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on March 5, 2004
It's funny how people review the season and not the DVDs. I don't have Showtime, so I've experienced QAF for the past three years only on DVD. The experience is MUCH different this way. I know that I wouldn't have the patience to watch it episode by episode on a weekly basis, I'd lose interest because QAF is annoying to watch and the characters are too extreme. I wish Debbie would shut the f*ck up.
What I love about QAF is this: the writers are brilliant and their minds project from the first to the final episode. You only experience this fully by watching the entire season at one time. The gratuitous sex, violence, and drugs are grating, but at the end of each episode I'm left a little bewildered and enticed to want to know what will happen next. By the final episode I am floored.
I don't read the reviews that tell me the plot and subplots. This stuff is obvious. But I do want you to know how QAF makes me feel and think. I'm generally conservative, but by the end of each season I want to celebrate being human, and I want the next season right away. QAF is about failure and redemption and the whole of human experience on fast-forward and in technocolor. I laughed when one reviewer said that he skips through certain sequences but takes his time on the sex scenes.
The QAF experience is just the opposite, it requires some of life's experience and a certain maturity to understand - to work through the stubborn glamorization of what is excessive and infantile in gay life and to finally see the characters for what they are: humans with hearts of blood and stone. I especially love the references to prior seasons, bringing Blake back at the end of the final episode was outstanding in the context of what was happening to Ted. Wow.
Okay, another year until season four. I'll rent it all at once, watch it over a weekend, laugh out loud, shed a tear, clap, fume, and in the end be overjoyed. I know the formula and characters will be the same, but that the twists will more than make up for it. I wouldn't associate with any one of these characters in real life but in the end, they're all my friends. Now that, that is remarkable testament to why QAF is so damned brilliant.
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on May 12, 2004
Everyone has a strong opinion on this show. I for one thoroughly enjoyed season 3. My review, without spoilers:
Scott Lowell's performance as Ted addicted to crystal meth is outstanding. Peter Paige also does a spectacular job as Emmitt, Ted's boyfriend, trying to deal with the addition. This saga within the series is one of the best parts of season three.
That being said, I could have done without Hunter: was he added to the show simply to have a twink on hand now that Justin is maturing? Also, I would love to see just ONE episode where it isn't necessary for the cast to get their freak on at Babylon, the disco.
I cringe when I see the illicit, casual sex and casual drug use on the show. I will respect the writers' decision to include it, as it's part of gay life. But the writers could be more inclusive of the diversity of opinions in the community by adding a character that is opposed to casual sex and recreational drug use. They do exist!
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on July 4, 2004
What's worse than bad television? Answer: bad gay television. After three and a-half seasons of QAF I still can't figure out why so many in our community have embraced this show. Is it because we feel we have nothing else on tv that gives us a voice? What about HBO's Angels in America and Six feet Under? And don't forget the first installment of Tales of the City. These shows prove that we can have quality programming if the people behind them have a creative, honest and caring voice for our community. Instead, Showtime serves us this. Every character on this show is not only a stereotype but a cliche. And how about hiring actors who can act? What QAF gives us are "line-readers" who can whine on cue. Debbie's potty mouth becomes unbearable after about ten seconds and Brian's one dimentional character leaves me scratching my head in disbelief. The actor who plays Ted is so bad that when he's on screen I can't hit the mute button fast enough. I enjoyed season one and hoped that what followed would only get better. It didn't. This is un-reality television at its worst. I don't know anyone as queer as these folks.
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on June 27, 2004
Alright now we're at Season Three, enough has been said of how SHOWTIME had come this far to make this totally queer, bold, or whatever awesome gay drama for the America's television - and also the gossips intercontinentally - I strongly feel the story has slowly lost its grisp to constantly "thrill" the constantly demanding DVD audience (especially those who spent 4 times utterly higher than the people earning DOLLARS in the states).
