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ATX Television Festival: The QUEER AS FOLK Reunion

Ten years after it went off the air, the crew behind the groundbreaking QUEER AS FOLK got back together.

By Mandy Jeronimus Jun. 10, 2015

Photos by Jack Plunkett and Mandy Jeronimus

When Queer As Folk came out in 2000, I was in the midst of being newly out myself. It was the beginning of a wave of TV shows and movies where gay people were allowed to be more than a punchline. We were still mostly sassy best friends, but it was better than Limp Wristed Hairdresser or Humorless Gym Teacher. All of a sudden, there was this show on the air that was about gay people. Not just gay people and how we react to straight people's lives, but how we navigate our own. How we live, how we love, how we screw up, and how we come into adulthood, all laid out on our TV screens.

Ten years after the last episode aired, the ATX Television Festival got together the creators and some fan favorites from the cast to talk about the show and what it meant to them and the fans.

When Queer As Folk's first season aired, many of the themes it dealt with (coming out at work, being out in high school, falling in love with your hot best friend) were pretty universal coming out experiences. "What's everyone going to think when they FIND OUT ABOUT ME???" "What's love and what's friendship?" "Do I still get to go to prom?"

As the seasons progressed, Queer As Folk not only addressed the changing political climate, but let the audience see how the increasingly conservative rhetoric affected gay people through this specific group of friends.

The show was populated with a diverse set of characters that, at first, seemed to come from a stock of gay stereotypes. Very quickly, though, Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman gave all of these characters shades and dimensions of their personality that made them more rich and real than a "type.”

Brian Kinney, the leader of the pack, was handsome, wealthy and put-together. He had a different guy every night, and in a lesser show, could've been exactly what straight people are afraid gay men are: selfish and promiscuous, trolling for their next prey. Instead, they colored him with other qualities that made him human. He gave sperm to his best lesbian and actually ended up being a caring father and unflagging friend. He pushed away Justin, the young high schooler of the group, once he'd "had" him, only to begin falling in love with him and answering that, yes, sometimes we do get to go to prom.

Even Brian Kinney, with his motto of "No excuses, no apologies," was afraid to come out to his parents and avoided it until his father was dying. Showing this crack in his bravado made him that much more real. During the panel, the creators said that Gale Harold, the actor who played Brian, even refused to discuss his heterosexual orientation while publicizing the first season for fear of taking anything away from the audience believing in his portrayal of Brian.

When asked about taking the job, Gale said “I had no hesitation to play that character.” His concerns with the part were much more personal, with Harold confiding that “My primary concern was not to let down friends of mine that I’d grown up with who may not have been out, but they were dear people to me, and I didn’t want to do a disservice to them.”

Similar sentiment was shared by showrunners Cowan and Lipman, who played Emmett Honeycutt, the "sassy queen" of the group. They both wanted Emmett to be more than a cliché, and show that this self-described "nelly bottom" had more grit and guts than you could find in the burliest of men. (Also, kudos to Peter Paige for "paying it forward" in terms of gay visibility by creating The Fosters, a show currently on ABC Family, and celebrated by ATX, about a family headed by two lesbians.) Said Lipman, “Emmett’s character was based on someone I knew who was a gym buddy of mine, and he painted his fingernails and toenails and he was very queeny. He was an accountant at one of the major studios and one day we were talking, and everything dropped, and he was the most forceful, powerful person telling me about this thing. And then as soon as he finished telling me about this he just went right back.”

Cowan shared similar sentiment about Emmett, saying “I felt very protective of his character and rather offended by people who could only see him as a queen. Especially gay people who would be ashamed, those members of our community who can’t pass.”

One of the most interesting topics that was discussed, though, was how the show had a large heterosexual female following. There were plenty of jokes about the plenitude of handsome (often shirtless) men on the show, but then Cowen got serious for a second and said "Even though we wrote the show thinking our audience was going to be gay, ultimately I was happier that women were watching the show, because women have children, and I thought how very important it is for those children who are and who are yet to be to have mothers who have seen Queer As Folk and who understand what it is to be gay so that they will be more sensitive and loving to their children, and maybe we could’ve helped that along a bit." I remember watching the show when it first aired and thinking "Finally! A show just for US!" I couldn't be more pleased to have been wrong.

It was clear to see how much this show meant to so many kinds of people when, upon the cast and creators both entering and leaving the theater, the entire crowd stood and applauded at once. Not one of those standing ovation trickles of fans getting up and clapping one by one, but this wave of loud and grateful applause and a feeling of, as Emmett would say, "Fuck 'em all if they don't like it."

It's great that the current entertainment landscape leans toward gay characters being "just part of the gang," and I support this inclusive approach. Listening to the cast and creators of Queer As Folk, though, it's also important for gay programming to talk about the fact that we are all unique, and that's something that should be celebrated.

Thanks for teaching me that lesson when I first came out, QAF, and thanks for reminding me again at the ATX Television Festival.

