I’ve told myself that don’t watch soaps, but Queer as Folk is just another example of how I lie to myself more often than is healthy. Let’s just say that my early 90s addiction to 90210 and Melrose Place is something that I’d like to put past me, but with the release of QAF Season Three on DVD, I’ll be able to watch it as many times as I want, before I force myself to get out of the house and do something productive.
From the release of Rage, to the toppling of a politician, Season Three has that and just about everything in between. So as I take a deep breath and pay attention, since I don’t know when I’ll be able to take another. There’s just that much going on this year…
This season, Justin (Randy Harrison) chooses Ethan over Brian (Gale Howard), thus ending his free ride and starting his stress on how to pay for school. Of course, this sends Brian reeling, but he’ll never admit it to anyone.
At the same time, Melanie (Michelle Clunie) and Lindsay (Thea Gill) decide that a sibling for Gus is what they want. The twist is, now that Lindsay has gone back to work, who will be carrying it this time? Melanie wants to, which leaves Brian out of the picture, since Mel can’t stand him. After a running through their options of the other guys as fathers, they ask Michael and he says yes.
Ted (Scott Lowell) and Emmett (Peter Paige) become a couple and move in together. Married bliss, you’d imagine, would follow. Alas, it turns out that Ted is a bit more anal retentive than we all knew and Emmett may be too strong a wind to come blowing through his perfectly placed apartment. They decide to find a new place that they will be theirs. But after a surprise police raid at Ted’s porn site reveals an underage worker, Ted’s entrepreneurial life is ruined, and he is humiliated to find himself depending on Emmett to bring home the bacon. Thus begins Ted’s downward spiral… (I have to say that the stand out performance this year has to be Scott Lowell. Watching his character slip into the hell that he ends up in is kind of frightening. It showed me how easy it is to get trapped in something and loose control so quickly.)
Brian has convinced a homophobic Mayoral candidate, Pittsburgh’s Police Chief Stockwell, that he is the best person to lead his marketing campaign, and with Brian’s help, Stockwell’s poll numbers jump. The thing that Brian doesn’t see coming is that the determination of Stockwell to make the city “Family Friendly” is going to affect him and his friends directly… including the shutting down of Canal Street!
After the death of his ex from AIDS, Ben (Robert Gant) becomes obsessed with keeping himself healthy, since he is HIV positive. Not getting the results he wants from extra time at the gym, he starts taking steroids. Though he tries to hide his problem, his “roid rage” inevitably becomes obvious and Michael (Hal Sparks) is forced to confront him. To atone, Ben decides take in Hunter, a young teen hustler with lots of complications. Michael fights this left and right, but ends accepting the situation, after understanding why Ben did it: Hunter is positive and Ben feels that he can somehow help. Of course, Hunter has his own past that brings surprises.
Season Three allows some of our favorite characters to reveal new sides. We’ve always know that there was a real human being hidden underneath the mean-spirited shell that is Brian. He just shows it on special occasions. He does it a couple of times this season. Developments in Season Three also offer more reasons to like Michael. It always takes me by surprise when this character, who gets treated like a child so often, shows that he actually a grown up. The creators of the show say that Queer as Folk is ultimately about boys becoming men. Looks like this year it’s Michael’s turn, in more than one story line.
Now, with all my ramblings, there are more subplots that are not even touched, which is why you need to spend 14 hours in front of your TV and get caught up! You’ll get sucked into their lives and it will kind of make you want to be there with them. Besides, with a soundtrack like they put together, you’ll at least be a shaking your ass a lot.
Included with Season Three is a disc of DVD extras, which probably only the most die-hard fans will find interesting. See Robert Gant, Thea Gill, Peter Paige, and Hal Sparks in home videos on their summer breaks. There’s the usual reel of bloopers, and some behind-the-scenes footage of the crew and various directors. A short doc about the recreating the Babylon club in L.A. for Pride is kind of interesting, showing hour by hour the progress of throwing a party where thousands show up. The final episode of the season also includes a full-length commentary, with about a dozen cast and crew members talking over each other. Though there is not much insight into the episode, it is still fun… almost like watching QAF with a room of instant friends.