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A Comprehensive Yet Sadly Short Guide to Asexual Characters on TV
We’re always down for more queer representation on TV. But as the LGBTQIA+ umbrella expands, we’re finally starting to see representation for some of the identities further down the acronym. For example, we’re finally starting to see asexuality on TV. And while there are sadly few asexual TV characters, here are all of the ones we could find. (Along with an appendix of a few characters commonly cited as asexual that we don’t agree with.)
Gerald Tippett, Shortland Street
We don’t blame you for not knowing who Gerald Tippett is, but he is the first out asexual character on television. Shortland Street is a New Zealand soap opera set in a hospital; Gerald is a receptionist who is married and has a daughter but is depicted as realizing he’s asexual — as many real-life asexuals do — by reading about it on the internet. He was introduced in 2007, and came out in 2008. He’s heteroromantic, which means he’s attracted to women even though he’s not interested in sex with them.
Todd Chavez, BoJack Horseman
Todd, voiced by Aaron Paul, from BoJack Horseman may not be the first out asexual on TV, but he’s one of the most prominent. After tentatively coming out at the end of Season 3 — “I think I might be nothing” — Season 4 really explored Todd’s asexuality. And, as Todd found out more about himself, the audience learned along with him. It’s still one of the best takes on being ace we’ve seen on TV.
Raphael Santiago, Shadowhunters
Shadowhunters, airing on the Freeform network, is a story about demon hunters based on The Mortal Instruments, a novel by Cassandra Clare. In both the book and the series, Raphael Santiago (played by David Castro) is asexual.
In the book, however, he’s also aromantic, meaning he doesn’t feel romantic attraction at all. But in the show, it’s hinted he may be gray-aromantic, meaning he only sometimes feels that attraction, though it’s rare.
Evan Waxman, High Maintenance
Evan Waxman, played by Avery Momsen, might be best known as “the asexual magician.” He’s shown up in a few High Maintenance episodes as one of the cannabis customers of The Guy (played by Ben Sinclair).
Though Waxman is a minor character, he’s upfront about both his asexuality and his interest in magic, providing inspiration to asexual nerds who grew up watching Penn & Teller the world over. (Though maybe that’s just projection on the part of this writer.)
Valentina “Voodoo” Dunacci, Sirens
Sirens was a two-season sitcom on the USA Network about Chicago emergency medical technician (EMTs). One of the leads, Voodoo, came out as asexual relatively early in the first season, even if her fellow co-workers insist she can’t be.
The asexual community seems rather torn on her portrayal: Is her asexuality a punchline or should we be glad that she’s never asked nor expected to change? Either way, she’s one of the few canon asexuals, so she’s on our list.
Lord Varys, Game of Thrones
While it might seem odd to put a eunuch on this list — as generally eunuchs have asexuality thrust upon them — Lord Varys was ace before he lost his genitalia. As he explains, he never felt attracted to anyone. And that was just fine by him.
“When I see what desire does to people,” he says, “what it’s done to this country, I am very glad to have no part in it.”
Rose Nylund, The Golden Girls
Admittedly, Rose (played by, as if you needed us to tell you, national treasure Betty White) never officially came out as asexual — after all, back in the ’80s, it wasn’t really known as an orientation people have. But she does fit the profile pretty well: She said that before she was married she never really thought about sex. And when she lost her virginity, she didn’t really understand sexual desire. If The Golden Girls were made today, would we get a Rose coming out episode? Probably.
The Tick, The Tick
Pretty much every version of The Tick, be it the cartoon version (where he was played by Townsend Coleman), the first live-action version (starring Patrick Warburton) or the current Amazon series (where the Tick is played by brilliant British comedian and impersonator Peter Serafinowicz) is asexual. Admittedly, in the cartoon his sexuality didn’t really come up that much. But whoever’s playing him, The Tick is a big, nigh-invulnerable superhero interested in justice, fighting bad guys, making friends and … not much else.
In the original comic book, The Tick was briefly married to a woman named Cloris. However, she divorced him. It turned out she couldn’t understand why he refused to take off his costume or have sex with her.
Miscellaneous asexual TV characters
There have been a few others. In MTV’s Faking It, Brad — a background character — shouts “I’m asexual” in an episode about labels. Poppy the camp counselor from ABC Family’s Huge, has a scene where she comes out as ace, but she didn’t get any storylines about it. (That said, she is the first out asexual TV character on an American drama.) Kevin the gambling brother in the short-lived family drama series The Black Donnellys was also asexual — though, well, no one remembers that show.
Sherlock Holmes from the 2010 Sherlock adaptation seems to waffle on his asexuality. Show creator Steven Moffat said Sherlock’s asexual in one interview; later, he said Sherlock wasn’t, and that true asexual characters have “no [dramatic] tension” (which is untrue, by the way).
And there have been a few examples of show creators declaring certain characters as asexual TV characters, even without a corresponding storyline.
Father Noel Furlong (played by Graham Norton) in British sitcom Father Ted has been declared asexual. So has Lorne the cheery musical demon from the supernatural Angel series and Misty Day, the swamp-dwelling witch from Season 3 of American Horror Story.
And, though it ran long before people knew asexuality was a thing, the Professor from Gilligan’s Island once told Ginger he never had romantic interest in anyone.
Finally, there’s the “Sebastian, the Asexual Icon” bit from Craig Kilborn’s run on The Late, Late Show. But that was more just an act for Kilborn to mock and misunderstand what asexuality is all about — so we’re including him on a technicality.
Claimed asexual TV characters we’re not so sure about
The Doctor in Doctor Who is often cited as asexual. However, Time Lords are a different species entirely. It’s not necessarily surprising to think that the Doctor might not be interested in a sexual relationship; after all, we may love animals, but we’re not… in love with them.
Homicidal killers like Dexter Morgan from Dexter and Hannibal Lecter from Hannibal are also cited as being asexual TV characters, but it’s also shown as an outgrowth from their sociopathy. (Besides, in the increasingly regrettable later seasons of Dexter, it was a common storyline to see Dexter say “Gosh, I didn’t think I could fall in love but — maybe it’s different this time,” and then he has a sexual relationship until the woman he’s with is either killed or otherwise dispatched. You’d think by the third or fourth time, he’d pick up on the pattern.)
Data the android on Star Trek: The Next Generation also comes up as an asexual, but, c’mon — he’s a robot. Asexuals have enough problems with being depicted as robotic creeps like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory — who is also not asexual, by the way; his issues with sex are more due to his deep-seated misogyny — without being conflated with actual robots.
Did we miss your favorite asexual TV characters? Let us know in the comments!
This article has been revised since it first ran.
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