Related Items:

atx 2015 atx television festival queer as folk

Mandy Jeronimus

Mandy currently lives in Minnesota, and is a fan of collecting ways to say “I’m With Stupid” in foreign languages. Current count: nine. Other interests include brewing beer, wearing grandfatherly sweaters, and second guessing contestants’ choices on CHOPPED.



JURASSIC WORLD Review: The Park Should Have Stayed Closed

By Devin Faraci

Around the Web



June 05, 2015 12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg

'Queer as Folk' Reunion: Creators Talk Early Obstacles and a Potential Reboot: "We'd Be Open To It"
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on Cowen and Daniel Lipman talk with THR about the impact of the Showtime drama 10 years after it wrapped its five-season run: "People came for the queer and stayed for the folk."

It's been almost 10 years since Showtime's Queer as Folk ended its five-season run and, while much in the LGBT political landscape has changed since then, the ground-breaking drama still remains as relevant as ever as the fight for equality marches on.

The series, created by producing and life partners Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, will celebrate its 10-year anniversary Friday at the ATX Festival with a reunion moderated by The Hollywood Reporter. Ahead of the session, Cowen and Lipman spoke with THR and looked back at the show's early struggles — none of the major agencies would submit talent for the show — as well as the cultural impact of the show that offered an honest and intimate look at the lives of a group of gay men. The duo also share their idea for a potential reboot, and break down how the show set the stage for more contemporary series like Glee and Modern Family.

See more Loud-and-Proud Meter: Hollywood's Art of Coming Out

Looking back, what kind of early obstacles did you face?

Cowen: The biggest obstacle in putting the show together at the beginning was casting and staffing the writers' room. It was very difficult for our casting director, Linda Lowy (Scandal, Friday Night Lights), to get the major agencies to submit talent. There wasn't a single major agency that submitted any talent for the show.

Lipman: They were really afraid of this. Usually when you go to a casting session, you'll see 50 people and of those, there will be one or two "NAs" who were not available. Linda would call and say we have 25 people coming in and we'd get there and only have four. You'd look at the casting list and it said NA up and down. It was very discouraging.

Cowen: Actors that we knew actually told us that their agents told them not to go up for Queer as Folk. [And] the reason was obvious: it was because of the content of the show, it being a show about gay people. I guess people were concerned that if they were on the show, it would stigmatize them.

Lipman: We had to go to the network to get approval with the cast, and usually you have two people for each role — or more — and you never go in with one. The character of Brian is such a linchpin to the show; if we didn't have Brian, we didn't have a show. And we didn't have Gale [Harold, who starred as Brian] until the day before. We had to go to the network at 7 a.m. … and the night before we had no Brian. Linda called us at 5 p.m. the night before and said, "He's here, come over right now." And there was Gale. Gale is very charismatic and enigmatic and read the scene. We both wondered, "Is he really fabulous or are we desperate?" And he was really fabulous. But lot of people didn't show up.

Who didn't show up?

Lipman: There was one actor, I don't remember his name, who was a candidate to play Brian before we met Gale, who said he would do it for one season and then leave. The gamble was: would the show succeed and have a second season? Maybe this actor would like it and extend, but Ron and I decided that it was too much of a gamble.

Do you remember who that was?

Cowen: I don't remember. Linda was calling talent agencies she'd never heard of [to cast the show]. We found Randy [Harrison, who played Justin] in a lucky way: there was a talent agent in New York who would submit people on tape to Linda, who was in L.A. The casting director in New York would send her people she thought we should see, and there was no one who was right for the part. As we were getting more desperate, one of us asked her if we could see the tapes she didn't send and maybe there was somebody there. And there was Randy.

Lipman: I remember at the beginning, Michelle [Clunie, who played Melanie], Peter [Paige, Emmett], Scott [Lowell, Ted], Thea Gill [Lindsay] and Hal [Sparks, Michael] were so passionate about doing this, they didn't have to have their arms twisted, they wanted to do this. And Sharon Gless [Debbie], we never saw anyone else other than Sharon for Debbie, who was the last part to be cast. [Then-Showtime president] Jerry Offsay called and asked what we thought about her. We didn't know if she would do this. She was doing a play in Chicago and, on her own dime, flew to L.A. to meet us. She didn't care that the part was big or small; she just wanted to be part of this.

How do you think Queer as Folk helped to break down the stereotypes about the gay community? At the time, there was nothing like this on TV — broadcast or cable.

Cowen: It wasn't pretty! (Laughs.) It was very groundbreaking for that time. Back then, the portrayal of gay people — if you could call it that because it was so sparse — was showing them in a light that we were not comfortable with, as either minor roles or as clowns — people who were there to be laughed at. Or they had no sex life, which I don't think any gay characters on TV had a sex life before Queer as Folk. Portraying sex on our show was very important; it was our most radical and political statement. It was also the most difficult thing to do because no one had any experience in doing this before, particularly the actors, who weren't just incredibly brave, but also very committed, who really believed in the importance of what we were doing and were brave enough to stand up for that. Most of the cast was straight.

