Gay Best Friend
aka: Pet Homosexual
Not everyone wants one, but sometimes they're hard to avoid.
: Must be a wonderful life, Hazel, all those boys. Never short of a joke, tremendous wit, all of them... always smiling, always laughing... Hazel
: Yes, and they make such good pets.
The Gay Best Friend exists mostly to add variety, funny mannerisms and cheap laughs to an otherwise all-straight story.
The GBF may talk about sex a lot, but is seldom depicted as having any
, because too many viewers would find that disturbing
. Either he has no love life to speak of (which never seems to bother him), or it's forever offscreen
, only discussed with the heroine over brunch at some pretentious cafe.
As modern society grows increasingly comfortable with homosexuality, fiction is slowly seeing more well-rounded gay supporting characters with onscreen love lives, whose sexuality is incidental to the character. It would be nice to say this trope has gone into Discredited territory
, but we've still got a ways to go.
There are some very Unfortunate Implications
with this trope, such as All the Good Men Are Gay
, or that women can't have a meaningful friendship with straight men without it inevitably leading to intercourse, or that intercourse and friendship are somehow incompatible, or that gay men are good for comic relief and supporting roles
, but have no other place. Maybe the worst unfortunate implication: the gay person is there simply to make another character look cool, or at least unbiased, all while piling as many stereotypes on the gay person's behavior as possible.
In fiction the most common use of this trope is a male GBF to a straight female protagonist but other permutations are very slowly beginning to appear.
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Anime and Manga
- Harley from Pokémon: Advanced Generation (the May years).
- Bob, Saiga's neighbor and friend (who openly crushes on Saiga) from Speed Grapher.
- Lussuria from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, whose flamboyant-ness is played for laughs. Though it starts getting ever so slightly disturbing when he's hitting on jail bait, and is insinuated to have necrophiliac tendencies as well.
- Averted by Seiji Kisaragi, Mikako's gay friend in Gokinjo Monogatari. He's an extremely bishonen aspiring hairdresser and former fashion student with a rather flamboyant appearance, but he's portrayed as mature, talented and determined and is of great importance as an older brother/mentor figure for Mikako. What's best is he's not even gay, he's bisexual.
- Petshop Of Horrors has a literal version of this trope. Wong, a rare mythical Tao Tieh (Tou Tetsu, goat-demon), tries to seduce D in order to make a meal out of him. D immediately sees through Wong's human disguise and decides to make the demon his pet. "Tetsu-chan" spends the rest of the series lounging around the petshop and providing much of the series' comic relief.
- Fire Emblem aka Nathan of Tiger & Bunny. Fortunately, he's also a total badass and Team Mom of the heroes. Also a variation in that he's biologically male and tends to call himself "one of the girls", and Word of God states that Nathan considers himself to be "gender-free" and in the 6th drama cd files a request to Yuri Petrov for a gender-neutral locker room for himself.
- Scott Pilgrim's gay best friend and roommate, Wallace Wells. (Also applies to The Film of the Book.) Downplayed in that his (very active) sex life clearly exists, though it doesn't get much attention due to Wallace's fairly small role in the series.
- Ironically, Scott is more like Wallace's pet heterosexual, since Wallace is the only one paying the bills. However, they're best friends, and Wallace occasionally cracks jokes about him being Scott's sugar-daddy.
- Deconstructed in Kick-Ass, as stuck up Katie will only associate with Dave because she thinks nerdy, unpopular Dave is gay (a fact that Dave has shamelessly exploited in order to be allowed to hang out with the woman he loves). When she finds out, she has her boyfriend savagely beat him and then sends him sexually explicit photos to torment him with the fact that she'd never be romantically involved with him. The movie removes this aspect of the story and and completely changes the dynamic of this plot point. Katie doesn't acknowledge Dave's existence until hearing a rumor that he's gay and befriends him, with Dave very reluctantly going along with the lie. When she finds out the truth and Dave's crush on her, she is mad at him for lying to her about his sexuality but tells him that she likes him too and becomes his girlfriend.
- David in Strangers in Paradise is the heterosexual pet of Katchoo.
- Stephen Stucker as "Johnny" in the Airplane! movies. Though most of the humor is from his Cloud Cuckoo Lander personality.
- Simon from As Good As It Gets is a Deconstruction of this character type: essentially what happens when the Pet Homosexual has a Heroic BSOD and starts biting back.
