Wednesday, May 02, 2007

WHY ARE YOU GAY: My So-Called Life

We’re jumping ahead a few years on this one, but no series like this would be complete with the show that helped you make that final great sashay into gayhood. It was perfectly timed just after you went through puberty, it had characters you could understand, and all of your pre-gay friends were also obsessed. Yes, we’re talking about “The Jordan Catalano Show.”

To begin with, it was the first primetime drama for teens to feature a gay character. You didn’t necessarily relate to Ricky and his flamboyant jheri curls, but the fact that he was there, dealing confidently with his issues, was a huge comfort. (Even though even then, you knew the beret and asymmetrical button-downs were a homo no-no.)

Then there was Claire Danes, with her pretty, awkward, somehow-not-quite-fitting-in-ness. Even though she was a willowy teenage girl, you somehow related to the sense of unfulfilled yearning she always felt. Or maybe, because she was a willowy teenage girl. Like you.

And then there was Jordan Catalano. That hair, that skin, those ill-fitting flannels! No one was fetishized by a camera that outrageously until Brandon Routh in “Superman.” When he took over the mic to sing “I Wanna Be Sedated,” oh Lord, all you wanted to do was go to your room and be masturbated.

Every plotline, from quirky, drunk Rayanne Graff’s attempts to be a lead singer, to Brian Krakow’s desperate obsession with Angela, seemed to speak right to you. And then, the school dance came. Gay Ricky and Chubby Delia found themselves alone, rejected by the crowd and their insensitive peers. The song “What is Love” came over the loudspeakers, and they began to dance. Everyone turned to look, and after a few moments, a circle formed. They stared as Ricky and Delia spun like crazy, finally realizing what it meant not to care what other people think. They'd never looked more free.

See? Even thinking about it now makes you more gay.


fishwatch said...

we bring all our tricks to the law school boiler room.

Anonymous said...

And then he grew up into Hephaestion. Can't act his way out of a wet paper bag, but the boy looks good in eyeliner.