I Want My Gay TV

Remembering “Kingdom,” the Show That Gave Us a Hot, Sweaty, Gay Nick Jonas

2014 seems like a world away at this point—and it is. It’s not just that nearly 10 full years have passed (plus a pandemic, plus 2 election cycles.) It’s that we no longer have so much of the great sexy sweaty man content we used to.

Yes, I’m talking about “Kingdom,” the 2014 Byron Belasco series about MMA hopefuls duking it out in a Venice Beach mixed martial arts studio.

The show was tough, gritty, and unapologetically hot. It also had a lot of heart, particularly when it came to Nick Jonas’s character Nate Kulina, a closeted queer boxer who comes out to his dad right before dying. Because yeah, it was still 2014. Can’t let those gays get away with too much happiness amirite?

In 2014, queer stories were still all about coming out. And “Kingdom,” honestly, did it better than most. Maybe it was Nick Jonas’s vulnerability, his inner softness breaking through the hard, ripped outer shell. Or maybe it was the fact that Nate came out to his dad and immediately died afterward, a hard-hitting death that felt like it belonged to an earlier time when “bury your gays” was still the standard.

Hearing Jonas’s character come out to his father hit hard: there’s a reason viewers still can’t forget it.

When Nate comes out, it’s basically a death sentence for the character—because again, this is 2014-2016 we’re talking about.

He comes from a family of fighters, and his father feels let down by his confession. If only this character got a chance to thrive in his identity, rather than having his life be cut short just to prove a dramatic point.

Maybe “Kingdom” will get a remake and we can see Nate’s story get another chance. Until then, we’ll just have to thirst—and cry—over the original.

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