- Though Disney is still too conservative to let him be anything but Ambiguously Gay, Ryan Evans of High School Musical is still pretty flaming, and his spotlight-hogging twin sister's treatment definitely qualifies him for this trope. He even says in the second movie, mid-Character Development, "I know everyone thinks of me as Sharpay's poodle."
- Then again, by HSM standards he's undoubtedly one of the better-developed characters (if not the best).
- The female lead's best friend in the film Must Love Dogs.
- Dan in Over Her Dead Body. Subversion; he's not actually gay. Ashley assumed he was, and he went with it to stay close to her. She treated him like a Pet Homosexual for years, though.
- Damien in Mean Girls.
- LA Story is a rare example of a straight male lead with a Lesbian Best Friend (technically her orientation is never mentioned but it is clear which way she swings). In an interesting and revealing contrast to the standard Pet Homosexual, Ariel's sex life is never discussed on screen but she is shown living with a partner.
- Hollywood Montrose from the Mannequin movies is a particularly cartoonish (and yet, somehow sort of awesome) example.
- The Nia Vardalos movie I Hate Valentine's Day features two gay friends of the main character whose personalities extend solely to the fact that they are gay. And no, they don't get any sex.
- Flame from Soul Plane.
- Gabriel from The People I've Slept With.
- George, confidante of the female lead in My Best Friends Wedding.
- The whole point of the film GBF was to deal with a lot of issues around being gay in a high school where there weren't any out gay people. The main character is treated like a hot commodity for the school's 3 alpha females, who are disappointed to find out he doesn't fit any of the usual gay stereotypes. Although his friend is a more stereotypical example.
- Valentin in Blue Is The Warmest Color. He is a very supportive and understanding friend when he defends and consoles Adele from their homophobic classmates.
Live Action TV
- Mr Humphries from Are You Being Served? However, the show milks all the humor it can from "Is he or isn't he" - he definitely acts like it, but mentions dating women more than once. The actor has said that he was a bit of a mummy's boy.
- Gil Chesterton from Frasier is a similar character, taken further than Mr. Humphries is. The quirk is later cut entirely at one point when the previously-oblivious Gil finds out about his reputation and angrily declares himself to be a happily married man.
- But on one of the occasions Frasier is Mistaken for Gay, Gil is there to welcome him out of the closet. His unseen wife is often referred to in a manner that strongly suggests she's a beard.
- The plot of that episode was kicked off by Frasier entering a gay bar, trying to confront Roz's new boyfriend, who he thought he'd seen walk in. Gil can be seen trying to discreetly enter the same bar during the episode's ending credits.
- Lukewarm from Porridge.
- Averted in 'Allo 'Allo!. While Lieutenant Gruber's attraction to men (and specifically Rene) is occasionally played for laughs, he's still a developed and reasonably respected character.
- Jack from Will and Grace is treated as Karen's Pet Homosexual.
- Marc St. James from Ugly Betty is Wilhelmina Slater's Pet Homosexual - to such an extent that she once turned to him and cried "Fly, my pretty! Fly!"
- But inverted with Hugo Lombardi from the original Yo soy Betty, la fea, whose constant moodiness prompted that few people wanted to deal with him, and in fact he treats his elderly secretary Ines as his mascot, for better and for worse.
- The second and third seasons developed Marc's personal life a bit beyond Wilhelmina as well.
- John, the secretary on NYPD Blue (At least, by the end of the show, Sipowicz started referring to him as "John", instead of "Gay John".)
- Willow to Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- On Glee, Kurt is Rachel's and Blaine is Tina's. An aversion however because they're both very well established main characters outside of their friendships. Pus, they're not friends because they're gay.
- Rachel has an ugly habit of calling Kurt her "best gay". When she tries that on Elliot, he immediately tells her he hates it, because it makes him feel like a pet.
- Sex and the City had two. Stanford Blatch was Carrie's from the start and Charlotte later got Anthony, who first appeared as the wedding planner for her ill-fated first marriage but stuck around for the rest of the series. Stanford subverted the trope towards the end of the series by gaining a hot boyfriend, though the boyfriend was nowhere to be seen in the feature film.
- They were shown meeting up at a New Year's Eve party (Anthony appeared to be expecting Stanford) and kissing at midnight. Still, those two characters (who'd hated each other throughout the series) are just slammed together in the feature as the only gay men in NYC that can be paired together? And then they're married in the second movie.
