Gay? Love Lessons From TV

Who says the small screen isn’t good for anything? Here, 7 useful tips culled from out characters on top shows.

By Tracie Potochnik

et's face it: Relationships are hard. In this complicated day and age, we all need to get our romantic wisdom wherever we can find it...and that includes finding ideas when sacked out in front of the TV. And so, we present the best lessons from ten fabulous same-sex TV couples.

Love lesson #1: It can get better with time
The Teaching Twosome: David and Keith, Six Feet Under
Sometimes it takes a while to get things right. David and Keith survived the closet, breakups, anger-management issues, a traumatic carjacking and straight sex with a teen pop singer before achieving a stable, strong, and committed relationship. Now ready to start a family, their patience signals they’re finally primed for a happy ending.

Love lesson #2: Adventure, fame and $1,000,000 don't guarantee happiness
The Teaching Twosome: Chip and Reichen, The Amazing Race 4
Young(ish) and in love, Reichen and Chip bested eleven other pairs to win the grand prize on this reality show. A rainbow flag was raised for stable gay relationships everywhere! Until they broke up two months later, that is, with only memories of host Phil Keoghan and a blanket of cash to warm those cold, lonely nights. Just goes to show you, money doesn’t buy happiness.

Love lesson #3: Do not stray, people
The Teaching Twosome: Melanie and Lindsay, Queer as Folk
On Queer as Folk, these lesbians were queens of the happily boring domestic bliss that we all sometimes covet. And then, after ten years together with one-point-five kids, Lindsay had random, unsatisfying sex with a dude. A breakup and painful custody battle ensued, reminding us that no matter what the stakes, cheating always ends badly for everyone.

Love lesson #4: You never know whom you’ll fall for
The Teaching Twosome: Jack and Doug, Dawson's Creek
Teen football star/poetry enthusiast Jack was seen in the series' finale unexpectedly hooking up with town sheriff Doug, five years in the future. Jack had inherited his dead best friend's baby, Doug had finally come out of the closet, and the two blissfully rode off into the sunset. Since there’s no predicting when it comes to matters of the heart, be open to all types of people!

Love lesson #5: Coming out is good for you…
The Teaching Twosome: Kerry and Sandy, ER
Sourpuss ER Chief Kerry became a lot more likeable as her struggle with her sexuality was resolved. When the closet nearly put an end to her budding relationship with foxy firefighter Sandy, Kerry finally came out. It was good times all around until Sandy died shortly after giving birth to the couple's son. Still, Kerry's newfound sense of self helped her to endure the tragedy and emerge stronger than ever.

Love lesson #6: Being in the closet can be too hard
The Teaching Twosome: Julien and Tomas, The Shield
The devout cop Julien was already conflicted over his lust for fellow men folk, but it got worse when he started hooking up with petty criminal Tomas. The relationship resulted in Julien's blackmail, turmoil (even a suicide attempt on the job), sexual reorientation, marriage to a woman and "equipment difficulties" as he and his wife tried to conceive. Whether he's repressed or truly reprogrammed, Julien lends us this lesson: Sometimes self-acceptance just seems easier.

Love lesson #7: Keeping it fresh can make it last
The Teaching Twosome: Bette and Tina, The L Word
Bette and Tina struggled with a waning sex life, workaholic tendencies, poor communication, and a miscarriage of the baby that was supposed to fix everything. As the distance between them grew, Bette stepped out on Tina with a hot contractor. A season of groveling later, Bette and Tina realized it wasn’t each other they’d lost; it was themselves. Once they got back in touch with their own interests (Bette reinvesting herself with her family, Tina going back to work, both of them remembering what good sex was like), they rekindled their passion in time for the birth of their daughter. Nice!

Rhode Islander Tracie Potochnik legitimizes her addiction to the small screen by serving as a writer for the Web site She’s also co-author of the Clinton-Lewinsky-inspired stage comedy Monica! The Musical.
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