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10/25/2012

A sexually active gay sitcom character? Refreshing.

by Jeremy Hooper

On this week's episode of Happy Endings, the Max character (Adam Pally) spent the entire episode flirting with a physical therapist named Kent who had been assigned to care 822Xfor injured pal Penny (Casey Wilson). There was no reason to assume anything about Kent's sexual orientation—he was just an attractive human who presumably had his own amorous urges. All viewers knew was that both Max and Penny found him attractive and his skills inviting, with Max making an over-the-top play for the muscle-stretcher's affections (think a twist on the movie Misery with Penny in the Bates role).

So anyway, at the end of the episode, after Kent had left this picture with a quick brush off, Penny and Max shared this exchange:

Penny (Casey Wilson): "Are you sure you're gay?"

Max (Adam Pally): "Right now I'm writing a Hot in Cleveland spec script, and I just had sex with Kent in your powder room, so…"

It was just there: a casual mention of off-camera sex, the kind we've been hearing in reference to heterosexual characters for decades now. The romp wasn't shown, no, but it wasn't simply implied, either. Max said, quite frankly: I just had sex in your powder room. Penny responded without any sort of heightened attention directed at that casual drop. He had sex. People do that.

But while people do it, LGBT sitcom characters certainly haven't been talking about it all that much. Our on-screen counterparts live, love, date, sometimes smooch, and often crack wise, but it's rare that our comedy analogues couple off in the same way as their heterosexual peers. It's even rarer for the heterosexual characters to talk about our relations without distinction, but the characters did that too, both in the Penny/Max exchange and in a closing credits song performed by Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and his "Sinbrad" puppet (don't ask).

Max has sex—the writers make no bones (so to speak) about it. Happy endings for all.

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