As far as realistic representations of gays on television go, many argue you can’t look past Six Feet Under. The dark comedy about a family-run funeral home, now in its fourth season, features a lead character who is gay and, as a result, gay-themed storylines appear almost every episode.
SFU’s main gay character David (Michael C. Hall) would have to be one of the most three-dimensional queer characters to have ever appeared on the small screen. Like all the other characters on this brilliant show David has grown and changed over the years thanks to the kind of character development sadly lacking from most other long-running TV shows. Viewers have followed David’s progression from being closeted and having girlfriends, to experiencing anonymous sex with men and finally forming a lasting though rocky relationship with Keith (Mathew St Patrick). David and Keith have experienced a lot of the issues many real-life queer couples do, such as family acceptance and child custody.
David and Keith have now rekindled their romance after breaking up last season and are in a new relaxed, happy phase of their relationship. For instance, last week when David admitted he received a blow job from a plumber, Keith simply joked, Don’t think that means you’re getting out of having sex with me tonight.
But the calm which has settled on their relationship may be short-lived. Next week David is reminded of his closeted past when an old friend confronts him about his sexuality, while Keith has trouble coming out to his new workmates.
Meanwhile we finally got some lesbian action this week when Claire (Lauren Ambrose) stumbled upon her confident, sexy new university friend Edie (American Beauty star Mena Suvari) fondling another girl’s breasts at a party. Edie was later confirmed as a full-on lesbian, and over the next few weeks her queerness is more fully explored.
For these consistent gay plots we can thank the show’s creator Alan Ball, who also included solid queer characters in his Oscar-winning film American Beauty and chose gay producer Alan Poul to head the SFU crew.
The only problem with this addictive cult show is its time-slot -“ 10:30pm on Monday nights. But it’s definitely worthwhile staying up to watch.
Six Feet Under goes to air 10:30pm Mondays on the Nine Network.