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Gayest Episode Ever


Back in the day, a major sitcom doing a gay episode was a big deal. A proper gay episode would get headlines, but it would get the attention of two young guys who were still figuring things out — sexuality-wise and culture-wise. Gayest Episode Ever has screenwriter Glen Lakin and stay-at-home journalist Drew Mackie going through the great and not-so-great gay episodes of sitcoms past.

Back in the day, a major sitcom doing a gay episode was a big deal. A proper gay episode would get headlines, but it would get the attention of two young guys who were still figuring things out — sexuality-wise and culture-wise. Gayest Episode Ever has screenwriter Glen Lakin and stay-at-home journalist Drew Mackie going through the great and not-so-great gay episodes of sitcoms past.


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Back in the day, a major sitcom doing a gay episode was a big deal. A proper gay episode would get headlines, but it would get the attention of two young guys who were still figuring things out — sexuality-wise and culture-wise. Gayest Episode Ever has screenwriter Glen Lakin and stay-at-home journalist Drew Mackie going through the great and not-so-great gay episodes of sitcoms past.






Frasier Dates a Gay Guy

“The Doctor Is Out” (September 30, 2003) Three episodes into its final season, the gay subtext of Frasier comes to a climax, so to speak, when a dashing opera director played by Patrick Stewart becomes infatuated with Dr. Crane — and Frasier goes along with it about as far as a confirmed hetero can. This is our final episode of the year! We did so many episodes! Isn’t it amazing what you can do when sex and socializing are completely off the table? AUGH! Listen to our previous Frasier...


Will & Jack Embrace Every Gay Stereotype

“Fagmalion, Part Two: Attack of the Clones” (January 30, 2003) We’re covering part two of a four-part Will & Grace arc, but it actually make sense in that this itself is part two of two-part crossover with Kyle Getz and Mike Johnson from the podcast Gayish, which is all about the stereotypes that surround gay identity. Is this Will & Grace a carnival of gay horrors? Yes, but that doesn’t mean this show isn’t worth examining. If you’re Gayish-curious, check out their late bloomers episode...


A.C. Slater Was Gay for Zack Morris… for Five Seconds

“The Zack Tapes” (December 2, 1989) What’s gay about Saved By the Bell, aside from Slater’s singlets and Tori’s leather jacket? Well, there is one episode that very briefly demonstrated that same-sex attraction was a thing — on Saturday morning, no less. It’s all he more surprising because the new Saved By the Bell manages to make amends for all the things the original series did wrong except feature any kind of same-sex love. And yes, we’re doing this episode because we really dug the...


The Golden Girls Meet a Trans Man

“Strange Bedfellows” (November 7, 1987) The Golden Girls is beloved by many in the queer community, and for good reason, but the series is not batting a thousand when it comes to LGBT representation. This third season episode features a character who may just be the first trans man character on American TV. It’s… not great, but not wholly a disaster, and writer Henry Giardina is here to offer the perspective of a GG newbie. Listen to our previous Golden Girls episodes: Glen Writes a...


ALF Never Did a Gay Episode

“We Are Family” (May 2, 1988) Finally, at long last, ALF! This is the first in a new series where Drew and Glen discuss shows that never did a gay episode. “But wait, Drew and Glen! You have done episodes that weren’t explicitly gay before,” you may be saying. This is true, but at the very least we could pretend that the writer maybe-kinda-sorta had some gay metaphor in mind. This new series is for all the shows that never even treaded that far, but we think there’s something to talk about...


Spin City Stumps for Same-Sex Marriage

“Grand Illusion” (October 29, 1996) Because this is either the episode you’re getting immediately before the election (if you’re on the Patreon feed) or directly after (if you’re on the main feed), we decided we’d try for something political. No, we don’t know why we attempted this, but we ended up picking the first LGBT-themed episode from Spin City, which is arguably the most politically focused sitcom of late. And while this episode should focus more on the out gay character, Michael...


Jennifer Slept Here Is a Little Gay Boy’s Fantasy

“Jennifer: The Movie” (October 29, 1983) We’re celebrating both Halloween and week two of our celebration of Ann Jillian with an episode about how the 1983 NBC series Jennifer Slept Here is both so very weird and also a little gay boy’s fantasy — because it pairs an awkward boy with glamorous ghost, and that’s secretly what every little gay boy wishes he had to guide him through his awkward years. This is peak 80s, but also it has one of the best sitcom themes ever, regardless of...


It’s a Living Waits on a Trans Woman

“Gender Gap” (January 11, 1986) Heads up: Initially, at least, Drew thought the episode being discussed was more transphobic that most, but special guest Ashley Lauren Rogers pointed out the ways the one trans episode of It’s a Living isn't a total wash — and since Ashley happens to be the host of the Is It Transphobic? podcast, that counts for something. Whatever you think, this episode offers a glimpse at the proto-Golden Girls sitcom that Drew has been talking about for weeks and weeks,...


Penelope Alvarez Is the Mother of a Queer Teenager

“Pride and Prejudice” (January 6, 2017) The new One Day at a Time gets major points for focusing on a Latin family, for successfully re-inventing a Norman Lear classic and for giving us another reason to love Rita Moreno. Most important for this podcast’s purposes, however, is its nuanced handling of teenage Elena’s coming out. This week, Tony Rodriguez joins us to discuss how this story arc is more interesting for having put the spotlight not on Elena but on Penelope, her mom, who is...