Lipman: Scott Lowell and Gale Harold are both straight and they wouldn't reveal if they were gay or straight for the first season because they didn't want anything to detract from the show. They wouldn't tell us.

Cowen: We talked about showing gay people as sexualized, complete human beings and how important that was. Everybody, up until then, gay people had never really seen themselves as portrayed as sexualized in a movie or on TV. It's very disturbing psychologically over years of your life to never see a reflection of yourself in the media. It's as if you don't exist or only part of you that isn't really you exists on TV or on film. We knew this may have been the only chance to do this.

Lipman: Not only had you not seen something that reflected you, but this was taboo. This sexuality wasn't something people approved of. The American version of Queer as Folk was designed as a celebration of gay life, and we were really taking the constraints off of everything. At that point in time, it was a window that we were lucky enough to be part of. There was Queer as Folk, Will & Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy — people were interested in gay people and these characters were beginning to appear as both real and fictional characters on television. People were entertained and began accepting them — and started to care about these characters. It was an interesting time at the turn of the century to see this. A lot of people were startled; Ron and I were even startled.

Read more Network Axes Fall Hard on Gay Characters

How did you approach writing the sex scenes?

Lipman: We had never done these kind of scenes and had never seen this kind of thing [on TV]. The sex scenes would explore all kinds of emotions: you can be angry, elated, manipulative; you can do whatever you want sexually. It's not just having sex. They were like arias.

Cowan: It was psychological. They reflected the interior life of the character at that moment, and we tried to use sex scenes to do that. People have sex for many different reasons — it can be joyous and celebratory, it can be self-destructive, it can be out of anger, loneliness; there's so many different emotions and reasons. We discovered that as we went along.

How did Queer as Folk help set the foundation other LGBT-scripted programming like Glee, Modern Family — and Paige's The Fosters — in addition to other LGBT-themed shows that followed it?

Lipman: It made it acceptable and watchable. As Peter once said, "People came for the queer and stayed for the folk." People were curious, but they really connected with the characters and it didn't matter that they were gay. We got so many emails over the years saying as much.

Cowan: The networks and studios realized that there is an audience for a show about gay people. We all found out with Queer as Folk that over half our viewing audience was women. This is an enormous demographic and it's the probably the primary reason, in terms of audience, that we were on the air for five years. No one expected that.

Lipman: At the time, Showtime had done a lot of gay programming. We all knew Queer as Folk would get some degree of attention, and they were perfectly happy with it finding a niche gay audience when it launched so it was a real surprise that it crossed over. And it wasn't just in the U.S.; people are still buying DVDs all over the world.

Cowan: I wouldn't be surprised if more people were seeing the show now than when it was on the air.

Read more What's Behind the Rise of Transgender TV

And I think we're in the midst of seeing transgender programming break through in the same sort of renaissance as well.

Cowan: That's the next wave.

Queer as Folk didn't shy away from social issues. When you first started, did you come into the series with a list of topics you wanted to be sure to address?

Cowan: In the beginning, we were adapting the British show and we made a lot of changes. Jerry's marching order was to use as much of the original as a launch pad and then go off and do our own show. There were eight episodes of the British show, and early on we discovered that there were stories we wanted to tell that had social and political meaning. A very early story was Michael working at the Q-Mart. We discovered that there was story about discrimination on the job and Michael had to keep his gay identity a secret from woman who had a crush on him. And we discovered early on with that story that there were a lot of political stories we could also tell.

Lipman: We had written [1985 NBC TV movie] An Early Frost years before and, not by design, that and Queer as Folk became bookends for our career. We were coming off that very political and emotional story. In setting up Queer as Folk, we knew it had to be about what gay life was like in the years 2000 to 2005. There were a lot of political things going on that we had to address because this is what the gay community was dealing with. We didn't know how we could not do a show like this without issues without being preachy. People were not aware of a lot of things; when you're not gay and you don't live a life as a gay person, you're not aware of some of the politics. Everything we did was always heightened because the characters were gay. If they were straight, it may have been a ho-hum story, but the fact that they were gay and had to overcome things, it was eye-opening to a lot of people.

And the show was one of the first to really paint an honest portrayal of living with HIV/AIDS.

Cowan: Writing about AIDS was very important to us and has been since the '80s because we were part of that time and lost so many friends. Writing An Early Frost was the most traumatic thing we'd ever done because we were talking to people knowing people who were going to die because it was a death sentence. It left a mark on us for so many years; it took a long time to recover from doing that. The Uncle Vic (Jack Wetherall) character was an AIDS survivor in his 50s who expected to die and blew out his credit cards thinking he'd never have to pay them off and as it turned out he lived. We thought that was a very compelling story: What do you do when you thought you were going to die and you don't and now you're $20,000 in debt in credit cards? That was an opportunity to write the next step in the AIDS story. From 1985-2000, the portrait of AIDS changed so dramatically — it was no longer a death sentence. We needed to write about that. As we went along, we introduced other gay characters who were living with HIV, which was important to us.

