Quick, what is the most worn-out gay
cliché in Hollywood entertainment? Yep, it is the tormented gay
character with the dramatic coming out story. In Hollywood gay men
and women are more often depicted as tortured souls in need of mental
assistance than the unadorned people we are. It’s then refreshing
to watch ABC’s new drama Brothers & Sisters which has
decided to eliminate the gay angst and portray Kevin Walker (Matthew
Rhys) as an affirmative gay man.
That is not to say that Kevin is
without his share of problem, but they are of the human nature, not
the shameful nature. Kevin’s problems are universal and his
portrayal of the single and successful modern gay man is one more
Americans can empathize with than the silly, if positive, nonsense of
Will & Grace.
Kevin’s character has been slower to
develop when compared to his siblings. An overly complicated affair
with cater waiter Scotty produced few sparks and thankfully ended
prior to hiatus. Yet since its return from hiatus, Brothers &
Sisters has given the hunky thirty something more to say.
In the January 7th episode Kevin, an
attorney, squabbles with sister Kitty (Calista Flockhart) as she
wrestles with the decision to accept a staff position with Senator
McCallister played by Rob Lowe. McCallister is portrayed as a
kinder, gentler Republican (I’m so sure he exists) who supports
legal immigration and convinces Kitty that he has no problems with
gay people. It is then Kevin who suggests that McCallister’s
legislative voting record on gay issues such as gay marriage reveals
a different philosophy.
In the end Kitty accepts the position,
but not before acknowledging the fact that she respects her brother’s
opinion and loves him.
The issue of gay marriage has been a
political hot potato since 2003 when hysteria over gay marriage began
to boil-over as a result of Massachusetts becoming the first state in
the union to recognize gay marriage. Since then the issue has
dominated op-ed columns, front pages, political talk shows, and
magazine covers, but rarely has the issue surfaced in a prime time
While I applaud Kevin’s astute
political opinions on timely gay issues, I’m more impressed with
his sex life. So far Kevin has managed to hunt down three hunky men
this season – with no apologies.
Last night’s episode might go down in
the annals of gay prime time television as super hunk Chad (Jason
Lewis from Sex In The City) confuses Kevin with ambiguous sexual
advances which are eventually consummated as they make out on
Mulholland Drive overlooking Los Angeles.
The action on screen, while brief, was
hot. And to ABC’s credit was shown very convincingly. Not to
ABC’s credit was the fact that what happened next was left to our
imagination. Yet, previews of next week’s episode show the two men
together in bed.
It is then this plot twist that gives
Kevin Walker a soapbox to affirm himself as a proud gay man. Perhaps
Chad will provide the coming out angst – but I’m getting ahead of
While gay dramas that came before it,
such as Queer As Folk, relied on shock issues to titillate their
audience, Brothers & Sisters inspires by providing a
character everyday people can relate to who happens to be gay.