It’s the Winter Gay TV Guide!

It’s winter, it’s cold outside, and you want to stay home and watch some gay
TV. But what to watch?

It’s true that there’s been a wintery chill in the air lately when it comes
to gays on TV. has been quick to lament the plethora of “barely
there” regular gay characters on shows such as Privileged, Lipstick
and others, as well as the plunge in the number of gay characters on
the broadcast networks.

But television’s hot chocolate mug is still at least half full with rich and
creamy gay goodness.

Where can that television be found? And more important, should it be

Let the Great Gay help you decide!

What’s the Great Gay, you ask? That’s the collective wisdom of all who toil
here at, the sum total of years of thoughtful criticism and
endless, stupefying television viewing.

Well, okay, it’s mostly just me blathering on, with the others yelling at me
whenever I get something wrong.

Items or Less

Why It’s Gay: This late-night
comedy show set in a real, working grocery store is loosely plotted, but mostly
improvised. The supporting cast includes
Christopher Liam Moore, who is openly gay, as Richard Mednick, a gay cashier who dreams of being a
professional figure skater.

The cast of 10 Items or Less (Christopher Liam Moore second from right)

When It’s On: Tuesdays, 11 PM, on
TBS, with new episodes resuming January 6th.

The Great Gay Says: Improvisational
comedy doesn’t always translate well to television, but this show has its
moments. It’s co-creator John Lehr’s show all the way, but Moore manages to drum up some laughs, usually
playing the straight man (so to speak) to the group of incompetent wackos who
surround him. The characters have delved into Richard’s personal life before,
and they’ll do so again, most notably on the February 10th episode
when Lehr’s clueless, bumbling Leslie decides to play matchmaker for Richard.

Real World: Brooklyn

Why It’s Gay: The show is back
for its 21st season with its 21,000th hot gay character,
J.D., a former high school swimmer and now a dolphin trainer. The season also includes
a MTF transgender participant, Katelynn.

The Real World: Brooklyn’s cast
includes J.D. (top left) and Katelynn (bottom left)

When It’s On: Wednesdays, 10 PM,
on MTV, with the season premiere on January 7th.

The Great Gay Says: Is there
anything new to be done with this never-ending series? Probably not, but the
show does include Chet and Devyn, two participants who don’t believe in
“premarital sex,” so maybe that’ll keep the drunken debauchery to a minimum.
But let’s face it: the producers are probably just setting us up to watch these
two make a serious descent into depravity.

Katelynn’s Real World application video


Why It’s Gay: It’s not the
fashion setting, Vanessa Williams’ wonderfully over-the-top portrayal of the
show’s villain, or even the many gay supporting players that make this the
gayest show on TV. No, it’s gay because of Betty herself, the ultimate
underdog. If there’s a gay or bi guy who can’t relate, I don’t wanna know him!

Bernadette Peters guest stars on the January 8th episode of Ugly Betty

Photo courtesy ABC

When It’s On: Thursdays, 8 PM, on
ABC, with new episodes resuming January 8th.

The Great Gay Says: Watch it!
This is a show at the peak of its creative output. Upcoming storylines include
Bernadette Peters guesting as Jodie Papadakis, a tough magazine editor whom
Betty must impress as part of the YETI program. And despite equivocations from
those involved with the show, the Great Gay is certain the show is going
somewhere gay with this Justin/Randy storyline. But sadly, the Great Gay has
learned that Marc and Cliff are going their separate ways.

Popcorn and a Movie (here!)

Why It’s Gay: The here! network
unspools a new gay-themed movie every Friday night. Upcoming movies include Breakfast with Scot (on Friday),
followed on succeeding Fridays by Saving
, Tru Loved, and The World Unseen.

When It’s on: Friday nights on
here! TV.

The Great Gay Says: Some of the
upcoming movies were poorly received, but they’re current, and they’re often
television premieres. Aren’t you curious to know if Roger Ebert was right about
Tru Loved (which he panned after only
watching eight minutes)? Even if some of the movies end up sucking, this is
still cheaper than downloading them from iTunes.