QAF also took on hate crimes and gay bashing very early on in its landmark prom episode.

Cowan: We knew early on how we were going to end season [one], and what would happen to Justin. The Matthew Shepard story affected us deeply. We were drawn to using that as a story and exploring hate crime.

Lipman: We took the Matthew Shepard story with Justin and gave it a hopeful ending that someone could survive that. When you're in the process of writing story arcs and you hear about the "Pink Posse" or "Gift Givers" — people who wanted to get AIDS so they didn't have to worry about it anymore, you have to incorporate these things. And when you hear about George W. Bush giving a speech in the Rose Garden saying he vows to change the Constitution of the U.S. so gay people will never be able to marry, you have to address it.

Cowan: Queer as Folk was written in a time when DOMA; Don't Ask, Don't Tell; sodomy laws and gay couples couldn't get married anywhere in the U.S. We were writing the show in a very different time than it is now. In our minds, it would have been highly irresponsible not to address these issues. Dan and I always kept it in the back of our mind that this would have been the only chance in our lives to write about these things.

Let's jump to the series finale: A lot of fans were disappointed that Brian and Justin didn't wind up getting married at the end. What was behind your decision to send Justin to New York?

Cowan: We decided with the network that season five was going to be the end and we had 13 episodes to end it. At that time, the issue of gay people assimilating into mainstream culture was starting to become very prominent. Now, 10 years later with gay marriage, it's something that many gay people are dealing with and making important life decisions: Do we assimilate? Do we stay in our gay community? Are we separatists? With every minority group who has gone through this — Irish, Jewish, Latino — the question becomes how much do we give up our individual identity to become "one of them," meaning the majority. We decided that should be the major arc of the last season. So we made it about Brian and Michael. Michael and Ben (Robert Gant) got married in Canada — which was invalid in the U.S. but they considered legal for themselves. Michael fathered child, and together they adopted Hunter (Harris Allan), a male prostitute who was HIV positive — and they brought him into their lives and homes. Personally, that was one of my favorite stories. And they moved to suburbs and raised a family.

Brian was at the other end extreme end of the spectrum. I think he was rather hetero-phobic and a very self-declared separatist. He and Michael had a falling out and ended their friendship over it because Brian called Michael a "Stepford f—g," meaning he had become a fake straight person. In Brian's mind, there was only one thing worse than a straight person: a fake straight person, meaning a gay person who was trying to imitate the way straight people lived their life. … At other end of that spectrum, there was Brian and Justin, who weren't the kind of people who necessarily wanted to get married, raise children and move to the suburbs. That's not who they are as characters, even though they tried to be. Not everybody is cut out in this life to get married, have children and move to the suburbs; that doesn't make them a less valuable or important human being. You don't have to get married and have children to count in this country.

That's part of the reason we decided that even though they approached getting married, they realized that it wasn't for them and it involved too much sacrifice. And not sacrificing was an enormous theme in Queer as Folk. Somebody does not have the right to ask you to sacrifice who you are to earn their love, that was a theme that started with how Brian talked to Justin's father, who told Justin that he could live in his house as long as he wasn't gay. And Brian said that wasn't love but hate. Brian realized in marrying Justin, that Justin would be sacrificing going to New York to pursue his promising art career. And Justin realized in wanting Brian to get married and settle down, he was turning the tiger he fell in love with into a house cat. That was a big sacrifice to ask of Brian, even though he was willing to make it and he loved Justin enough to go through with that. They had a moment of realization where they both knew they were asking too much of each other, which did not mean that they no longer loved each other or that they would never see each other again. I frankly don't understand where those ideas came from.

Lipman: Brian is the most moral person on the show; he had his own code and was always honest. That rubbed off on Justin; he was Justin's ideal. The two of them transcended their society around them. They had their own code and realized they didn't need rings, a ceremony or rituals that others need to know that they love each other. They will always love each other even if they have other relationships with people. That is their core relationship. And they're confident enough to have that and that's why they were able to do that. Justin went off to New York, which is an hour away from Pittsburgh. There's no reason why they wouldn't see each other. They just weren't married in the traditional way that Ben and Michael were.

See more Stars Best Speeches When Coming Out

A lot of the political issues addressed on the show are still very relevant today. Have you thought about doing a revival?

Cowan: Gay marriage has overshadowed everything; and there are so many other issues that gay people still have to deal with that haven't gone away. Many of the issues we were dealing with then are still going on today: there's still discrimination in the workplace where you can still be fired for being gay.

Lipman: Not every state has a same-sex marriage bill.