It's as if we've come to know Brian Kinney (more than enough as the number of smack bottoms he took back to his bourgeois loft), his (...) lucky pal Michael Novortny who seems to have it all, his custody shared longtime friend Lindsay and her absolutely perfect lesband Melanie, and his oh-so-predictable one-and-off whatevership with so called brighter-than-sunshine but bored-than-britney Justin Taylor. Enough crystal drama for the newly coupled Ted and Emmett, and definitely a big enough mouth for enough fabulous mama Debbie. Season Three also tend to consolate the gay activists by creating a win-win result over a election campaign, and add one more new member to the Diner's family, a teenage street hustler named Hunter, who came around a little rather imaginative for the storyline. However, not enough has been explored on a few members of this family.
I personally feel Melanie and Emmett are actually two potentially very explorable characters among the gang that would give the directors a good run of scripts. Melanie's coming strong in-your-face dyke attitude should be treated with a little extra indepth focus and Emmett's flamboyant outshell may as well worth a closer look. Just ask yourself, if the entire characters in the show were your real life friends, how much do you know about Melanie and Emmett after watching the Season One, Two, and Three? Do you know where they come from? The answer is no, see.
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on June 2, 2004
I was ready to give up on Queer as Folk after Season 2. I'm tired of seeing how many positions, how many partners, how many ways Brian can have sex. But this Season, amid Brian's constant need to quench his lust, there were storylines and plots that were interesting. Emmet and Ted's relationship hits a rather rocky spot, from which there was no turning back. Debbie's relationship also becomes strained....while Michael and his professor take in an HIV + hustler. Brian has to deal with the consequences of his terrific work in advertising for a client who is bent on destroying Pittsburg's gay community. There are plenty of things going on this season with the character's, including Lindsey and Mel, which made this season, though shorter, much more interesting for me. I'd love to see the writers and directors back of the sexual content (not completely) but enough to focus more on the characters and other facets of the gay community. It seems anytime they do focus on another part of the gay community (such as a bear/leather bar) it is with comtempt and negativity. Anyone who is gay or has gay friends know that "Queer as Folk" certainly doesn't emcompass the complete gay experience. But for the next season it would be nice to see QAF expand their horizons beyond the pretty boys we see on a regular basis.
As far as the extra features, there is plenty there. Photo galleries, a cool music video, behind the scenes with actors, etc. Overall, if you are a fan of the show, you'll definitely wan to add this to your dvd library. A season worth watching....let's hope they give us more story and less sex in Season 4!
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on May 15, 2004
"Queer As Folk" continues entertaining audiences as proven in this DVD set. When the show debuted on Showtime in 2000, many wondered how long it can maintain its surprise and shock value. Before its debut, only "Will And Grace" and "Ellen" had expored GLBT issues to such heights. This offered issues that the community can relate to. It's since earned numerous nominations from the GLAAD (Gays, Lesbians, and Allies Against Defamination) Awards for Outstanding TV sitcom. The third season proves that it sustains its great quality while comprising new and interesting ideas. It expresses many views that many unfortunately consider taboo and places it into their faces in great magnitudes. Such daring techniques earn the cast and crew tremendous respect for doing what many would never consider. The third season explores numerous issues for the first time: politics, hustling, drug abuse, and others. The brilliant plot continues to entertain audiences as it has in the past.
Those who have watched the first two seasons will notice some change in events and settings. An unexpected hero arising to save a town from being led by a homophobic mayor candatite and crystal meth beginning to tumble the life of an unexpected man are only two events that will shock and mesmerize longtime fans. Justin's break-up, the future of "Rage" comic book, and if best friends Ted and Emmitt's relationship blossoms into romance. Viewers will notice a broader prospective on HIV/ AIDS as Ben suffers a life crisis after his friend/ ex-boyfriend dies of AIDS, leading to steroid use, and helps a 15-year-old hustler, later discovering they can relate to each other more than they planned. Such chilling chain of events and others lead to a surprising conclusion that leaves audiences anxiously awaiting for season four.