- Gabby in Birds of Prey.
- Original Cindy in Dark Angel—talks about sex, never has any. Except in the episode where we meet her first girlfriend.
- Subverted in Scrubs - the moment Carla and Elliot assume that the Todd is gay, they want to make him their 'gay best friend'... until he starts groping them.
- Ashley's friend Griffin on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. He takes great care to mention that he's gay in every single scene he's in (often multiple times!), but doesn't really have...well, any other characteristics. We know nothing else about him. And he's only shown with a love interest once in passing - in contrast to the other characters, whose tangled romantic lives are the focus of every episode.
- Marco on Degrassi: TheNextGeneration. His male friends always have a certain subtext to them, that his female friends don't because he's gay. But in many episodes, he's seen hanging with Paige, Ellie, and Alex. A true Distaff Counterpart is Alex, who is introduced as hanging out in a mostly-male circle.
- Unhappily Ever After had Barry, one of Tiffany's best friends.
- Sasan on Tori Spelling's semi-autobiographical sitcom So Notorious. The real person that the character is based off of is one of her closest friends since childhood and serves as her business and assets manager.
- Maldwyn Novello Pughe in the 1978 BBC Wales comedy "Grand Slam". He's a camp gay among a group of largely salt-of-the earth heterosexual rugby fans who travel to Paris to see Wales play France. Although this is played for laughs to an extent, he's definitely "one of the gang" and accepted for who he is without being patronised. He's subjected to some good-natured teasing but no more than anyone else, proves he can give as good as he gets, and the viewer is left in no doubt that anyone who messed with him would have the rest of the guys to deal with too.
- Rather bitterly deconstructed on The League of Gentlemen, with a self-declared Fag Hag character who appears in a few sketches. She blithely describes her gay friends in this manner, while they - usually played by the openly-gay Mark Gatiss - roll their eyes and try to sneak away while she's not looking.
- Doctor Who: Amy thought Rory was this when they were teenagers, since he never showed interest in girls. If she had been paying attention, she would have noticed he never showed interest in other girls.
- Shane in Faking It is this to pretty much everyone in that school except for Lauren. Interestingly, Shane is played by Michael Willett, the Gay Best Friend in G.B.F. in the Film section.
- An Invoked Trope in Warehouse 13, where Claudia repeatedly refers to the Straight Gay Steve Jinks as her "gay bestie". Since Jinksy hates all gay stereotypes, he's not amused by this, although he is her best friend.
Stand Up Comedy
- Patton Oswalt has a bit on his Finest Hour CD where he recalls being asked to read for a factory-produced rom com that had one of these. He decided to read the part as if he was the dumbest Pet Homosexual ever, constantly suggesting the wrong advice for his straight female friend.
"Ooh, I've seen that look before, sweetheart. You want to... do something with his penis. I don't know. God, I'm tired."
- The Shadow Hearts series has to include at least one Pet Homosexual who provides useful services per game. Wanderer Meiyuan from the original was only mildly flamboyant at most and rather predatory, but the travelling shopkeepers in Covenant and From the New World were incredibly over-the-top Flamboyant Gays bordering dangerously on Camp Gays. This is balanced by having a heroic gay superhero vampire wrestler (yes, all of those) party member. He's only camp in the superhero sense, his gayness isn't really played up that much except in the Great Gama sidequest, where you wrestle with him at the end, while Anastasia acts like a typical Yaoi Fangirl, and Yuri is nauseous (forgetting he can turn into a demon and fly away).
- Carla's neighbor in Fahrenheit is openly gay and his role in the plot (aside from assisting her investigation a little) is to provide eerily accurate prophetic foreshadowing, bringing him into Magical Queer zone, as well.
- Trevor in PHANTASMAGORIA!!!!! A Puzzle of Flesh starts out as this, but as his character develops it starts to be subverted, as he turns into more of a Straight Gay Humphrey] deliberately playing up the Camp Gay. It's further subverted when main character Curtis confesses his attraction for Trevor. At one point in Spoony's Let's Play he calls Trevor the one interesting character he liked and didn't want to see brutally murdered. The same thing applied in the Something Awful LP of the game, with the Goons managing to track down and get an interview with Trevor's actor.
- Bang from Blip. Though his relationship with K is a bit more vitriolic than usual.
