Straight Actors, Gay Characters: Our Faves
Eighteen regular characters on scripted TV are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, an increase of 2.6 percent over last season. Of course, not every character that is gay is played by someone who is. Here's a look at some of the straight guys who aren't afraid to play against personal preference and buck musty old stereotypes at the same time.
It's a good (or at least a slightly better) year to play gay on primetime TV, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
Eighteen regular characters on scripted TV are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender this year, an increase of 2.6 percent over last season. Of course, not every character who's gay is played by someone who is. Here's a look at some of the straight guys who aren't afraid to play against personal preference and buck musty old stereotypes at the same time.
Plays: Cameron Tucker
Show: 'Modern Family'
He's the ultimate bear -- as cuddly and lovable as they come -- as adoptive dad to Lily and amazingly tolerant partner to neurotic, "tone down the gay" Mitchell Pritchett (played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his equally offbeat family.
Michael C. Hall
Played: David Fisher
Show: 'Six Feet Under'
Hall was absolutely believable in creating one of the most touching and realistic gay relationships on TV with Mathew St. Patrick (who played his cop boyfriend Keith Charles), but it was all acting -- the twice-married star tied the knot with his 'Dexter' co-star Jennifer Carpenter in 2008. Let's hope he's just a really good actor on that show, too.
Plays: Oscar Martinez
Show: 'The Office'
As one of the few mostly sane Dunder Mifflin employees, Oscar also happens to be gay, giving Michael Scott (Steve Carell) ample opportunity to embarrass himself, like in the classic episode 'Gay Witch Hunt.'
Played: Chris Keller
Who ever thought there could be true love behind bars? But Meloni, who has two kids with wife Sherman Williams, sold it.
Played: Jack McPhee
Show: 'Dawson's Creek'
It takes guts to be the first actor to kiss another guy on primetime TV, but Smith was up to the challenge. The good news is it doesn't seem to have hurt his career -- he's had recurring roles on 'CSI: NY' and the late, great 'Eli Stone,' and can next be seen starring in the CW's midseason show 'Life UneXpected.'
Played: Will Truman
Show: 'Will & Grace'
He was the first gay character at the center of a TV series, but he also played the straight man to the wacky, neurotic characters brought to life by Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes and Debra Messing. Talk about confusing.
Played: Lieutenant Jim Dangle
Show: 'Reno 911!'
As the only character on the show seemingly unaware of his own preference for men, Lennon (who is married to actress Jenny Robertson) always played it straight. As in deadpan.
Plays: Brian Spukowski
Show: 'The Sarah Silverman Program'
As Sarah's neighbor and one-half of a stoner gay couple on the show, Posehn plays refreshingly against type as a slovenly, slobby slacker who loves Dungeons & Dragons, video games and his boyfriend Steve (played by Steve Agee).
Played: Michael Novotny
Show: 'Queer as Folk'
The martial arts black-belt played Michael as the boy next door who gets married, adopts a son and loves his mom -- but just so happens to be gay. Too bad we haven't seen more of Sparks, who's been doing voice-over work and appearances on 'CSI.'
Played: Carter Heywood
Show: 'Spin City'
The married father of four portrayed Carter as an impeccably dressed professional with an exacting dry wit who could trade snappy banter with the best of them, Michael J. Fox included.
Played: Jodie Dallas
We may think of Billy Crystal as the star of family fare like 'City Slickers' -- and the guy who used to host the Oscars -- but before that, he broke through one hell of a glass ceiling by being the first out, fully-formed gay male on network television. As Jodie, he was funny, smart and infinitely likable, setting the stage for a whole new era in television.
Played: Matt Fielding
Show: 'Melrose Place'
Before he was a stumbling husband on 'Desperate Housewives,' Savant played gay on the first incarnation of 'Melrose Place.' Though the presence of a gay character on the show initially got plenty of media attention, Matt never had as many romantic subplots as his fellow apartment mates, though Savant got the girl in real life, marrying co-star Laura Leighton.