Dawson's Creek" and yet all the (mostly) unflinching sex as Showtime's other original show. (Think red shoes.)
The show starts with the above quote casually thrown out by Michael. He's thirty -- which is just *too* old to be desirable -- and is lined up as usual with his friends amidst the rave and wonder of a gay nightclub called "Babylon." He's quickly given his views on "the gay lifestyle" in a concise soundbyte before venturing to claim another of his friends (Brian) from a back room where American viewers glimpse their first healthy taste of all that "Queer As Folk" has to offer in the skin department. Even with over twenty cuts made in the first episode, there is enough Adonis flesh to make viewers hungry for more while being equally entranced with the weaving storylines.
Next we meet, Justin. He's looking a little too young to be on the gay strip and naturally throws himself naively into the devilish arms of Brian. Their dialogue is quick. Pointed. Real. With their expressions just as rigid, you can feel their lust with every precise word.
"How's it going? You had busy night?"
And suddenly you realize that you aren't just watching another amateur porny Friday Night on Pay Cable. The camera follows the two. Clothes start shedding with the proper "Whooshing" sound effects, and the techno beats fade back in. "Queer As Folk" is reminding you there is going to be more to their story. For the first time, it's *going* to be told. The cutaways eventually come, but not before the implied sex becomes real. Justin, who's fighting innocence with every word, and Brian who obviously is about the heat (and boy) of the moment then go on to a lengthy and toe-curling session of sex.
"No. Just checking out the bars: Boy-Toy, Meat Hook."
"Meet Hook. Really? So you're into leather."
"Where you headed?"
"No place special."
"I can change that."
There are gay issues to be discussed, in between the sex and drama scenes. Tops and bottoms, impregnation of lesbians, harassment, and even more importantly in the first episode, ageism all are handled with multiple viewpoints so you can take which apply to how you feel. All are laced sweetly with a layer of completely queer humor that makes the show gain even another dimension. (To prove that gays are not all about sex, dispite what the first lines of dialogue said.)
Showtime has got twenty-two episodes lined up for hungry homosexuals and as long as the writing remains sharp, the characters continue to evolve, and the sex eternally presses the limits of pay television, I suspect the network may have something to toss at Sara Jessica Parker and her sexy "City" next awards season.
Related Link: Queer As Folk on Showtime
This article originally appeared on Queer & The Fat Guy's Movie Reviews.