How ABC’s ‘Revenge’ Redefines Sexual Orientation

Nolan Ross, RevengeABC

Anyone who’s tuning into ABC’s Revenge knows that much of the show’s drama can be attributed to all of the complicated love triangles and quadrangles therein. But in all fairness, isn’t that typical of most television dramas?  Romantic problems are an easy way to keep folks interested in a show, but Revenge takes a unique approach with one character in particular. Nolan Ross (played by actor Gabriel Mann) is a favorite on Revenge, as the ride or die, ever-quotable sidekick to Emily Thorne. But one of the other things that makes Nolan so awesome is his sexuality, or rather, the lack of clarity in that department. With each passing season, viewers remain a bit unclear as to which way Nolan swings precisely, and the ambiguity therein is pretty cool.

In the first season we saw Nolan hooking up with Daniel Grayson’s old college rommate Tyler Barrol, and viewers naturally assumed Nolan was gay. By the time we got to season two, Tyler was long gone and Padma Lahari was the new romantic interest. Nolan’s gorgeous assistant (may she rest in peace) rocked a mean green dress, and her character threw us all for a loop. Technically, her relationship with Nolan meant that he was bisexual, but this was never explicitly stated. You could attribute such an omission to bad writing, but it could have been an intentional move — an attempt to create a character that resisted labels.

This season, it’s all about Nolan and Patrick, although we expect this new relationship to be just as complicated as the others.  In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying their many, shirtless hook ups (and hope that Patrick returns to the Hamptons soon for this reason especially). Here’s hoping Nolan — our favorite gay/bi/undefined/indifferent character on Revenge — continues to surprise viewers and continues to be presented as someone who might help us redefine our existing notions of sexuality.