Jan 8, 2012

[TV] Queer as Folk (US) - Season 3

My recent post about O Bar had me thinking about this show again and the on again, off again efforts to post reviews for all seasons of the show. Ideally I should re-watch the season before posting a review but then my dance card together with my partner is a tad full at the moment, so I'll just have to do the best that I can with this one based on memory.

And I'm not ashamed to admit that I watched the entire run of this show more than once. It was a bit of a thing at the time, I suppose.

It's somewhat weird to consider the fact that I never got around to watching the original UK version of Queer as Folk despite my general enjoyment of the series. I guess it has a lot to do with how this version of the show has a mixed bag of memories attached to it and how I don't quite feel ready to mess with that. Whether I like it or not, a large part of my coming out and forming my gay identity involved this particular show.

The US version Queer as Folk is an adaptation of the Russel T. Davies series of the same name. Produced by Showtime and Temple Street Productions, QAF was developed for US television by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman.

Gale Harold
Gale Harold (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)
The last season seemed to teach the writers about the value of the meta-plot arching over several episodes. In this case, we were given a much larger plot that spans the entire season in the form of the bid for mayor by clearly anti-LGBT Police Chief Stockwell. The course of his campaign becomes part of the backdrop for the season, especially when Brian (Gale Harold) manages to snag Stockwell's election campaign account for his advertising firm. And while his aid to a candidate who is fairly against the local pink community seem like a really bad deal, there's also the fact that Justin (Randy Harrison) has left Brian for the younger musical artist  Ethan (Fabrizio Filippo), which probably isn't helping things along.

Ted (Scott Lowell) and Emmett (Peter Paige) decide to give being in a more than friendly relationship together may be worth a shot. And then our lesbians consider having a second child that Melanie (Michelle Clunie) wants to bring to term instead of Lindsay (Thea Gill). And given that setup, I'm sure you can project who they'd want as a potential sperm donor / father. And our favorite geek Michael (Hal Sparks) is still together with the rather dreamy Ben (Robert Gant), who has demons of his own to fight this season - plus a new member of the household!

Now admittedly the whole political plot thread that runs through pretty much the entire season was a bit of a strain for me. Then again, politics depicted accurately is never a pretty picture and I recognize that the show was trying to tackle a significant angle for consideration in the fight for LGBT rights in the form of hostile political figures. But still, it was such a painful storyline that just had to contaminate every single episode of the season.

To some extent I was happy to see Brian and Justin break-up since Justin is majorly annoying. But then Ethan came along to give us all a sense of scale as to what annoying can really be. It also means dirty and slovenly apparently as only justified by the fact that he's supposed to be one of those creative types. But Justin is Justin, so we all know where this train is going to make its final destination.

Robert Gant
Robert Gant (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)
It was also interesting how they opted to humanize Ben more given he seemed like a rather idealized character in the previous season. I'm not sure if the particular direction taken in the show was the best way of fleshing out his character more, but for the most part it worked, I suppose. I was more drawn to the continuing developments behind the Rage comic book, but I admit I'm kind of geeky that way.

One of the main highlights of the season was definitely the Ted-Emmett relationship and how that progressed given the significant differences in their natures. I really appreciated their sort of Odd Couple dynamic together, which only made them more endearing somehow. Of course the way that story twisted towards the end was certainly a shocking enough one and it does a tremendous job of setting things up for the next season.

This season had a mixed bag of highs and lows tied together with an awesome new title sequence. I think for the most part I was still okay and on-board but not quite as "hooked" as I used to be. Still, Queer as Folk remains one of the key shows in LGBT pop culture history and this third season still gets 3.5 creepy hustler come-on lines out of a possible 5.

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