Gayest Episode Ever-logo

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.


United States


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.




We Finally Do Soap

Content warning: In discussing plotlines on Soap, we do bring up suicide and, very briefly, sexual assault. "Episode 4.1" (November 12, 1980) * Finally! It's one of the biggest cult favorite sitcoms of all time *and* it's also a show famous for having a LGBT character in the main cast. The only reason it's taken us this many years to tackle Soap is that it's so much more serialized than mostly anything else we cover, so while we focus on one particular episode, we're also discussing the...


Who’s the Boss? Just Basically Admits That Jonathan Is Gay

“Jonathan the Gymnast” (November 18, 1986) Technically, Who’s the Boss? never did a gay episode, but because Danny Pintauro’s sexuality looms large over this sitcom, many episodes seem a little gayer as a result — and this episode especially so. In it, Tony and Angela step into the kitchen to have a frank discussion of why Jonathan is not like other boys, and it really comes off like Who’s the Boss? is asking viewers to overlook this aspect of the character. It’s fucked up that this...


Wings Flies Its Gay Character Back to Nantucket

“Sons and Lovers” (January 16, 1996) This is an honest-to-God follow-up to our previous Wings episode, which was all about the series antagonist, Roy Biggins, finding out his son was gay. Five seasons later, someone at Wings thought to ask “Hey, what if that gay character didn’t cease to exist the moment that first episode ended?” This episode marks one of the few times that a one-off gay character actually got to return. And yeah, we’re re-joined by Massachusetts correspondent Jonathan...


The Crew Was Fox’s Queer-Inclusive Alternative to Friends

“The Man We Love” (June 30, 1996) Last week, we looked at Married… With Children’s take on an anti-Friends. This week, we decided to look at the last episode of a show that aired the previous season on Fox. While it was not designed as a response to Friends, it nonetheless managed to solve some of that show’s major problems. Namely, it’s racially diverse, there’s a queer character in the opening credits, and the characters actually work. It’s also funny, and having been co-created by...


Backdoor Pilots: Married… With Children Tries to Make the Anti-Friends

“Enemies” (April 14, 1996) You may recall a late-series installment of Married… With Children that shifted focus away from the Bundys and onto an apartment of young sexy people who apparently despised each other. This was “Enemies,” a kinda-sorta send-up of Friends that never saw the light of day beyond this one episode. Our theory is that it was a reformatted spinoff that at one point was going to star Christina Applegate and that also features a guy who’s totally a stand-in for Matt Le...


Weirdest Episode Ever: Dick Van Dyke vs. Space Aliens

“It May Look Like a Walnut” (February 6, 1963) It’s not the first “weird” episode that a sitcom ever did, but it’s probably the most famous: the second-season installment of The Dick Van Dyke Show where it departed from the usual formula and became a sci-fi B-movie. It turns out to be a dream, of course, but you actually aren’t sure until the final moments, and it’s still one of the stranger sequences you’ll ever see on a mainstream sitcom. This episode is not all that gay but it is...


The Addams Family Considers Conversion Therapy

“Morticia and the Psychiatrist” (September 25, 1964) This year, we’re celebrating Halloween with one of the two most Halloween-tastic TV families of all time — and no worries, because we talk plenty about the other one too. Joining us to discuss the second episode of The Addams Family is Ted Biaselli, director of original series at Netflix, who shares some of his experience developing the new Addams Family reboot, Wednesday, and his lifelong relationship with the creepiest and kookiest...


Modern Family Meets a Gay Clown

“Fizbo” (November 25, 2009) People have been asking us to cover this show basically since we started the podcast, and so this week we finally decided to cover it… by looking into an episode no one wanted us to do. In our heads, the most interesting part of the show is Cam and Mitchell, and the most interesting part of Cam and Mitchell is Eric Stonestreet’s portrayal of Cam. He’s straight, but we say he delivers a nuanced character who both embraces and defies stereotypes. Also, he’s a...


Archie Bunker Goes to a Gay Bar

“The Boys’ Night Out” (February 13, 1983) More than a hundred episodes later (of All in the Family but also of this podcast), we return to the Archie Bunker primary universe to find out if everyone's favorite bigot got over his homophobia. The answer: kind of? But that is probably just the result of season after season of broadcast TV sanding off his rougher edges. Check out our sponsor, Spaces! And join our spaces for Gayest Episode Ever and Cartoons That Made Us Gay. Listen to Drew...


Mama’s Family Never Did a Gay Episode

“There Is Nothing Like the Dames” (February 17, 1990) Believe it or not, Mama’s Family has a deeply queer history. While the final result of — the syndicated revival that returned to TV after NBC canceled the it — bears little of that, this episode goes over all the ways a recurring sketch on The Carol Burnett Show originally told the story of a queer-coded artist who can’t relate to his family back home. It’s all the stranger to consider that Mama’s Family never did an explicitly queer...