- Fitz from The Code Crimson, though subverted in that he's a main character, hardly camp, and we meet Fitz's ex boyfriend early on. It's Serena who gives him romantic advice, not the other way around. She's the one who never seems to date. The comic is basically a girl and her Gay Best Friend traveling through time and space, although the girl happens to be Sharing a Body with a violent cyborg assassin from the future.
- Szark from Dominic Deegan became one of these over his run. He still gets to handle important plot points regardless. ("Battle For Barthis", for one - where he was vital to the plan - took place well after his transformation started.)
- In It Sucks to Be Weegie!, Link is this for Luigi, frequently drinking and discussing their personal problems at the local bar.
- Ménage ŕ 3 had a minor version of this at times between Zii and Camp Gay Dillon, although he didn't give her much advice (and he's fairly sexually active in the comic), and later a more significant friendship between Amber and Dillon, which became central to spin-off comic Sticky Dilly Buns — see the note on that below.
- Tai from Questionable Content, in her earlier appearances.
- In Shortpacked!:
- When she learns that Ethan is gay, Robin pretends to be a lesbian in order to make him jealous, and thus produces a 'partner' whom she proudly refers to as "My lesbian!" to the point of not even learning her real name. While the woman is not an exaggerated stereotype used for comic effect but a perfectly ordinary, rather quiet and shy person, her entire purpose in the comic is based around her sexuality - and, it
is hinted has now been outright stated, has a crush on Robin, partially explaining why she puts up with Robin's insensitivity. Robin later apologises, explaining that she's merely insecure and something of a Cloudcuckoolander, and the two become friends, and later lovers. (Just for completeness, the lesbian's name is eventually revealed to be Leslie Bean.)
- Also hilariously discussed in an earlier joke: the recently un-closeted Ethan gets dragged into shoe-shopping with Robin and Amber. He's not very good at giving advice, leading Amber to call him "the worst gay friend ever". (Just for Rule of Funny, he was also wearing a purple shirt with "Gay Friend" on it)
- Sticky Dilly Buns has the Camp Gay Dillon happy to be besties with any woman who comes within reach. He's quite sexually active, but otherwise he seems downright Genre Savvy about the trope:
- His friendship with Amber is played, ahem, fairly straight. He doesn't seem to give her much advice, but she'd doubtless listen if he did.
- Things get slightly more subversive with his relationship with Amber's uptight sister Ruby. He's determined to break through her shell, and gives her some good advice when they first start talking, especially with regard to dressing for her attempts to get a serious job. She acknowledges his help, and sounds as grateful as she ever manages for it. However, the next day, he decides to give her a makeover to help her find a boyfriend, despite her attempts to tell him that she doesn't want one, and throws a blubbering tantrum at the idea that they aren't going to work through every component of the trope.
- In Welcome To Room 305 the only reason Kyung Ah shows an interest in Yoon Sung and Jung Hyun is because of the rumours that they're a gay couple (which isn't true and Jung Hyun is Mistaken for Gay anyway), of course neither of the two know that she's like that. Rose points out that this is an extremely narrow viewpoint.
- Xandir from Drawn Together (although he and his sexuality were the focus of at least one story, so he's not quite always a supporting character).
- Inverted in South Park with Sparky, Stan's homosexual pet. But played straight with Mr Slave, a walking parody of virtually all the Queer as Tropes.
- Clarence, GameaVision's audio designer, from Code Monkeys. He always wears a sparkling jumpsuits, sings in place of speaking, and makes many and blatant references to homosexual sex. Also, has "gay magic" such as the ability to fly.
- Michael Collins from The Proud Family. This being Disney, he is not explicitly stated as being homosexual but it's hard to view him as anything else.
- Played literally in the Family Guy episode "Road to the Multiverse", where Chris wins a "genuine living homosexual" at a carnival. (The original trope name was Pet Homosexual.)
- On The Simpsons, Julio carries business cards that say "Sassy Gay Friend". With the opposite side reading "Scheming Gay Enemy".
- The Fag Hag phenomenon — i.e. straight women who collect gay male friends like accessories and rely on them for fashion and relationship advice, often referring to them as "my gays" in the manner of Kathy Griffin. While straight women befriending gay men isn't bad in and of itself, it becomes a bit patronizing when women expect all gay men they come across to fulfill the Pet Homosexual role.
- Truman Capote was this for a number of socialites before he wrote ''Answered Prayers''.
- Jonathan Groff is this to Lea Michele.