The variety of personalities within the characters offer greater viewing entertainment. Without it, "Queer As Folk" wouldn't have as much impact. The actors express their individual character's traits wonderfully. Michelle Clunie (Mel), Thea Gill (Lindsay), Robert Gant (Ben), Scott Lowell (Ted), Peter Paige (Emmitt), Gale Howard (Brian), Hal Sparks (Michael), Randy Harrison (Justin), and Sharon Gless (Debbie) star. Their talents alone greatly express the characters' development throughout the season.
After viewing the whole season, those pleased with the DVD set should also watch the bonus features. Kristine W.'s new music video is great to dance to. The features and facts about the show's background and the creation are interesting. Viewers will learn about the creation and the secrets of Babylon, the actors' history before and during the show, and more. Specials on some actors' activism, participation in gay parades, autograph signing festivals offer more of their background on their acting influences.
"Queer As Folk" third season edition proves that it will remain on the air for a while longer. This series of episodes is sure to pleases audiences. Those interested in this should watch the first and the second season first. Otherwise, the chain of events will be confusing.
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on April 26, 2004
Although I'd seen a handful of episodes from seasons 1 and 2, the third season of the American "Queer as Folk" is the first season I've seen in its entirety. And although I'm nowhere near as smitten with the show as a lot of my gay friends are, I do admit that the show is very fun and entertaining.
The most interesting thing about this season was watching the development of Brian, who is by far the most three-dimensional character on the show. In the beginning of the season, still smarting from his breakup with Justin, Brian's behavior is cold and cruel, and yet by the end of the season we see him willing to bankrupt himself in order to keep a homophobic candidate from becoming city mayor. In one particularly telling episode, where Brian is accused of molestation by his horrific 12-year-old nephew, we get a glimpse into Brian's family life, and it starts to become apparent why the character would have become so hardened. His relationship with Justin, rekindled by the end of the season, becomes more interesting as well, because it becomes apparent that, although younger, precocious, sneaky Justin is in many ways Brian's match.
If you take away the graphic sex scenes (which, I'm not going to lie, I do appreciate), what you're left with is a show that reminds me a little bit of Beverly Hills 90210: attractive, sexy, (mostly) likable characters who tend to have a penchant for substance abuse and romantic drama. So as an entertaining, sexy nighttime soap opera, the show works. However, as a groundbreaking, seminal drama, HBO's excellent "Six Feet Under" is still light years ahead.
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on April 20, 2004
I suppose you could add accusations of pedophila to the list as well. Season Three featured a mere 14 episodes (disappointing after seasons 1 and 2). At about 45 minutes per episode, then racks up to only 10 1/2 hours of the brilliant but pompous Brian, the beautiful Justin, the too often pathetic Ted, the delightful Emmett, "Mel and Linds" - the token lesbians, the too often winey Michael, professor Ben, the artful Ethan, street hustler Hunter, and of course the outraguous and outspoken Debbie. Ok, so do I like it or not? I love it! Kudos to Showtime, and the performers for bringing what I refer to as "ground-breaking television". Seasons 1 and 2 were riveting. Season 3 missed the mark, but I hold the producers and directors accountable for that. The season lacked depth, seems as we never really reached deep into the story lines. The ensemble cast is wonderful, and for the most part, we all know someone who fits each characters role - to some extent. I've never met Ted in my life. I was about to write this reveiw after seeing 13 of the 14 epsiodes - but decided to wait until I completed the 14th and final episode of Season 3 (I own the DVD collections and do not get Showtime). Because, and almost only because of epsiode 14, I give the season 3 FOUR STARS. Without, 3 at best. Somehow, we finally got focused again on what this show is all about. Love and life in the GLBT world. Debbie's closing words to Emmett are the reason why we NEED Queer As Folk (don't read ahead if you haven't seen the show yet): "Mourn the losses because they're many; but celebrate the victories because they're few". Another reason we need this show is to REMIND us what it is we are supposed to be doing - standing up and speaking out for our rights! If we don't keep doing, someone WILL come along and take them away. Support Queer As Folk, and support Showtime. Though many episodes may not exactly portray your reality of gay life, remember this is only television, and television rarely portrays "real life" (especially those reality shows). But in our culture, there are nightclubs, bathhouses (or back rooms), overbearing Moms, young people on the streets, people living with HIV, politicians who would rather see us dead, and so on. Queer As Folk is reality and each show is a reminder of our community. If you don't like the gratutious sex (and I for one could manage to see far less anonymous sex on the show), ask Showtime to produce a non-cable version. Does all this sex happen in our community? I don't know because I don't partake in it, but I beleive in many of our larger metro areas it does. So indeed, it too is reality. Buy, rent or borrow Queer As Folk - it's not only for gay men either!