Marc Cherry and Desperate Housewives cast members
celebrate their 100th episode which airs January 18th

Photo credit: Ron Tom/ABC

Why It’s Gay: Bree’s son Andrew
has a fiancé, hottie plastic surgeon (and former porn star) Alex. Which, so
far, has also led to more screen time for gay neighbors Lee and Bob (the latter
of whom is also acting as lawyer for Lynette’s son, Preston,
who is accused of murder). Up first for the new year? A pre-wedding catfight
between Bree and Alex’s mom, played by Joanna Cassidy (the self-centered mother
of Rachel Griffith’s character on Six
Feet Under
). Also, Alex’s porn past may have been exposed, but expect Bob and Lee to dig up more dirt that raises further suspicions about him.

When It’s On: Sundays, 9 PM, on
ABC, with new episodes that resumed January 4th.

The Great Gay Says: The critical
buzz is mixed on this season — not enough of a shake-up from the five-year
jump? — but the Great Gay remains a big fan.

& Sisters

Why It’s Gay: Kevin, Scotty,
Saul, and Sally Field going all “Norma Rae” during those Walker family dinners. This is already the most openly gay show on TV, and it’s about to get even more
pro-gay with the unveiling of Saul’s new boyfriend, played by John Glover.

When It’s On: Sundays, 10 PM on
ABC, with new episodes that resumed January 4th.

The Great Gay Says: No matter how
many times I say this is a terrible, mawkish show, people keep watching it and
mostly loving it anyway. I give up already! Just watch the damn thing, okay?

Brothers & Sisters’ Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Scotty (Luke MacFarlane)

United States of Tara

Why It’s Gay: It’s not just that
it stars the sublime Toni Collette as a person with multiple personality
disorder, from a script by Juno scribe
Diablo Cody. Tara’s younger son is gay — another in the small, but very welcome
trend of younger gay teen characters.

Keir Gilchrist as "Marshall" in The United States of Tara

When It’s On: Sundays, 10 PM, on
Showtime, with the premiere on January 18th.

The Great Gay Says: Quirky and
provocative, they’re selling the show as this year’s Weeds. And did I mention it stars Toni Collette?

for Bobby

Ryan Kelley and Sigourney Weaver in Prayers for Bobby

Why It’s Gay: This TV movie
starring Sigourney Weaver is based on the real-life story of Mary Griffith, a
mother whose anti-gay religious beliefs helped drive her gay son to suicide.

When It’s On: January 24th,
9 PM, on Lifetime.

The Great Gay Says: The Great Gay
worried that this real-life story, which took place in 1970s, would seem
dated. But as the Proposition 8 debacle
proved, religious beliefs are the primary —maybe the only — remaining obstacles to same-sex equality, and plenty of
young people still suffer from this form of dehumanizing bigotry. Incredibly,
this movie takes anti-gay religion head-on with a clear, unambiguous, pro-gay
message. But the story is also told with subtlety and sophistication. And yes,
Sigourney Weaver is sensational, and will almost certainly be in the running
for the Emmy.

Real Momentum (Logo)

Why It’s Gay: This documentary series features profiles of
interesting GLBT folks.

When It’s On:
Saturdays, 8 PM, on Logo (’s
parent company), with a season premiere on January 17th.

The Great Gay Says: Some of the
upcoming selections are definitely worthwhile, including Equality U (January 17th), about a group of gay and
gay-supportive college students who stage protests at religious colleges
nationwide, and The Universe of Keith
(February 28th), about the iconic 80s gay artist who died
of AIDS. Some of these documentaries will also be streamed on

Trailer for Equality U (airing on Logo January 17th)

Drag Race

Why It’s Gay: Self-proclaimed
“supermodel” RuPaul helps pick the world’s next great drag queen. The regular
judges include Project Runway’s Santino Rice, and the guest judges
include Bob Mackie, Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams, and — wait for it —
Xena, Warrior Princess, Lucy Lawless!

