Family feuds just hit different. When you know someone at their most vulnerable and you feel energized by the idea of using that vulnerability against them, new heights of pandemonium are made possible. The Prime series “The Lake” explores the comedic potential of a childhood’s worth of family history, ancient, deep resentments, and town gossip to soak it all in. Set on a Canadian lake and with a relentlessly upbeat energy, this is a comedy that keeps things light, but gets down and dirty in ways that make the chaos so much funnier. But here’s the bottom line: “The Lake” is joyous, charming, heartfelt and chaotic —and extremely gay.
What Joel Kim Booster did with Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” to deliver an instant queer classic in “Fire Island”, “The Lake” does with the great, timeless genre of family feud comedies. The show translates the drama through a queer, diverse lens. In doing so, they’ve created a story that is effortlessly inclusive and evokes the sense of an endless summer, using unique humour and the power of found family to bring beautiful, horny people together.
Related: Gay Pride and Gay Prejudice in Fire Island
“The Lake” is about Justin (played by Jordan Gavaris, aka Felix from “Orphan Black”) coming back to the lake where he spent summers as a child, discovering that his stepsister slash enemy, Maisy-May (Julia Stiles) has been living in his family vacation home this entire time. To say ‘chaos ensues’ would be an understatement. The competitive hijinks are tremendous fun, with sharp, biting comedy that feels unexpected even in the sun-soaked environment. All eight half-hour episodes will make you laugh out loud, fall in love, and feel like you’ve become part of this seriously dysfunctional but delightful lakeside family.
“The Lake” is joyous, charming, heartfelt and chaotic —and extremely gay.
The Prime Video show has an overall wholesome spirit: There’s absolutely no homophobia or racism and diverse, blended families are free to simply be. It’s raunchy and backstabby and silly and messy: Its characters are flawed, and constantly making reckless, impulsive decisions. We watch them follow their hearts or their desire for revenge when they should be using their brains. But crucially, the source of disaster never lies in a struggle with identity or social acceptance.
“The Lake” has an ensemble cast of characters that are queer, Black, Asian, tattooed, single, horny, and extremely hot, and they are all known and loved as they are without question. Their safety —except during a brief horror film-inspired episode—is never up for negotiation. There are much more important issues for them to deal with! For example: How do I convince my child that I’m not “straightwashing” his art when I inform him that our local talent show doesn’t have the facilities for burlesque pyrotechnics or a dramatic trapeze entrance? Should I be concerned that my crush is into roadkill taxidermy CSI-fanfiction roleplay? Did you really tell the mayor that we would have a threesome with him in exchange for revoking your sister’s permit to renovate the lakehouse?
Keep your enemies close, but keep your family closer. @jordangavaris, @missjuliastiles, and Madison Shamoun star in #TheLakeOnPrimeVideo, a brand new comedy series coming to @primevideo this summer! pic.twitter.com/WiAgtPMoBw
— Amazon Studios (@AmazonStudios) May 18, 2022
The storyline revolves around a sweet, drama-free open adoption. Justin is a gay man who got his Black best friend, Teesa (played warmly by Sagine Sémajuste), pregnant when they were teenagers. No one at the lake seems to care that they gave their baby up for adoption, or that he’s brought a sixteen-year-old Billie back to meet everyone. The residents have too much of their own amazing lake-related gossip to engage in any stigma about any of it. Justin is really friendly with the adoptive parents, who are away on a whirlwind vacation (but stay in touch through regular video calls) and want their teenage daughter to get to know her birth dad. Without the restraint of shame or guilt, Justin’s relationship with Billie (played wonderfully by Madison Shamoun) can soar and fall according to their own personalities, summer romances, and questionable escapades. It’s so refreshing to see, especially because we are rooting for the birthfather-daughter relationship to bloom.
Did you really tell the mayor that we would have a threesome with him in exchange for revoking your sister’s permit to renovate the lakehouse?
At its heart, “The Lake” is about Justin navigating earning Billie’s trust and learning to be a good parent as they work together to win back Justin’s old vacation home. The pair bond over crushes on cute boys and defend each other’s honor, while trying to figure out who they are as individuals under these new circumstances. But the best part of ‘The Lake” is that it is so queer at every level: Maisy-May’s glamorous ten-year-old, Opal (Declan Whaley) is a supremely queer drama-slash-drag queen; The lake county’s local councilor (Jerry O’Connell) is on Grindr leveraging threesomes for getting laws passed; Maisy-May thinks her older son is dating his best friend, but he’s actually her beard until she’s ready to come out to her parents; Justin’s love interest is a hot, helpful handyman who inspires in him a perfectly understandable level of ridiculous gay rambling. Meanwhile, all the women are pegging their husbands (not necessarily queer, but still iconic), and Maisy-May’s bff, Jayne (the hilarious Natalie Lisinska), is desperately, hopelessly in love with her.
There is no character arc or storyline that you could separate from queerness. This is a straight-up family comedy that happens to be gay at every angle, making the show a wild ride that’s as drenched in gay as it is in family fun.
Guys, did I mention #TheLakeOnPrimeVideo is super gay? Please reference below. Thank you. Love, gay. https://t.co/Z1a9rxK0xg
— Jordan Gavaris (@JordanGavaris) June 22, 2022
The fact that this show exists —something spit-take hilarious and authentic in its queer representation— is a triumph and a sincere joy. Discovering a show laden with unhinged, inappropriate humor and welcoming queer family vibes feels like finding buried treasure only heard of in myth —except it’s not hidden at all. “The Lake” is on a streaming service waiting for you to watch it right now, and it’s already been renewed for a second season.
If not for all the reasons I’ve described above, consider watching “The Lake” based on this incredible tweet recommending it from a Canadian anthropological perspective, to which the lead actor replied “Best review thus far!” This same person tweeted that the show bounces between “surprisingly sleazy” and “surprisingly sweet” which is 100% accurate.
I sometimes wonder what Americans think of the Canadians they see in our TV shows but the awkward threesome in episode four of #TheLakeOnPrimeVideo shows the demented lengths white people will go for cottage dominance. It’s Canadian representation at its most accurate. pic.twitter.com/DK702bEvEX
— scott dagostino (@scottdagostino) June 22, 2022
What more could you ask for from a summer comedy?♦