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Search Party has been the best show yet at dissecting the stereotypical "gay best friend" trope

  • "He’s sassy and vapid and a hoot to be around," says Manuel Betancourt. "He has a clear sense of style and a near-encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture. Quick with zingers and even quicker with barbs, he’s not one to be crossed. Laying out the key characteristics of a 'gay best friend' on television can further stress just how one-dimensional such a character can feel on the page. And while the likes of Jack McFarland (Will & Grace), Marc St. James (Ugly Betty), Mickey Dean (The Comeback), and Stanford Blatch (Sex and the City) clearly broke the mold even as they were enshrining it, more- recent comedies have gone further. Shows like Difficult People, Happy Endings, and Sex Education have been eagerly reshaping what a 'gay (male) best friend' can look like on the small screen, giving characters like Billy Epstein, Titus Andromedon, and Eric Effiong complex inner lives that refuse to be collapsed into the trope they nevertheless call forth. But no show has come close to dissecting the gay BFF so expertly as Search Party. The HBO Max series references the recognizable template as a way to skewer that kind of characterization while also unearthing the darker undertones of such stereotyping. Elliott Goss (John Early), who’s described as 'gay, energetic and a self-diagnosed narcissist' in the show’s pilot script, is the limit case of the gay BFF, all vapid privilege wrapped up in hilarious absurdity, the kind who’d happily take sponsorships from corporations eager to rebrand themselves as LGBTQ-friendly to fund his wedding (#1point2milliondollarwedding), whose theme is 'attention.' ('We do love attention,' he beams.)"

    TOPICS: Search Party, HBO Max, John Early, LGBTQ