30 Rock Questions Its Sexuality

“Cougars” (November 29, 2007) As comedically successful as it might be, 30 Rock is a very straight show. That’s why our best pick for a queer episode is one where the sexually interesting narrative is the C plot and it ends with Judah Friedlander’s Frank convincing himself he can’t like guys because he doesn’t fit prescribed definition of gay. This episode is ultimately harmless but indicative of some traps later Tina Fey efforts would fall into. But hey — it’s got “Muffin Top.” Check out...


Nikki Explores the Gay Side of Pro Wrestling

“Stealing Nikki” (November 26, 2000) Go figure: It’s our longest episode yet, and it’s about a show you might not even remember! We were fortunate enough to get Talking Simpsons co-host Henry Gilbert back for a second go-around, and we decided to make use of his encyclopedic knowledge of professional wrestling. Lucky for us, there is in fact a sitcom that discusses pro wrestling and queerness in the same context, and it’s Nikki Cox two-season comedy series, which could not be more early...


Bill Dauterive Is Gay for Pay

“My Hair Lady” (February 15, 2004) Welcome to season six of Gayest Episode Ever! True, season don’t really mean anything on this kind of podcast, but we are back from our summer hiatus and we’re super eager to get back into talking sitcom queerness. We’re kicking off this season with our fourth look at King of the Hill. It’s an interesting one in that it has (presumably) straight writer Wyatt Cenac telling a story about Bill pretending to be gay, yet it’s pretty well done, in that both...


Wings Meets a Gay

Hi. This is the fourth and final installment of our summer rerun series wherein we send out old episodes that we think are good but perhaps didn’t get all the attention they should have. This Wings episode is actually our least-listened-to episode, and we’re pretty sure that is a result of Drew naming it originally “Roy Biggins Has a Big Gay Son.” We’re betting that forefronting the fact that it’s Wings will help more people listen to it, because you’re more likely to know what Wings is than...


Married With Children Lets Its Out Star Play Gay

It's another summer rerun! This time, of our 17th episode, which never really pulled in the numbers we thought it should. We swear it doesn't suck! “Lez Be Friends” (April 28, 1997) For many kids watching sitcoms in the 90s, Amanda Bearse would have been one of the first actors they would have known to be openly gay. That’s what makes this episode so special. She’d put in her time on Married… With Children season after season, playing Al Bundy’s sparring partner, Marcy D’Arcy. So it’s...


Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy Are Domestic Partners

This is a summer rerun of an episode that originally aired July 30, 2018. We're posting not only because Harley and Ivy went from subtextual lovers to full on romantic partners on the HBO Max series but also because we've got a new Batman: TAS episode of Cartoons That Made Us Gay, which you can listen to here. Excuse the echo! It was 2018 and we didn't know better! "Harley and Ivy" (January 18, 1993) In GEE’s first bonus episode, Glen and Drew focus on something that's not a sitcom but is...


Sanford Arms Meets a Gay — And He’s Black!

“Phil’s Assertion School (September 23, 1977) Sanford Arms was NBC’s attempt to continue the world of Sanford and Son without either Sanford or the Son. It didn’t work, and of the eight episodes produced, only four ever aired. That said, it’s second ever installment not only introduced a gay character but also it became the first black cast sitcom to ever do a gay episode with an out gay person of color. So while this attempt at a Sanford spinoff didn’t work, it still landed its place in...


Sanford Thinks His Son Is Gay (And Vice-Versa)

It's our first-ever summer rerun! And we're doing this one in preparation for a full-length, main feed bonus episode next week, where we're talking about Sanford Arms, the sequel series to Sanford and Sun. Enjoy! “Lamont, Is That You?” (October 19, 1973) Norman Lear for the win! This podcast probably won’t go in depth on ’90s classics like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters or A Different World because many black sitcoms of that era didn’t do gay episodes. Back in 1973, Sanford and...


Al Borland Is a Model for the Modern American Gay Bear

“Roomie for Improvement” (November 4, 1992) Al Borland is not gay. This episode makes a point of saying that he is a heterosexual, despite how many of his (comparatively) immasculine qualities might indicate otherwise. However for some, Richard Karn’s sensitive flannel man is an example of a kind of guy some of us would grow up to like and some of us would grow up to be: big, bearded, and free to be ourselves regardless of where on the gender spectrum we ended up being. Nick Del Prince...


The Nanny Has Bad Gaydar

“A Fine Friendship” (February 6, 1995) One hundred episodes later, we return to The Nanny to find out what happens when Fran Fine mistakes a straight guy for a gay guy. This episode essnetially works as an inverse to the first Nanny episode we covered, right down to Fran being horrified by a gay-seeming person being straight rather than delighted by a straight-seeming person being gay. Watch Matt Baume’s video on LGBTQ representation on The Nanny Watch Fran Drescher’s TikTok on why The...