Julia Sugarbaker Dates a Possible Homosexual

“A Toe in the Water” (September 23, 1991) What is Designing Women minus Delta Burke and Jean Smart but plus Julia Duffy and Jan Hooks? An interesting beast that is different than the Suzanne/Charlene years, yeah, but still pretty damn interesting. This episode is a showcase for Duffy’s anti-Diane Chambers, Allison Sugarbaker, who only lasted a season but it wasn’t her fault? Jonathan Bradley Welch makes his second GEE turn to talk Sugarbakers and his new podcast with Stonewall...


The Dream On Guy Has a Gay Dad

“Pop Secret” (June 23, 1993) The HBO sitcom Dream On got a rep for being both a more grown-up take on sitcoms... and also a showcase for boobs. But this show’s fourth-season gay episode lands pretty well today. It’s all about series protag Martin Tupper (Brian Benben) finding out his dad is gay and processing it more realistically than other characters on other sitcoms would. The Entertainment Weekly article “HBO’s ‘Dream On’ Is the Sauciest Show on Television,” which describes how the...


Rachel Kisses a Lesbian

“The One with Rachel's Big Kiss” (April 26, 2001) Welcome back Emelie Battaglia for another go-around with America’s favorite homophobic sitcom, Friends! This episode has “Chandler is gay” jokes aplenty, even if he’s about to marry Monica, but the focus is actually on Rachel, who encounters a college acquaintance (Winona Ryder) with whom she once shared a kiss. This episode features two more woman-on-woman kisses than the one where Carol and Susan get married — ahem — and Drew eagerly...


Diane Chambers Revisited (An Episode That Glen Can Actually Listen To)

”The Boys in the Bar“ (January 27, 1983) If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a bit, you may be aware of the fact that Glen refuses to listen to it. Drew thinks this is too bad, because this really seems like the kind of podcast Glen would really enjoy. In celebration of Glen’s birthday month, Drew asked Sam Pancake and Tony Rodriguez to do a reading of one of the best episodes we’ve done: Episode 10, “Diane Chambers Is an LGBT Ally,” based on the Cheers episode “The Boys in the...


Mike Seaver Actually Said the Word ‘Gay’

“Mike’s Madonna Story” (November 5, 1985) Yep. We’re actually doing Growing Pains — specifically because of one scene in a first-season episode in which Kirk Cameron’s character tosses of the line “Maybe I’m gay.” It might seem small, but it’s crazy to consider the word “gay” even being spoken on this quintessential 80s family show, much less by a character played by a guy who’d shortly thereafter become a born-again Christianity and who’d eventually disclose some seriously homophobic...


Norm Peterson Is Gay for Pay

“Norm, Is That You?” (December 8, 1988) If we told you this episode features George Wendt’s character pretending to be gay, you’d probably imagine that Wendt would go really big with that performance. Most sitcoms would if a straight actor were playing a straight character playing a gay character, but Cheers doesn’t, and in fact this is an episode about gayness where it goes oddly not remarked upon — and not spoken about outright. Listen to our previous Cheers episodes, Rebecca Howe...


In the House Made RuPaul Play a Heterosexual

“Boys II Men II Women” (December 4, 1995) Twenty-five ago, long before he’d become a media mogul and the face of an international franchise, Rupaul made 1995 his most mainstream year yet. Not only did he have his mainstream debut in The Brady Bunch movie, but he also did one-off guest roles in a number of network sitcoms. But only In the House had him playing a drag queen who was an avowed heterosexual. Drew talked with In the House creator Winifred Hervey about her time on Golden Girls....


Introducing the Shelley Longcast!

Welcome to the first installment of the Shelley Longcast, the only podcast (that we know of) dedicated to the cinematic work of Shelley Long. You’re seeing this on the Gayest Episode Ever feed because it’s the the Patreon-exclusive bonus series we’ve launched and we decided you listeners might enjoy this first, more TV-related episode: The Brady Bunch Movie, a 1995 classic that we think this movie is really funny — and we think playing an iconic TV character such as Carol Brady was a daring...


Finch’s Buddy Is Trans

“Brandi, You’re a Fine Girl” (November 16, 2000) Finally! It’s Gayest Episode Ever’s first trans episode. Glen and Drew decided to start with a 2000 episode of Just Shoot Me that features Jenny McCarthy as the childhood friend of David Spade’s character who rolls into town with some surprising news. It’s not great, largely because edgy humor does not age well, but more than anything else, this episode’s shortcomings demonstrate how the general conversation about trans folks has evolved in...


Alice Dates a Homo

“Alice Gets a Pass” (September 29, 1976) Why on earth was this the second episode of this show? When a former football star-turned-movie actor comes into town, Linda Lavin’s Alice is happy to take him out on a date, but she and everyone else are surprised to learn that he’s gay. Of all the episodes we’ve discussed so far, this one more than others captures a very particular flavor of homophobia: it being masked as maternal concern about predatory men. John Forget, this one is for...


Eric Forman’s New Buddy Is a Homo

“Eric’s Buddy” (December 6, 1998) Trigger warning: The episode we’re talking about doesn’t bring up sexual assault in any way, but because it’s That 70s Show, the subject comes up. Skip from the 25-minute mark to the 29-minute mark if you want to listen to the episode without that discussion. Debate among yourselves whether That 70’s Show qualifies as a classic sitcom, but you can’t say it wasn’t a successful show, running eight seasons and then forever in syndication. In its first season,...