A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Queer As Folk (2000-2005) was the first adult TV drama to focus on the gay community. Relationships and family are central themes, and topics like coping with HIV/AIDS, homophobia, and violence against the LGBTQ community are dealt with. It features lots of scenes containing sexual innuendo (including nudity and simulated sex scenes), cursing, drinking, and cigarette smoking. Drug use (legal or otherwise) is common, and addiction is also dealt with. The series is not intended for kids, but mature teens and adults can find some fun in this classic groundbreaking series.
What's the story?
QUEER AS FOLK (2000-2005) is a groundbreaking dramatic series that centers on the lives of five gay men living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The American adaptation of the British show of the same name features comic book lover Michael Novotny (Hal Sparks), sexually promiscuous ad exec Brian Kinney (Gale Harold), artist Justin Taylor (Randy Harrison), former Mississippi native Emmett Honeycutt (Peter Paige), and accountant Ted Schmidt (Scott Lowell). When they're not working or hanging out at Babylon, their favorite club, they each focus on their own personal, and often complicated, relationships. These include friends like Lindsay Peterson and Melanie Marcus (played by Thea Gill and Michelle Clunie, respectively); Michael's mom, Debbie (Sharon Gless), a proud and active PFLAG member who serves as the group's matriarch; and later, Ben Bruckner (Robert Gant). From romantic tensions and raising a family to coping with homophobia, violence, and rejection, they try to enjoy life and stay true to themselves while relying on each other to keep going.
Is it any good?
This entertaining, soapy drama was the first hour-long series in the U.S. that centered on the gay community. Storylines about relationship woes, professional conflicts, family tensions, and internal struggles are contextualized within LGBTQ culture. The day-to-day pursuits of the cast reveal some of the many political and social obstacles the community faced at the time, many of which are still being grappled with today.
It's not always particularly well-written (although this improves somewhat in later seasons), and it has its share of campy moments and sexual exploits. Viewers will note how it approaches many of its themes from a decidedly gay male point of view (a fact which led to Showtime's The L Word in 2004). Nonetheless, one can appreciate how Queer As Folk broke the boundaries of mainstream adult dramas, and the important place it has in American television history.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way the LGBTQ community has been featured in the media over the years. What are some of the stereotypes used to characterize members of this community? Has the use of these generalizations reduced over the years?
What do you think the long-term impact of Queer As Folk has been on American TV? Are the folks featured on the show good role models?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love LGBTQ TV
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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