Bad Gays

The gays are asking: what’s the most toxic gay couple on TV?

Toxic relationships aren’t just the province of straight people—though to be fair, they do do it very well. In the wake of Sex and the City streaming on Netflix and getting a whole new generation of fans who were too cheap to shell out for a Max subscription, everyone’s wondering one thing: is there a gay couple that can match Carrie and Big’s will they/won’t they, push-and-pull, freaky-a** toxicity?

Perhaps there’s no perfect analog, but as the gays have been showing us, there are a few couples that come pretty darn close.

Exhibit A: Brian and Justin from the cursed, if seminal series Queer as Folk.

Back in the day (2004), these two were controversial not just for being in an on-again, off-again age-gap relationship—the couple also became a kind of litmus test for cultural ideas about monogamy vs. polyamory. Before gay marriage was legal across the country, queer shows had to do a lot of work to both solidify and combat ideas about gay promiscuity. Brian Kinney, as the one character on the show who wasn’t interested in having a monogamous relationship was vilified, slut-shamed, and finally converted. Sort of?

But these two were far from the only toxic queer couple engaging in la douleur exquise.

Let’s talk about this cursed couple from Shameless.

Ian and Mickey put viewers through the wringer with their sometimes sweet, often chaotic relationship. Mickey started out the series as a violent jerk who was Ian’s bully—and thanks to the much-hated bullies-to-boyfriends trope, the show kept throwing these two together, often in depressing and painful ways.

And we can’t forget these toxic queens!

It’s fair to say that most vampire relationships are pretty messed up, but these two—sexy as they are—have been through some pretty bad trials. They can’t keep away from each other and are clearly soulmates, but sometimes soulmates can still put each other through the wringer. “If they had taken the time to know each other better,” one Redditor recently stated, “then Lestat could have seen all of this coming. He rushed into this relationship and truly “trapped” Louis, and now both of them are suffering.” But as suffering goes, it’s still pretty hot.

But nothing, truly nothing compares to the horrifying sh*tshow that was The L Word‘s Bette and Tina.

Bette and Tina are a classic case of two people who should have never gotten together. The relationship started in cheating, it ended in cheating, then it started in cheating…again. And in the middle, there was plenty of horrible violence.

And speaking of early oughts gay TV, we can’t forget the OG toxic couple of Noah’s Arc, Noah and Wade.

When Noah first meets Wade, his on-again, off-again lover, Wade is still on the DL, which lead to a lot of heartache for both of them. But Noah brings his own share of BS—he cheats on Wade, then they try to be friends, then there’s more cheating, and finally a clean break. But this relationship only ended after causing a lot of drama and crap for everyone else who had to be around these two.

Speaking of drama and crap…

Looking gave us the situationship no one asked for in the form of Patrick hooking up with his hot British boss Kevin. Though this show really featured nothing but toxic couples, these two really had a special kind of nonsense going for them. First Patrick absolutely fumbled with the ultra-hot Richie, then Kevin bends over backwards to make Patrick happy with their relationship, and still this twink had complaints? Ugh.

But as situationships go, there’s one that was truly disrespectful.

It wasn’t enough that my queen Angel had to fall in love with chaser Evan Peters. He kept her on the side and then made her feel bad about wanting bottom surgery? Ew! In the words of an icon, stay away from her, get a job!

Obviously the list could go on, and on, and on. But rehashing the mess of these few toxic gay couples is making me break out in hives. As far as toxic relationships go, Big and Carrie truly have nothing on the gays of TV’s early representation era.

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