Cowan: There's still religious persecution. There's still politicians who want to fight for death to take our rights away, starting with gay marriage. AIDS and HIV is still a problem. We went to a World AIDS Day conference and showed An Early Frost there and the CDC and World Health Organization said the number of HIV infections is down worldwide 50 percent — except among gay men, where it's up 22 percent. The response from the gay community was that we're just not getting through to younger gay men. And you wonder what it takes to get through. There's still crystal meth abuse, which we did a big story on with Ted. These things still all exist and they probably aren't going to go away. The Supreme Court can't make a decision on Monday and on Tuesday everybody has changed their minds.

Lipman: We'd be open to it, depending on the venue of a reboot. I think what would be interesting would be to explore our characters who are now in their 40s and bringing in a new generation and seeing how that mix would go. As an example, we were talking if Gus — Brian and Lindsay's child who is now say, 17, the age that Justin was — and if he was gay. How different his views would be from his father. That kind of thing would be an interesting thing to explore. People who are now mid-teens and 20s and possibly in their 30s have a very different view of what it's like being gay. It's not that way all over the country but certainly in a more sophisticated place but where you're educated and brought up, there's a much different view of being gay than when Ron and I were younger and how people perceived being gay. For me, in the 70s when I was in my 20s, that was a time where gay people were really establishing themselves and people were coming out at the same time as feminism. It was an explosive time.

Cowan: It would be interesting to see the next generation and see how people chose to assimilate.

Have you had any serious conversations with anyone about revisiting the show?

Cowan: No one has really talked to us about that, no. Showtime hasn't expressed any interest in that. As far as we know, no one has approached us about that.

Lipman: But if we were approached, we would take it seriously.


TV Blog_What We Learned at the ‘Queer as Folk’ Reunion…Could There Be a Reboot? by JimHalterman

What We Learned at the ‘Queer as Folk’ Reunion…Could There Be a Reboot? (Please?)

by Jim Halterman | June 10, 2015 at 12:45 PM | LGBT

(l-r) Robert Gant, Daniel Lippman, Gale Harold, Ron Cowen, Peter Paige and Randy Harrison. (ATX)

One of the best parts of the annual ATX Television Festival, which was held this past weekend in Austin, Texas, is that it not only celebrates the current array of fabulous TV programming with shows like “The Fosters” and LGBT-centric panels about diversity but it also looks back at groundbreaking programming that helped change the landscape for the better.

Case in point was the reunion for the Showtime series, “Queer as Folk,” that was one of the high points of an already awesome weekend. In a panel, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter, that featured creators Ron Cowen & Dan Lippman as well as cast members Peter Paige (Emmett), Gale Harold (Brian), Randy Harrison (Justin) and Robert Gant (Ben), the origins of the series were discussed as well as how the actors dealt with the often graphic nature of the show.

How it all began: Creators Cowen and Lippman had another project at Showtime that fell through. “Thank God it fell through because we got to do this instead,” said Cowen. The U.K. 10-episode series, “Queer as Folk,” which was created by out writer Russell T. Davies, was a big hit but nobody thought they could do the show in the U.S. due to its graphic sexual nature but that didn’t stop the guys. Showtime head Jerry Offsay signed off on the project and the rest is history.

The Casting Wasn’t Easy: ”We faced a lot of difficulty casting this,” explained Lippman to the crowd. Actors weren’t showing up for casting sessions and agencies weren’t letting their clients audition for the series. Who was the first actor cast? Scott Lowell, who played Ted. Lowell wasn’t present for the panel but sent along a video from London, where he is working in the theater. Hal Sparks (Michael) was next and then Paige, who originally read for the role of Ted. Harrison almost didn’t get seen for the role of Justin due to the agency not sending all the actors on tape that they were supposed to send. Lippman recalled that the pivotal role of Brian was the toughest to cast and they kept pushing start of production. At the last minute, before they were set to go to the network with their choices of actors, Harold walked in. Finally, the cast was complete.

Peter Paige and Gale Harold remember 'Queer as Folk' during the ATX panel. (ATX)

How Sharon Gless Became Debbie: Offsay had the idea of getting the former “Cagney and Lacey” star to play Debbie, the mother to Michael and, really, all the boys. Lippman remembered, “She was doing a play in Chicago and she had somehow gotten the sсript…if she were here she would say this, ‘I smell trouble and I want to be a part of this.”

Warning! Warning!: Paige admitted that his reps didn’t want him to take the role of Emmett. “I’m openly gay, my manager at the time was gay…the day of the screen test and they sent over a 21-page nudity rider.” Paige’s recalled his then-manager advised, “I don’t think you should go. I think you should bail.’ The actor, who co-created the hit ABC Family series “The Fosters.” knew he had to do it. “I’ll kill myself if somebody else does it.” (Can you imagine anyone else playing Emmett??!!) Harrison was just out of college and had already been doing theater work that included graphic nature so he had no qualms about signing on.

