Light Mode

Meet the Folks

HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 3, 2000 — It’s been hailed by New York magazine as “this fall’s most explosive new drama,” and it’s finally, ahem, coming out today.

“Queer as Folk,” based on the controversial hit British series, makes its debut on Showtime tonight. A one-hour weekly drama, “QAF” revolves around three gay men in Pittsburgh caught in a highly tangled and engulfing web.

The selfish, totally hot Brian (Gale Harold), on the verge of turning 30 (a gay Ally McBeal?), finds himself focusing on someone else in his life for the first time; in fact, he’s centering on two people. One of them is his sperm-donated newborn son.

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The other is Justin (Randy Harrison), a one-night stand who quickly becomes obsessively smitten over Brian, his first real lover. Oh yeah, and Justin is 17 years old.

Finally, there’s Michael (former “Talk Soup” talker Hal Sparks), Brian’s mild-mannered, lifelong best friend who’s torn between helping Brian with fatherhood and being angry at his latest mistake. Like everyone else, Michael desires his best friend — he just won’t admit it to anyone, especially himself.

Five other characters make up the cast of “QAF”: Emmett (Peter Paige), Michael’s flamboyant roommate; Ted (Scott Lowell), a cyber porn-loving, 30-something accountant; Lindsay (Thea Gill), a college art teacher, friend of Brian and the recipient of Brian’s sperm donation; attorney Melanie (Michelle Clunie), Lindsay’s live-in lover at odds with Brian; and Debbie (“Cagney and Lacey’s” Sharon Gless, in a welcome return to television) as Michael’s very accepting — make that too accepting — mother.

Also of note is Dr. Dave Cameron (“Silk Stalkings'” Chris Potter) as Michael’s hunky relationship-minded chiropractor. He’s curiously absent on Showtime’s site for “QAF,” but we’ll mention him here.


Here’s the 411 on the new Folks in the TV neighborhood:

BRIAN (Gale Harold)

Brian is on the verge of age 30 and fatherhood, having donated his sperm to lesbian friend Lindsay. The decision leaves his bad-boy advertising executive with more on his plate than his sexy image can handle — or his finances can afford. Plus, he’s juggling a trick that’s turning out to be more than just a treat.

JUSTIN (Randy Harrison)

He’s young (try 17), blond, a struggling artist and the new kid on the block. A one-night stand with Brian introduces him to the facts of gay life and leaves him obsessively and hopelessly smitten. Harrison is one of two openly gay actors in the cast of “QAF,” and a dead ringer for a younger Matt Damon.

MICHAEL (Hal Sparks)

Michael is nearing 30, too, and isn’t exactly out of the closet, despite being a manager at the local Big Q Mart. He’s been Brian’s best friend since age 14 and is hopelessly in love with him, although he’ll be the last to admit it. Michael’s an unlucky cartoon fanatic with a penchant for a certain superhero in a smart pair of tights.

EMMETT (Peter Paige)

It’s “Will & Grace’s” Jack McFarland, except really, really gay, if you can believe that. Emmett crashed at Michael’s place after a prostitute torched his building. Flash forward two years later, and Emmett is still living with Michael. Temporary is an eternal state of mind for Emmett, a boutique manager. He’s the flamboyant one, the flamer, the tease of the party: Some even call him queeny. But to others, this queen reigns with a wit that never flinches and a sense of style unmatched. In other words, Emmett is fierce. Paige is the other openly gay actor in the “QAF” cast.

LINDSAY (Thea Gill)

Lindsay is an art teacher at a university and a friend of Brian. The pair are like brother and sister — until Brian donates his sperm to make Lindsay and her live-in lover Melanie (see below), new mommies. Lindsay is the struggling but triumphant mom and career woman, striving to make the right parental choices while keeping Brian and Melanie from each other’s throats.

MELANIE (Michelle Clunie)

Tough, sassy, no-nonsense attorney Melanie is Lindsay’s live-in lover. She stands her ground, especially when it comes to Brian, whom she feels threatened by and is always at odds. Although Brian is the father of her child with Lindsay, Melanie wants Brian out of their lives.

TED (Scott Lowell)

Ted is a kind-hearted, intelligent accountant with a passion for cyber porn (what accountant doesn’t?) and a craving for the bottom line — at the Babylon nightclub, anyway. But on most evenings, the unlucky-in-love Ted comes home a big zero.

DEBBIE (Sharon Gless)

Michael’s mother, Debbie, is the cheerful, chummy, chronic crusader of all things homosexual. While Michael wishes that Mom would just go home and have a good cry like a normal mom, Debbie shows that there is such a thing as being too supportive of your son being gay.

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