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Roc Has a Gay Uncle

Gayest Episode Ever

Release Date: 07/08/2020

Mike Seaver Actually Said the Word ‘Gay’ show art Mike Seaver Actually Said the Word ‘Gay’

Gayest Episode Ever

Growing Pains — “Mike’s Madonna Story” (November 5, 1985) Yep, we’re actually doing Growing Pains — specifically because of one scene in a first-season episode in which Kirk Cameron’s character tosses of the line “Maybe I’m gay.” It might seem small, but it’s crazy to consider the word “gay” even being spoken on this quintessential 80s family show, much less by a character played by a guy who’d shortly thereafter become a born-again Christianity and who’d eventually disclose so

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Norm Peterson Is Gay for Pay show art Norm Peterson Is Gay for Pay

Gayest Episode Ever

“Norm, Is That You?” (December 8, 1988), Cheers — If we told you this episode features George Wendt’s character pretending to be gay, you’d probably imagine that Wendt would go really big with that performance. Most sitcoms would if a straight actor were playing a straight character playing a gay character, but Cheers doesn’t, and in fact this is an episode about gayness where it goes oddly remarked upon. 

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In the House Made RuPaul Play a Heterosexual show art In the House Made RuPaul Play a Heterosexual

Gayest Episode Ever

In the House, “Boys II Men II Women” (December 4, 1995) — Twenty-five ago, long before he’d become a media mogul and the face of an international franchise, Rupaul made 1995 his most mainstream year yet. Not only did he have his mainstream debut in The Brady Bunch movie, but he also did one-off guest roles in a number of network sitcoms. But only In the House had him playing a drag queen who was an avowed heterosexual.

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Introducing the Shelley Longcast! show art Introducing the Shelley Longcast!

Gayest Episode Ever

Episode One: The Brady Bunch Movie — Welcome to the first installment of the Shelley Longcast, the only podcast (that we know of) dedicated to the cinematic work of Shelley Long. You’re seeing this on the Gayest Episode Ever feed because it’s the the Patreon-exclusive bonus series we’ve launched and we decided you listeners might enjoy this first, more TV-related episode: The Brady Bunch Movie.

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Finch’s Buddy Is Trans show art Finch’s Buddy Is Trans

Gayest Episode Ever

Just Shoot Me, “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl” (November 16, 2000) — Finally, it’s Gayest Episode Ever’s first trans episode. Glen and Drew decided to start with a 2000 episode of Just Shoot Me that features Jenny McCarthy as the childhood friend of David Spade’s character who rolls into town with some surprising news. It’s not great, but this episode’s shortcomings demonstrate how the general conversation about trans folks has evolved in the past twenty years.

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Alice Dates a Homo show art Alice Dates a Homo

Gayest Episode Ever

Alice, “Alice Gets a Pass” (September 29, 1976) — Why on earth was this the second episode of this show? When a former football star-turned-movie actor comes into town, Linda Lavin’s Alice is happy to take him out on a date, but she and everyone else are surprised to learn that he’s gay. Of all the episodes we’ve discussed so far, this one more than others captures a very particular flavor of homophobia: it being masked as maternal concern about predatory men.

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Eric Forman’s New Buddy Is a Homo show art Eric Forman’s New Buddy Is a Homo

Gayest Episode Ever

That 70s Show, “Eric’s Buddy” (December 6, 1998) — In its first season, the show featured Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a student who befriends Topher Grace’s character — and then kisses him. It may not fully stick the landing, but it at least deserves credit for featuring a boy-on-boy kiss in primetime well before Dawson’s Creek did it.

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Gayest Episode Ever

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Superstore Is Queerer Than You Think show art Superstore Is Queerer Than You Think

Gayest Episode Ever

Superstore, “Gender Reveal” (April 12, 2018) — Karen Tongson, chair of the Gender and Sexuality Studies department at USC and the co-host of the Gen X pop culture podcast Waiting to X-Hale, joins Drew and Glen to discuss Superstore, the NBC ensemble comedy. Not only does it have a queer Asian lead character, but as Karen points out, there’s a lot of ambient queerness on the show, in addition to one of the more diverse casts on a sitcom today.

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Mr. Belvedere Discourages a Teen from Being Gay show art Mr. Belvedere Discourages a Teen from Being Gay

Gayest Episode Ever

“The Competition” (February 13, 1987) — Thanks to two different listers who politely exposed our ignorance, this week you are getting Drew and Glen talking about the one where Heather convinces her boyfriend he’s gay and Mr. Belvedere convinces him he’s not. It’s a weird bit of TV, but it’s also one of the very few family-focused sitcoms of this era to actually acknowledge that gay people exist.

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More Episodes

“Can’t Help Loving That Man” (October 20, 1991)

Looking at the various 90s-era Fox shows that focused on black characters, Roc was the one with the reputation for tackling social issues with the most gravitas. Early in the show’s run, Richard Roundtree — Shaft himself! — guested as the title character’s uncle, who comes bearing the news that 1) he’s gay; 2) he’s getting married; and 3) his beloved is a white man. To discuss the various layers of this Roc episode, Drew and Glen are joined by University of Iowa professor Dr. Alfred L. Martin Jr., whose field of study includes a focus on the depiction of gay black men on sitcoms. Alfred’s forthcoming book is titled The Generic Closet: Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom. Yes, we would love to interview him when his book comes out.

Read more about Alfred’s work on his faculty page.

We mention the episode of Golden Girls that was recently pulled from Hulu for its alleged use of blackface, and Alfred mentions the larger racist implications of that episode that were not discussed and may not be discussed as a result of being pulled. This week, Steven W. Thrasher wrote an excellent piece for Vulture on various moments on the show in which the central characters display racist attitudes and why the show’s fans are better off acknowledging these failings.

Lisa Simpson singing “God Bless the Child” on The Simpsons Sing the Blues.

Also Glen’s favorite song, “Macho Duck.”

The book Alfred brings up is Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture, by Erica Chito Childs. It’s about the depiction of interracial couples on TV and in other media. And the book Drew brings up is Queering the Color Line, by Siobhan B. Somerville. It’s about the intersection of racial and queer identity.

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This episode’s outro theme is “Color My Love” by Fun Fun (Apple Music / Spotify / Amazon Music)