When It’s On: Mondays on Logo,
with a premiere on February 2nd.

The Great Gay Says: Watch it. In an unusual twist, RuPaul plays two
roles — first, he’s RuPaul Charles, a male, Tim Gunn-like mentor with advice
for the participants. But then he reappears as RuPaul, a female persona, acting
as judge and diva. Sparks are flying already!

Trek: Phase II: Blood and Fire, Part 2

Why It’s Gay: In 2003, a group of
enterprising Star Trek fans began
creating Star Trek: Phase II — new
online episodes of the original series. In December, they released Part 1 of a
reworked script by writer
David Gerrold that had originally been penned for an episode of The Next Generation, but had been
rejected for being too “gay.” It’s now even more gay.

A scene from Star
Trek: Phase II: Blood and Fire

When It’s On: Part 1 is available
for download
. Part 2 will be
released in February.

The Great Gays Says: I mean this in
the nicest way possible, but these people are nuts. This is a “fan” project,
which means there’s no compensation involved whatsoever. Even so, they’ve
created entirely new episodes of one of the world’s most famous television
series — with the original sets, no less. The quality is eerily good, and Part
1 of this particular episode was excellent.

Millionaire Matchmaker (Bravo)

Why It’s Gay: On the second
season of the reality show about “elite matchmaker” Patti Stanger, one of her
clients is a gay millionaire who she helps find love.

Matchmaker Patti Stanger

When It’s On: Thursdays, 10 PM,
on Bravo, with a season premiere on February 12th.

The Great Gay Says: The Great Gay
was under the impression that millionaires didn’t need any help getting dates,
but perhaps it’s like being outrageously beautiful, which the Great Gay knows
from personal experience is a very heavy burden to carry. In any event, it’s
wonderful to see GLBT diversity slowly creeping outside the “gay ghetto” of
hairstyling or designing reality TV.

Academy Awards! (ABC)

Why It’s Gay: You’re kidding,
right? Plus Hugh Jackman is hosting!

When It’s On: Sunday, February
22, on ABC.

The Great Gay Says: After the
outrageous 2005 Brokeback Mountain
upset, many of us vowed never to watch the Oscars again. Yeah, right. But if Milk doesn’t clean up this year, we
really will boycott the damn thing!
No, really, we will! *sigh* Okay, maybe not.

Afterlife (here!)

Why It’s Gay: The show, which is
hosted by a gay man, features a lesbian psychic doing readings of gay people.

When It’s On: Mondays on here! TV, with a premiere on March

The Great Gay Says: The Great Gay
predicts … this is yet another reality show that will reveal how “amazing” it
is when a psychic’s vague babblings look “amazing” when all the dead-ends and
random, searching guesses are edited out.

Greek (ABC Family)

Why It’s Gay: Because it features
gay frat brother Calvin.

Greek’s "Calvin" (Paul James)

When It’s On: The show has split
its 20-episode season into two 10-episode chunks and new episodes resume
in March and will air in the 9 PM timeslot.

The Great Gay Says: On the plus
side, Calvin is definitely not your usual bitchy gay character. He’s even had
boyfriends and sex. On the minus
side, too often Calvin is relegated to standing around in the background and
too much of his relationships happen off-screen. But Calvin is scheduled to meet a jock and fellow frat-brother who may or
may not be putting the moves on him.

Reaper (The CW)

Why It’s Gay: Well, Bret Harrison
is a total hottie. Plus, Ken Marino returns as a gay demon fighting Satan over
the “death” of his ex-partner — though there’s no word on whether the partner,
now an angel, will make another appearance this year.

Ken Marino as Reaper’s gay demon

When It’s On: Tuesdays, 9 PM, on the CW, with new episodes
resuming March 17.

The Great Gay Says: The Great Gay
liked this show when it premiered, then got bored by the repetition, and then
sort of liked it again. Either the show is inconsistent in quality, or the
Great Gay is just kinda fickle.

