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Gayest Episode Ever

Drew Mackie & Glen Lakin / TableCakes Productions

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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.
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What if we broke format to discuss America’s favorite smartypants game show? Well, we did it. And special guest Emily Heller joins us to discuss Amy Schneider, who became Jeopardy’s second-longest-running winner ever — and as a result became a household name and a trans icon. Listen to Emily’s Jeopardy podcast, What Is…? A Jeopardy! Podcast on Appl…
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“The Courtship of Bess Richards” (October 4, 1986) The second episode of Amen concerns Sherman Hemsley’s Ernie trying to land his choir a new singer in Nell Carter’s Bess, and the result is a comedy of errors in which both he and she perform romantic interest that neither is capable of actually feeling. The result is a WWF-style wrestling match bet…
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“Menage a Phyllis” (November 2, 1974) In the third-season episode “My Brother’s Keeper,” Rhoda famously said the word “gay,” turning a plot about her association with Phyllis’ brother on its head. Two seasons later, Phyllis shows up in another episode that discusses gay issues but weirdly doesn’t say that word. Regardless, there’s perhaps more to b…
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“Cousin Geri” (December 24, 1980) Fun game for listeners: Take a shot every time Drew mentions the phrase “gigantic bitch” in connection with Lisa Welchel’s Blair, who is in rare form this episode as she shuns her disabled cousin Geri for reasons that aren’t the ones you’re probably assuming. In this discussion, we bring up why Geri Jewell is a tra…
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“Gay Bash” (November 10, 2004) For better or worse, Drawn Together represents a very real trend in mid-2000s humor. It specifically sought out to tell the most offensive jokes it could get on air, but that’s what makes it surprising that the episode where Xandir admits he’s gay isn’t the parade of easy jokes you might expect. The B plot sucks ranci…
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“Dye! Dye! My Darling!” (August 2, 2000) Spend a little time in a Daria fan community and you’ll find folks who ship the title character with her best friend, Jane. The show actually never does a gay episode and only gets the slightest bit queer in the first movie, Is It Fall Yet?, which has Jane affirming her heterosexuality despite how very queer…
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“Lucy and Jim Bailey” (November 6, 1972) Basically, Lucille Ball did a solid for one gay performer, but in doing this, she also helped make gays a little less scary for America. Jim Bailey was a female impersonator who who had already made appearances on late night TV for this uncanny ability to turn himself into female celebs. Lucy, however, gave …
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People use the term “the lost years” differently when speaking of Saturday Night Live, but this podcast is using it specifically from the time Lorne Michaels left the show after season five up until season eleven. Aside from Eddie Murphy’s presence on the show, these are the sketches that are less remembered today because they weren’t rerun on Come…
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“Evolution” (August 19, 1999) If you came of age in the late 90s or early 2000s, you live in a world informed by Sex and the City — whether you realize it or not. It’s probably one of the most influential TV shows to air during our lifetimes, and so it’s more than time that we look at one of its many LGBTQ-themed episodes. Joining us to discuss Car…
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"Homes and Jojo" (May 1, 1989) Newhart is a show about white people who live in the snow, and while 70s-era Bob Newhart sitcom is the one pop culture remembers better, this is the longer-lived, more-Emmy-nominated of the two. What the 80s-era Bob New1hart sitcom has working in its favor are future Simpsons showrunner David Mirkin, who gives a host …
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“Blank Relay” (August 13, 2000) Honestly, we could have picked just about any episode of Strangers With Candy to focus on for this podcast about queer themes, but we ended up deciding on the one where we see Jerri Blank at her most girl hungry. It’s light on Mr. Noblet and Mr. Jellineck, but we can always circle back to this one in another two hund…
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“Joey’s First Crush” (January 28, 1987) Few other shows changed as much as Gimme a Break, which began as a fish-out-of-water sitcom that had Nell Carter playing mom to three white girls in California but ended up with Nell and her best friend, Telma Hopkins’ Addy, co-parenting two white boys in New York. Minus the kids, it’s basically a female-fema…
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“Lisa the Drama Queen” (January 25, 2009) So here’s an interesting one. In its twentieth season, The Simpson did an episode inspired by Heavenly Creatures, the 1994 Peter Jackson movie that has Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey playing schoolgirls who flee into a fantasy world and also each other. More than a decade later, this story would play out …
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“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (November 29, 2011 Yes, Tim Allen’s follow-up to Home Improvement got branded as the most conservative sitcom on network TV, but is that fair? We’re honestly not sure, because the ninth episode of Last Man Standing’s first season features a gay couple. We’re mostly good with how this plays out, but we also think this …
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“Sorority House” (February 8, 1961) A few times on this podcast, we’ve bent over backwards to find a gay interpretation of a sitcom that never did anything gay, but this is not one of those. Mister Ed was developed by Arthur Lubin, a closeted gay director who was married to a woman but eventually ended up cohabitating with a male companion. It’s in…
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“Fathers and Sons” (May 3, 2003) And we’re back! Our first regular episode of the new year returns to the first-ever show we discussed: Frasier. It’s the episode where David Ogden Stiers plays an old colleague of Frasier’s late mother who acts more like Frasier and Niles than Martin does. This is the final time the series put a spotlight on the ser…
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“Coldhearted Uranus: Makoto in Danger” (May 14, 1994) It’s a new year, and we’re giving you a new episode of Sailor Moon — now with 200 percent more lesbian content! This third-season episode not only showcases Haruka/Sailor Uranus and Michiru/Sailor Neptune, but also uses them as a way to explore how Makoto/Sailor Jupiter is the most queer-coded o…
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