Gale Harold Did It For His Friends: Harold was ready to leave Los Angeles just before he got the role of Brian Kinney and the LGBT nature of the show did not faze him. “My primary concern was not to let down friends of mine that I grew up with that I had known, who may not have been out but they were dear people to me. I didn’t want to do a disservice to them…I took it as a challenge but I honestly thought it was never going to happen.” When the show did get picked up and he began the journey, Harold said “it was like the horse is out of the gate, just stay on.”

Gant Was Scared & Excited: Gant came into the show in the second season as a love interest for the Michael character. “You know you’re in the right place when you’re both scared and excited at the same time,” he said. “I was terrified because I had built this whole wall up against people knowing that I was gay and yet the excitement of watching [Gale and Randy] kiss and make love just hit me at my core so the prospect of doing it was thrilling and excruciatingly scary to be willing to let that wall crumble.”

Gay or Not Gay?: Harold and Lowell, at least in the first season, refused to discuss their own sexuality in the press. “I thought it was very classy,” said Paige of the guys not discussing their sexuality. “It was for absolutely the right reasons. It was really to protect us, I think, and it was to protect your characters and make sure that people didn’t have some filter and weren’t watching it and going ‘Yep, Yep, he’s straight. I knew it. I see it. There it goes. He’s not lisping. He’s straight.’” Harold added, talking about himself and Lowell, “We just felt like it was unnecessary. It was an obstacle that was not required.”

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: Cowen, who, along with Lippman, also wrote the groundbreaking HIV/AIDS TV movie, “An Early Frost” in 1985, remembered that even though the first line in the show is ‘The thing you need to know is it’s all about sex’ he added, “That didn’t mean it’s all about having sex. That meant how sex relates to all of our lives…it was how sex influences everyone’s lives whether it’s a celebration or it’s destructive.” As for the filming of the graphic (but very choreographed) sex scenes, the creators and cast said they eventually had ‘sex meetings’ to talk over the scenes and make sure everyone was comfortable with what was happening.

Filming The Show: “For a lot of the world I think there was this idea [or] association of promiscuity only that went along with gay men,” said Gant. “I think the show really allowed people to see the depth of relationships and longevity and the struggles and all the sort of things that gay couples have and, of course, on the flip side, the gay community often had a very hard time with the presentation of the sexuality because I think we’re dealing with our own shame ultimately and there maybe wanted more of that. So I think there were different ways that stereotypes were explored.”

“There’s the Queen”: Paige shared that he took “a lot of s**t” for the role of Emmett, who was effeminate. Cowen added, “The Emmett that we wrote wasn’t just a silly queen…Emmett was not just a stereotype and I guess I’ve always felt very protective of his character and was very offended by people who could only see him as a queen, especially gay people who would be ashamed of those members of our community who couldn’t pass.” Paige said he heard from people a lot that they had a problem with Emmett in the beginning because of his being queeny.

HBO originally wanted “QAF”: Lippman said that HBO originally was interested in doing the show but, like the U.K. series, they only wanted it as a short-order special, not a series that could potentially run for years. (For the record, the Showtime series ran five seasons).

“Queer as Folk: The Next Generation?”: Of course, the creators and cast were asked if they’d be interested in coming back with new episodes. “We certainly have all talked about it,” said Gant, who said everyone would be on board. Gant suggested viewers petition the networks to make it happen. Cowen joked that they’d start with a brand new cast but Gant said they could take the approach of the recent reboot of “Dallas” where a new generation is brought in alongside the returning cast members. Lippman agreed that having different generations could showcase the differences between the younger and older generations of gay people. So, the possibility of the show coming back to life is definitely out there.

You can watch episodes of “Queer as Folk” on XFINITY. For more on the annual ATX Television Festival, visit the website.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.


Watch the Entire 'Queer as Folk' ATX Festival Reunion Panel (Exclusive Video) перевод по транскриптам Кинвад и субтитры делают Настя Medveditsa и Елена Рыбка.

Creators Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman were joined by Gale Harold, Peter Paige, Robert Gant and Randy Harrison for a look back at the ground-breaking LGBT drama.

Showtime's Queer as Folk celebrated its 10-year reunion June 5 at the fourth annual ATX Television Festival in Austin, where the cast and creators of Showtime's drama discussed a potential reboot, the impact of the LGBT series and the show's groundbreaking sex scenes.

Read more 'Queer as Folk' Reunion: Creators on Early Obstacles and a Potential Reboot: "We'd be Open To It"

The panel, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter, featured creators Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, as well as stars Gale Harold (Brian), Peter Paige (Emmett), Robert Gant (Ben) and Randy Harrison (Justin). The lively and insightful discussion touched on how the series approached sex scenes — and filmed them — before they figured out "cock socks" and the insane 21-page nudity rider that was required to participate.

