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Uncoupled’s Tuc Watkins And Emerson Brooks Discuss The Evolution Of Gay Characters On TV And How The Netflix Show Avoids Tropes

Uncoupled has a lot to offer its viewers. The Neil Patrick Harris-led show has camp, drama, humor and plenty of heart, so there are plenty of reasons as to why it would resonate with audiences. One of the key things that’s worth noting about the show is its depiction of the LGBTQ+ community. Instead of catering to stereotypes that have been present within the media landscape for sometime, the dramedy fleshes out its characters and makes them layered individuals. This is something that series stars Emerson Brooks and Tuc Watkins are aware of this and recently opened up about the evolution of gay characters and how their show avoids tropes. 

The LGBTQ+ community has waited quite some time for authentic representation within the realms of TV and film. Though I myself cannot speak for members of the community, I would say that Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman’s new show (which can be accessed with a Netflix subscription) seems to be a step in the right direction. Uncoupled, which features a recognizable cast, centers on realtor Michael Lawson who navigates the dating scene after his partner of 17 years abruptly leaves him. What’s most interesting about the series is that it’s one of the few series to provide an intimate look at the professional and personal lives of gay men over the age of 40. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tuc Watkins (who plays Michael’s ex flame, Colin) and Emerson Brooks (who portrays Michael’s good friend, Billy) during the show’s press junket. During our conversation, I asked the two about the show’s approach to its characters, and Watkins provided a thoughtful response: 

We’re seeing a gay breakup comedy about members of the LGBT community. It wasn’t long ago that we saw members of our community as the gay clown or the terribly troubled person or the psychopath. So the fact that we’ve come to where we are, that we have this kind of comedy with fleshed out characters that are more well-written, more layered shows we’re not waiting for the change to happen. The change is actually here, and we’re seeing more and more of that.

I’m sure people can count on their hand just how many characters they’ve encountered that fit into the boxes that Tuc Watkins mentioned. But as he says, the change is here. That’s evident from the fact that there are a number of recent TV shows centered on LGBTQ+ romances and more. Series like Pose, Euphoria, and Schitt’s Creek have really helped to blaze trails in regard to representation. To that end, Emerson Brooks doubled down on his co-star’s sentiments, making note of the progress that’s steadily being made:

It’s not just the happy friend with the witty advice or the magical neighbor. It’s just a real human that’s going through real things that everyone on this planet goes through, so it’s great to have a show that can show that in a wide, global format on Netflix and [in] an honest way that portrays it just as life.

Uncoupled is indeed honest when it comes to the ups and downs of romance and the professional and personal setbacks that we all go through. The cast also gives it their all when it comes to bringing these stories to life. Series stars Tisha Campbell and Marcia Gay Harden, who learned from one another while working on set, are among those who give memorable performances. 

Most would probably agree that there’s still definitely work to be done. Though one has to appreciate the amount of change that’s already occurring and, hopefully, things continue to move in a positive direction as time goes on.

Uncoupled is now streaming (opens in new tab) alongside other movies and shows with great LGBTQ+ representation on Netflix.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.