Kings (NBC)

Why It’s Gay: This contemporary
retelling of the David and Goliath story takes place in a modern day monarchy
and includes not one, but two gay characters. One is going to be a surprise
reveal whose identity is being tightly held under lock and key, but the other
is already known and
possibly provides a clue to the former.

When It’s On: Thursdays, 10 PM, on
NBC, with the series premiere on March 19th.

Ian McShane, Chris Egan, and Sebastian Stan star in NBC’s Kings

The Great Gay Says: This show is either going to be a breath of fresh air or
so out there it tanks after two episodes (Viva
anyone?), but we are definitely intrigued by the idea and actually
hold out hope these gay characters could be something genuinely different on
the television landscape.

The trailer for Kings

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (HBO)

Desmond Dube and Jill Scott in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Photo courtesy of TWC/MIRAGE/BBC

Why It’s Gay: BK is the owner of the hair salon next door to the detective agency owned by Mma Precious Ramotswe. A gay hair stylist isn’t exactly a groundbreaking, but then again, the series is set in Botswana, Africa, so that probably is the character most likely to be out.

When It’s On: The pilot movie airs Sunday, March 29th on HBO.

The Great Gay Says: Interestingly, the popular book by
Alexander McCall Smith on which the movie is based does not include the character of BK. In other words, this adaptation wasn’t "de-gayed" for television, but rather "gayed up." Also refreshing is the movie’s African setting which is reflected in the languid rhythms and easy-going storytelling (it might seem simple on the surface, but watch carefully). HBO has reportedly ordered 15 episodes of the series which are set to begin filming this spring.

The Rest of the Winter in Gay TV

The Great Gay wonders if, now that the recent online webisodes have
revealed that
Battlestar Galactica’s
Felix Gaeta
is definitely gay, we’ll learn more about his relationship with Hoshi
when the show returns for its series wrap-up (Friday, January 16th,
10 PM, Sci-Fi Channel) . . .

Battlestar Galactica’s "Felix Gaeta" (Alessandro Juliani)

mastermind Joss Whedon promises some gay personality-imprinting in

, a new series about a group of operatives who have
new identities implanted every week and wiped clean after every assignment
(series premiere Friday, February 13th, 9 PM, Fox) . . .

with the barely there Marco is back January 6th . . . here! TV
presents the American debut of
Sugar Rush
critically acclaimed British import about 15-year-old Kim and her
new free-spirit friend, Sugar, who proceeds to turn her life upside-down. Kim’s
neighbors, Dave and David, are a couple with a son who’s crazy for Kim (Friday,
February 6th) . . . Logo promises an ironic Gay
Marriage Horror-thon
on Valentine’s Day weekend, presenting a weekend of
gay romantic comedies including
and the television premiere of Out at the Wedding . . . NBC’s

returns February 2nd with the out Bryan Fuller back on the show.
Perhaps he’ll finally bring a gay hero into the mix . . .
Gossip Girl
gay teen Eric, played by Connor Paolo, continues to intrigue (Mondays, 8
PM, the CW, new episodes began last night) . . .

Gossip Girl’s "Eric" (Connor Paolo)

Kyra Sedgwick’s
The Closer

(season premiere January 26th) has only had a few gay episodes and
no gay characters, but the cast does include the out Phillip P. Keene as Buzz
Watson . . .
Lipstick Jungle

is back on NBC on January 16th with barely-there Roy. Supposedly,
another character will be coming out as well . . . Charo — yes,
Charo, who looks frickin’
amazing — hosts an episode of
NewNowNext Pop Lab

in January where she will be presenting the broadcast premiere of her version of
the song, “
España Cañi,”
last year’s unlikely dance club hit (Wednesday, January 28, midnight,

The ageless Charo

Patrick Harris host’s Saturday Night Live when the show returns on January 10th and his sitcom’ How I Met Your Mother
is back January 12th . . . And as always, we’ll be keeping our eyes
’s Jared Padalecki
and Jensen Ackles, even though the gay content there is currently
restricted to our very vivid imaginations (new episodes begin January 15th, 9
PM, the CW).