Paige — who went on to create and exec produce ABC Family's The Fosters — also credited Lipman and Cowan for helping to pave the way for his series about a lesbian couple and their foster children.

Lipman and Cowan also for one of the first times, explained their approach to the show's divisive series finale in which fan favorites Brian and Justin opted to not get married.

Watch the entire panel, above, (edited and produced by Arts + Labor) and check out our extensive interview with the creators — discussing Queer as Folk's relevancy today and whether or not they'd do a reboot — here.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com

Twitter: @Snoodit


'Queer As Folk' Should Be Remembered as the Groundbreaking, Powerful Television It Is

Kevin O'Keeffe's avatar image By Kevin O'Keeffe

The Sopranos is almost universally known as the herald of the golden age of television. It introduced to the world the idea of the prestige TV antihero with Tony Soprano. It started turning our attention from network to cable. Without The Sopranos, the golden age would not be.

It didn't do it alone, however. As New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum argued in an essay titled "Difficult Women," The Sopranos' HBO neighbor Sex and the City deserves as much credit for its lasting impact. Yet there's one more show that also deserves a seat at that table: Showtime's Queer as Folk.

Debuting in 2000, two years after SATC and one after The Sopranos, Queer as Folk is seen in retrospect as the gay counterpart. It blended The Sopranos' antihero structure and SATC's sexy subject matter, but with a soapy twist. It dealt with questions about gay men and women integrating into society, and had stories about characters living with HIV. So why doesn't it have the same reputation?

Why doesn't 'Queer as Folk' have the same reputation as 'The Sopranos' and 'Sex and the City' as part of the changing of the tides on TV?

"We were part of this rush to tell more complicated, edgier, less traditionally constructed stories," star Peter Paige, who played Emmett, told Mic. He and other members of Queer as Folk's cast and crew did a joint interview with Mic after their reunion panel at the ATX Television Festival last weekend. During the interview, the question of why Queer as Folk's reputation suffered became a hot topic. Their guess as to why?

"Homophobia." That's what star Randy Harrison, who played Justin, told Mic, without hesitation. "What else would it be?"

Paige wasn't so sure homophobia was solely to blame. "Part of it was the network, part of it was we didn't have as many eyeballs," he said. "Part of it was that we were a soap."

Yet as the conversation continued to drift back to the idea of homophobia. "It was such a bizarre split of praise. It had a lot to do with the gay community," star Robert Gant, who played Ben, said. "We create these walls behind which we hide who we really are.

"To air all this stuff, to air the dirty laundry which we squeakily keep from the world, was really scary to people. ... I actually think that contributed to a lot. People were dragging along their own struggles."

Source: Mic/Jack Plunkett

There were explicit sex scenes in Queer as Folk — far moreso than were in Sex and the City. The depiction of such promiscuity, plus drug use and partying, may have been too many stories out of school for the show's gay audience.

"We were very naïve at the beginning, because we thought the community would embrace us," series creator Daniel Lipman said. "They were so shocked by this, by seeing their lives put up there so graphically and honestly, and I think they couldn't deal with that."

Considering how far "gay TV" has evolved since Queer as Folk, it seems difficult to place the blame on homophobia both in and out of the gay community. Yet remember the reception to Looking in 2014. The show about gay men mostly went praised or unnoticed by straight critics, but it sharply divided gay audiences. If that's what's happening in 2014, it's not so hard to imagine the same effect in 2000.

'Queer as Folk' stars Peter Paige, Gale Harold, Randy Harrison and Robert Gant

Source: Jack Plunkett

One could argue Queer as Folk was significantly worse than its HBO counterparts, but that's not quite fair. Queer as Folk had its bright moments just like Sex and the City, even if neither was as strong across the board as The Sopranos. Additionally, TV can be groundbreaking without being the highest quality. Glee was all over the place in its six seasons, but nothing can take away the power of seeing a joint gay wedding on network TV.

Queer as Folk deserves to be remembered as groundbreaking, powerful television. The fact that it isn't is insulting. While Will and Grace still couldn't let its lead gay characters share a passionate kiss with another man, Queer as Folk embraced sensuality and sexuality. It was, for many gay men and women out and proud today, their first experience seeing their lives reflected on a TV show.

No, Queer as Folk wasn't perfect. It did, however, break the mold. It did good for people who wanted to see themselves depicted in art. For that, it deserves a legacy like The Sopranos and Sex and the City. It's that simple.


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Транскрипты от Kinwad

part 1

part 2

part 3_1

part 3_2
запись создана: 11.06.2015 в 21:18

@темы: фото, ссылки, интервью, видео, Robert Gant, Randy Harrison, Queer as Folk, Peter Page, Gale Harold, ATX festival

2015-06-11 в 21:51 

Хорошая подборочка, сюда бы еще транскрипт от Кинвад.
Гейл прекрасен.

2015-06-11 в 22:01 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
nloit, Гейл прекрасен.
сюда бы еще транскрипт от Кинвад.
у нас будет перевод-пересказ.

