Best gay television of 2010

Lionel and Marshall in an embrace in United States of Tara

The gays struggled with the boob tube this year in part because there actually are a fair amount of decent characters and story lines to choose from. So we are on that cusp of counting down the best gay shows vs. the best gay moments.

It’s also a year where we start to shift judging from “a good portrayal of LGBT life” to simply the “best TV” that just happens to contain gay elements, or are even primarily gay themed. This list has a combination.

5 – True Blood

Basically everyone in on HBO’s night-loving soap, True Blood, is queer. Lafayette is a normal human gay, then there’s Eric’s super hot sex scene wherein he gives his male vamp partner more then le petite mort, lez-vamps too, and even the real life Anna Paquin declaring her bisexuality publicly earlier this year. Fang banging has never been or queer. Oh wait…it has…

4 – The Real L Word

I could only really sit through about 2 episodes of The Real L Word and most lesbians agree that it didn’t seem too real to us. But it is one perspective on the lez experience and it’s a whole show dedicated to showcasing the reality that dykes are just as stupid in front of a reality TV camera as the rest. Hooray.

3 – Caprica

This is one of those shows where the portrayal of queer characters was better than the actual show. An offshoot of the amazingly brilliant Battlestar Galactica, Caprica unfolds a compelling story, but one that could have also been told a little better. But it had a lot to live up to and I’m not ready to give up believing that it can be a really great saga. Based in a world where they face much bigger problems than who is sleeping with who Caprica gives us a hot mobster who also happens to be gay in bad boy brother Sam Adama.

2 – Lip Service

Frankie (Ruta Gedmintas) and Cat (Laura Fraser) from Lip Service

This Brit melodrama has its American cousins beat. It may be a disappointingly short 6 episodes, but as a lesbian soap opera I found Lip Service to be much more true life than either The L Word or The Real L Word. But then again, those were set in Los Angeles, so of course it’s going to be fake. Unfortunately, there isn’t yet a legal way to watch in the US to you just have to be patient for the DVD or eventual BBC America airing.

1 – United States of Tara

Bridging the gap between gay programming and just plain great programming US of Tara shows us the human condition from a host of queer individuals, one of whom is also a gay teenager, Marshall. The whole show is packed with fully fleshed characters who are quirky, loveable and complex and Marshall is no different.

The show also isn’t afraid to explore the sexuality of its protagonist of multiple personalities. Indeed this theme is central and the many faces of Tara engage with members of the “opposite” and “same” sexes in all kinds of ways. And yet, though it is integral, the show focuses more on the larger struggles that Tara faces. Who cares what the sexual orientation of your multi-personalities is when, well, when you have Multiple Personality Disorder?

Honorable mentions: ABC’s Modern Family not only nearly made the list, it was almost number #1. So why have I nixed it from the list even as it has become my new favorite show? Despite that it has some really great depictions of family, gay and straight alike, not only did it take an entire year to show the gay couple give a kiss, it was barely a peck once they did. Much hullabaloo was made about it both ways but in the end I don’t think it was terribly brave, even if it is prime time. Sorry, no big pats on the back for portraying something we’ve been seeing on TV for years and way long overdue to begin with.

Other mentions include the non prurient depiction of a man and a woman both vying for the love of a woman on Person’s Unknown, and the trashy awesomeness of The A-List.

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