Gayest Episode Ever: That Time the Show ‘Frasier’ Admitted to Its Own Queerness
Coming of age in the ‘90s didn’t afford me a lot of opportunities to see gay people on TV. I had The Real World, I had the occasional episode of Ricki Lake and that’s it, save for the sitcom phenomenon of the Very Special Episode that also happened to be a Very Gay Episode. You probably can name off the classics: the one Golden Girls with Dorothy’s lesbian friend, the one Roseanne with the lesbian kiss and that one Simpsons outing with John Waters.
These classic TV episodes have been a topic of conversation between me and my screenwriter roommate, Glen Lakin. Over time we’ve noticed how differently they all attempt to handle what back then was groundbreaking subject matter: queers — or at least queerishness as it was allowed to be explored by network censors. But because we thought there was a lot there, we decided to start a podcast about it. We’re calling it Gayest Episode Ever — and yeah, we were surprised that name wasn’t taken, too — and we’re going to be going week-to-week, taking on the LGBT-leaning episodes of great, classic sitcoms.
Our first episode is actually one from Frasier’s second season: “The Matchmaker,” in which Kelsey Grammer’s character attempts to set Daphne up with his new boss, only to realize the boss is gay and into Frasier instead. (Because, of course, Kelsey Grammer is irresistible to gay men, as we all know.)
We picked it because Frasier has a lot of gay plot elements for a show that is technically about a bunch of heterosexuals, and because this particular episode might have been the show’s way of saying, “See, America? Frasier is heterosexual, despite how he talks and acts.”
I hope you listen, I hope you enjoy, and I hope it’s a fun little trip into the pop culture nostalgia vortex. You can subscribe to future episodes of Gayest Episode Ever on Soundcloud or on iTunes. (Google Play is coming later this week, Android-users.) And please, if you have any recommendations for future episodes or just want to talk about the gay side of mainstream TV, hit me up on Twitter.