2015-06-11 в 22:53 

NataliM2, прекрасно.

2015-06-11 в 22:57 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
nloit, если транскрипт будет, всё будет ещё прекраснее. Ну кроме , думаю, для тех, кому и так всё понятно. Им, наверное, прекрасно уже сейчас.

2015-06-11 в 23:15 

NataliM2, так есть же транскрипт?

2015-06-11 в 23:17 

Where is my mind? (с)
Очень жду-надеюсь на перевод-пересказ. :yes:

2015-06-11 в 23:22 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
nloit, где?

2015-06-11 в 23:25 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
nloit, нашла.

2015-06-11 в 23:26 

NataliM2, kinwad.livejournal.com/358284.html первая часть и ссылки на вторую и третью.

2015-06-11 в 23:32 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
nloit, да, спасибо, нашла. я занята была и невнимательно у нее смотрела. круто, значит, у нас будет перевод благодаря Насте, а не неведомым гостям, которым камень за пазухой покоя не даёт и так и просится наружу броситься со всей дури в чужой огород. Простите, не сдерживаю чувств-с :D

гости, вы чЕтаете? как я рад. как я рад-то! :lol:

2015-06-11 в 23:34 

NataliM2, Свен тоже высказала желание перевести ;)

2015-06-11 в 23:40 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
Panda13, что именно? и где Свен выказывает желание, могу ли я наведаться в те чертоги и узнать, чего где дают?

2015-06-11 в 23:43 

NataliM2, вот здесь,читать дальше

2015-06-11 в 23:46 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
Panda13, ну там как-то все решили без нас. не могу вмешиваться.

2015-06-11 в 23:48 

NataliM2, так а зачем вмешиваться? Я просто для информации, что есть люди, согласные это сделать )

2015-06-11 в 23:52 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
Panda13, спасибо! просто дело в том, что я там выше писала, что Настя переведет. И писала практически сразу, как был сделан пост, потому что Настя мне написала о переводе , как увидела видео, это еще в 9 вечера было . Просто пока я списывалась с Кинвад, выяснилось, что уже всё есть. Транскрипты я Насте уже отправила.

2015-06-12 в 00:00 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
NataOlle, будут перевод и субтитры, Наташ.

2015-06-12 в 00:03 

Where is my mind? (с)
будут перевод и субтитры :ura:

2015-06-12 в 00:04 

О, чУдно, у нас может быть два перевода:))

2015-06-12 в 00:08 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
nloit, ))
NataOlle, ага, я тоже рада, мне без букв видео смотреть интересно, но не так, как с буквами))

2015-06-12 в 07:47 

Мальчик, укушенный на пасеке козой, перестал верить в логику
NataliM2, просто дело в том, что я там выше писала, что Настя переведет. И писала практически сразу, как был сделан пост, потому что Настя мне написала о переводе , как увидела видео, это еще в 9 вечера было . Просто пока я списывалась с Кинвад, выяснилось, что уже всё есть. Транскрипты я Насте уже отправила.

я не знала. Зачем тогда делать двойную работу, действительно.

2015-06-12 в 08:16 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
2sven, Свен, спасибо, что ты это написала)) умыл сейчас напишу тебе.

2015-06-12 в 10:32 

NataliM2, Наташа, мой пост сделан вчера в 21.25. На тот момент этот твой пост еще не появился , и я была не в курсе, что Настя берется за эту огромную работу.

2015-06-12 в 10:49 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
alisein, Алиса, появился. посмотри, во сколько там создано, я пост просто поднимала потом несколько раз подряд из-за обновлений, пока списывалась с Кинвад . Ну неважно уже по факту, мы со Свен уже договорились, она, возможно, что-то текстовое переведет. Текстов тоже много, и все хотелось бы, конечно, в переводе в нормальном))

2015-06-12 в 11:11 

NataliM2, Наташа, отлично, что ты смогла со всеми договориться и все организовать. Такие материалы шикарные. Жаль хоть слово из них упустить))

2015-06-12 в 11:14 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
alisein, Такие материалы шикарные. Жаль хоть слово из них упустить))
и не говори. и такие хорошие все, видео совсем другое впечатление оставило, чем фото.

2015-06-12 в 11:20 

NataliM2, видео совсем другое впечатление оставило, чем фото.
А с субтитрами это будет вообще незабываемое зрелище!

2015-06-12 в 11:24 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
alisein, А с субтитрами это будет вообще незабываемое зрелище!

2015-06-12 в 11:34 

NataliM2, Наташа, спасибо за организацию. читать дальше

2015-06-12 в 11:46 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
alisein, спасибо большое.
Спасибо тем, кто нам помогает в этом, читать дальше

2015-06-12 в 12:52 

Собаки могут лаять. Караван будет идти.
Вести с полей - панель Настя берет в работу со следующей недели.

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