The Best Gay Couple in a Sitcom are Brothers.

The Best Gay Couple in a Sitcom are Brothers.

Image for postBud and Coyote, best gay couple in a sitcom

The Netflix sitcom ?Grace & Frankie? inadvertently created the best gay couple in a television comedy: Coyote and Bud. And they?re straight. And they?re brothers.

Technically, no, their characters are not gay. But because sitcoms still don?t know how to write a realistic gay guy, sometimes we ? the audience ? have to find them on our own. And I found mine in Bud and Coyote. They?re always together, they?re cute, smart, not overly masculine, yet not super feminine, either. And they genuinely like each other. They have a charming intimacy. They?re just ? normal. I love them.

Sure, there are ?gay? characters in the show, but they?re not very believable. Take for instance the co-stars of the show, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston.

Image for postSo close, yet so far.

They play gay men in their early seventies who divorce their wives and marry each other. Of course, we all know that in real life, these two very famous actors are straight. And because we all know they?re straight, mainstream America isn?t offended at seeing them play in their new openly gay lifestyle, like talking about gay stuff or acting it out when they kiss. We?re all in on the joke. No one is made to have uncomfortable thoughts like, ?Wait, is that actor gay in real life? Is he really into this love scene?? It?s all so ? engineered. And, as a result, their relationship lacks authenticity and warmth. It?s not pleasing.

But the problem isn?t just that these two characters are played by straight actors. The show does have a few minor roles that are played by actual gay men. Take for instance an episode that featured Jai Rodriguez as nurse Jojo, or the episodes that feature Michael Roman as Brianna?s assistant, Adam. Both actors are gay (I?m making an educated guess here ? I don?t know either of them) and both characters play the same flaming clich.

So, on one end of the spectrum, Grace & Frankie has an authenticity problem ? Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston are straight men who aren?t believable as gay characters. And on the other end of the spectrum is another authenticity problem ? actual gay men who are playing the archetypal, two-dimensional queen role.

And this brings me to Bud and Coyote. They are the happy medium between the two extremes. Sure, there are gay men in real life who are like the Sheen and Waterston characters. And yes, there are gay men in real life like the Rodriguez and Roman characters. But they are the exceptions to the rule. Most gay men I know fall somewhere in the middle, like Bud and Coyote. And that?s why, when I first started watching Grace & Frankie, I was stunned to see such a great gay couple on television. I was genuinely confused in those early episodes when the dialogue that defined their characters began conflicting with the impression I had of them. When they?re true relationship became clear, I was pretty disappointed.

But I didn?t give up. How could I? There are so few good gay characters in sitcoms, beggars can?t be choosers. So I adjusted. I continue to watch Grace & Frankie and I sincerely like the show. I allow Sheen and Waterston to be awkward and I suffer the banality of the lesser ? but actually gay ? characters. And I do it to catch a glimpse of the rarest television creatures of all ? gay men who feel real. I don?t care if it?s by accident. I?m just glad they exist.


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