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on April 16, 2004
As a middle-aged, intelligent, experienced gay man who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s and who has seen gay culture from all angles, Imust admit up front that I have never found QAF all that compelling or revelatory. Season ONE was good (for the most part) in its depiction of the emptiness and shallowness of gay bar culture (a fact which I am sure is mirrored in straight bar culture as well). The characters were introduced well and their interactions rang true. The more negative aspects of the bar scene were not glossed over, though I have always questioned more fervent supportersof the show why they feel this is a *good* thing for us. The bones I found to pipck were relatively minor: [(no characters involved in ANY spare time activity related to AIDS or to other charity; not a single major male character with facial hair (EXTREMELY unrealistic!!); no focus on gay men over 30 (a SERIOUS omission yet to be corrected); little or no focus on the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic.]
Season TWO started the downhill slide, with Ted's slide into the Internet porn business serving notice that dramatic creativity was going to take a back seat to titilation and an easy backdrop for puns and one-liners that would have made me cringe in high school. And the lesbians started their slow fade into the background - a fade that we all pretty much knew was coming...
But Season THREE I found truly incomprehensible - and ultimately insulting. The emphasis on venality and exploitation of others reached new highs (or lows, depending on your point of view) and I found nearly ALL of the characters becoming LESS likeable or worthy of respect.
A previous reviewer made salient points regarding the near-exclusive emphasis on sex and drugs in this series by its major male protagonists - a complaint that I echo strongly here. Certainly most of the sexual interaction in this series is gratuitous and does nothing to further either the character's development nor their relationships with others. (Certainly Brian is one of the most UNappealing gay characters I have ever encountered in any genre and his psychological motivations for his seeming 'against character' actions ring painfully false and contrived.) The drug use (apart from Ted's self-loathing-motivated descent) appears at random and fades away, to little effect or, seeming, purpose. Aside from Ben's actions in trying to 'save' the male prostitute, the characters are completely self-absorbed and narcissistic. The most appealing characters get little screen time or story lines. And it seems the easy road is taken regarding characterization - characters are either cardboard stereotypes or walk-ons who appear briefly, then fade away when no longer required, their story lines left dangling (Ethan).
The Titanic is approaching the iceberg at full speed. Season FOUR will determine whether the inevitable happens or whether there is a last-minute course correction that saves the ship and returns us to a more satisfying and realistic voyage through the complex world of gay friendship and relationships.
Hopefully, (...), the course correction will begin. But Season THREE stands as example of the need for some serious rethinking of the series AND its characters directions.
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on April 13, 2004
I am a huge fan of Queer As Folk and this season I think is the best of all three so far. For instance the writers have decided to focus more on the story lines and characters other than the spe (sex per eposoide).
In this season you find Emmett and Ted in some pretty hard times, Brian risking it all, Melanie and Lindsey looking for their own little miracle, as well as Hunter, Michael and Ben finding the true meaning of a family, and last but not least Justin finally growing up.
I was compelled by this season and it's a must see for anyone. The series itself is ground breaking and pushes the limits. I've never seen things done on television before that this show does. After watching one eposoide you'll fall in love with these characters and never miss another eposoide again.
I own these dvds and watch it over and over again because it's highly addictive and the acting is superb. Everytime I watch it I'm completely blown away by the actors and the way they devliver their lines. It's definately worth the money and it's something you'll love to watch over numerous times.
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