It's been fifteen years since the groundbreaking US version of Queer As Folk debuted, and it's the ten-year anniversary of its finale. Recently one of Tea In A'ville's creators, Michael Issa, caught up with one of its stars, Peter Paige ( who played Emmett ) to discuss the show's influence on culture, politics and club life, as well as Peter's hit show, The Fosters.
Michael Issa: It's been ten years since Queer As Folk went off the air, and it is still as popular as ever. Do you miss playing Emmett Honeycutt?
Peter Paige: Of course I do! He was an amazing man, and to put on his skin ( and tight pants ) every day was a privilege. I miss him like a good friend.
MI: When you're approached by fans, what do they say are their most memorable moments from Queer As Folk?
PP: One of the great things about Queer As Folk is that people fell in love with different parts of itdifferent relationships, friendships and moments. I can tell you my most memorable: George dying on my back ( and inside me ) on the airplane, and the whole Teddy/meth story. Those scenes still haunt me.
MI: We loved Emmett so much, such a bright light for the gay community. How does Peter Paige compare to Emmett Honeycutt?
PP: Oh, I'm less fun, less funny, less silly. More grounded, more worried. I'd like to think I'm as good a friend. And I'm definitely better at holding down a job.
MI: The idyllic Queer As Folk club, Babylon, and Liberty Ave., are among the reasons we host our tea dance, "Tea in A-ville," at Mary's Attic. Do you still get to an occasional tea dance?
PP: Alas, while running The Fosters I barely have time for tea, much less a tea dance. So, no. I think the last one I was at was last year's Invasion on Fire Island. And I might have been in little mermaid drag.
MI: When you do go out dancing, what's your favorite track from the Queer As Folk era?
PP: ( Heather Small's ) "Proud," no question.
MI: Let's talk about The Fosters, such a great show! How was the concept hatched? Where do you get your episode-to-episode storyline ideas?
PP: My producing partner Bradley Bredeweg and I wanted to do a family drama, since there are so few of them on TV, and we both love them. Then we started talking about what kind of family it should be. We debated two dads ( maybe for me to act in ) but felt that was being well-handled in the comedy space. So we decided to do a two-mom household, which led to the obvious question: How did they create their family? We ultimately thought we should just cram it all in therebiological, adopted, and foster kids. And it made for a pretty dynamic set up.
As far as stories go, we try to pull everything out of character psychology who is it and what do they want? - which naturally brings up a lot of issues, rather than starting with the issues themselves.
MI: We are now in 2015, and the boy-on-boy teen kiss was an amazing episode this past season. How has the fanfare been about the kiss?
PP: 99% supportive. There was some fallout and name-calling ( even from gay people ), but it was minimal. Most viewers understood the beauty and innocence of that story and the way we told it.
MI: How do you think the Queer As Folk main characters would have reacted to the sea change of acceptance of the LGBT equality and marriage equality movements?
PP: No doubt, they would love it. They were fighting hard for it, even back then. Although Brian would definitely be concerned that we have gotten too "assimilationist… ."
MI: Many TV series are being rebooted now. If Queer As Folk were to come back, would you want to see the Queer As Folk characters all updated a decade, or see all new characters?
PP: What do you think? I want to know what Emmett is up to now. Though I'd better start dieting soon if I'm ever going to get back in those leather pants.
Saturday, Aug. 2, Michael, Moose and the boys host a Tea In A'ville tribute to Queer as Folk with music, visuals and one big surprise starting at 4 pm.