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Series / Queer as Folk (UK)

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From left to right: Nathan Maloney, Stuart Allen Jones and Vince Tyler

Queer As Folk was originally conceived by Russell T Davies as a comedy drama set in Manchester's gay village. It followed the lives of three gay men: swaggering, self-assured Stuart Allen Jones; his less-self-assured best friend Vince Tyler, who has an unrequited crush on him; and their new friend Nathan Maloney, a young man just finishing school and discovering the scene.

It was later remade for the US by Showtime, with the setting moved to Pittsburgh.

Provides examples of:

  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Nathan reacts rather emotionally after sleeping with and then getting rejected by Stuart. Understandable because he was 15 at the time.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: invoked by Stuart's blackmailing nephew, who threatens to tell Stuart's parents a few very nasty lies: "I'll tell them you touched me- you pervert!" Stuart of course counters this.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Played with. Stuart definitely fits this bill, but he's shown to have some deep-seated psychological insecurities. Vince also seems to fit this, but he's emulating Stuart and has the least amount of hookups (and one serious boyfriend). They also both settle down together. Stuart's views seem lean this way, though. He accuses Vince of being a straight guy who has sex with men because he wants a relationship instead of casual sex.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Romey has a son, Alfred, using Stuart's sperm
  • Alone with the Psycho: Dane and Alexander when they go to a stranger's house for a threesome. They have an Oh, Crap! moment when they discover he lives in a Room Full of Crazy and knows a lot about preparing corpses for burial:
    "He's Fred West." - Dane
  • Armoured Closet Gay:
    • Christian Hobbs. He's a jock who openly taunts Nathan but accepts a handjob from him.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Hazel thinks Alexander looks rather good in drag:
    Vince: You're more of a gay man than I am!
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Vince and Stuart get a few of these, most notably at the end of the first season and during the finale.
  • Bad Liar: Vince, usually by faking phonecalls and Bad "Bad Acting":
    Vince: Oh my god... when did that happen? Gotta go- so, what did they do? It's my neighbour, someone's broken in downstairs, she thinks it's kids- yeah, I'm coming now, I'll have to check the flat...
    Stuart: [picking up his phone, which Vince has used to call his own] Fuck off, Vin...
  • Blackmail: One of Stuart's nephews finds images on his computer outing him. Previous to this, the nephew didn't know Stuart was gay. On finding out, he demands 25... 50... 100 quid a week or he'll tell Stuart's parents, who don't know. Instead of capitulating, Stuart outs himself to his parents and accuses his nephew (who's 8, mind you) of being the most disgusting individual in the family.
  • Boomerang Bigot: The self-loathing Bernard Thomas, from his first meeting with Nathan on Canal Street, to his advice about coming out to one's parents:
    "They way they see it, it's not gay. It's not homosexual. It's cock. You like cock. [Beat] Fair dos, it is revolting."
  • Camp Gay: Dane, Dazz and Alexander, who are all overtly flamboyant.
    Vince: Saying Alex is a little bit camp is like saying Hitler was a little bit naughty.
  • Character Catchphrase: "OH MY GOD!"
    • Stuart's catchphrase is lampshaded by Vince: "As a friend of mine is fond of saying: FUCK OFF!"
  • Children Are Innocent: Subverted with Stuart's nephew, who tries to blackmail him.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Romey and Lance. Almost.
  • Coming-Out Story: The first half of the first series puts a lot of focus on Nathan's coming out.
  • Coolest Club Ever: Babylon, depending on who you ask. Bernie refers to it as "Scabylon".
  • Country Matters: Vince tries to reassure Nathan over Stuart not wanting a proper relationship with him: "Nathan, he's a cunt." Not to mention Nathan's comeback: "You're friends with a cunt."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Oblivious salesman making general homophobic comments? Drive a car through his window! ten year old nephew blackmailing you? Dunk his head in the toilet! Your friend's mother is a complete bitch to him right after his father dies? Blow up her car in front of her!
  • Double Standard: Were Stuart heterosexual and treated women like he treats men he'd be rightly seen as a sexist neanderthal pig. Also, the way the men often talk about women (especially lesbians) would be seen as rather misogynistic and bigoted were they straight.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Stuart likes to make pedestrians dive out of his way.
    • ...and of course Phil Delaney's fatal cocaine overdose
  • Drugs Are Bad: The worming tablets Stuart is sold that lead him to drawing the Shag Map:
    "It's the pens! I need to get rid of the pens!"
    • Phil tried it for the first time with a trick and dies as a result.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The odd voiceover segments featuring members of the main cast talking to the camera while seated in front of a neon screen, which were used to establish a few character traits and then promptly disappeared after the first episode.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Boy, does Vince earn his eventual ride into the sunset with Stuart. Poor guy had literally been waiting for that moment more than half of his life.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Stuart invites Nathan back to his place, leaving Vince to take care of his car. Possibly a Relationship Establishing moment- as Phil Delaney puts it:
    "So, he brings the car, gives you the keys so you can't drink, then he buggers off. Nice system."
  • Everybody Smokes
  • Fag Hag: Hazel, who regards her son's coming out as a turning point in her life, allowing her to get involved in the gay scene herself.
  • Fake Static: Vince pretends there is some on the line when telling Cameron: "It's breaking up...We're breaking up..."
  • Foreshadowing: At the hospital, Stuart threatens Alexander's mother with a Finger Gun. He gets to threaten someone with a real gun later on.
  • Gag Penis: Well it's about sex, so naturally the joke comes up from time to time.
    Stuart: "If that's what Big Bill calls 'big,' then I'm a co-loss-us."
  • Gayborhood: Canal Street
  • Gaydar: Nathan's mother claims to have honed hers through working as a teacher:
    "Sometimes there's a boy and it's just shining out of him".
  • Geeky Turn-On: Inverted. Vince makes the choice to end an unhealthy relationship when he learns that his partner can't name all of the actors who played the Doctor.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Averted. The resident lesbian couple never share more than a kiss on the cheek onscreen, while the gay male relationships are portrayed very frankly and graphically. Considering the creator, it's probably plain old Author Appeal.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: See above. Not just for the author and other gay men, but for many women too.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Stuart coming out to his parents.
  • It's All About Me: Nathan in the way he treats Donna. While exaggerating his problems with his actually very tolerant mother he completely fails to notice that Donna is going through some genuine family problems of her own. When he tries to tell Donna that she doesn't understand what it's like being in a sexual minority she has a great comeback:
    "I'm black. And I'm a girl. Try that for a week."
    • In a later episode he makes the arrogant assumption that a guy giving Donna some grief was actually staring at him, causing Donna to tell him "It's not all about you, you know".
    • ...and when he sees his mother out on Canal Street with Hazel, who reminds him: "This place isn't just for you, you know!"
      • Alexander, at Phil Delaney's funeral: "This could be me! I could be dead! Mind you, I think I'd draw more of a crowd..."
      • ...and at Vince's 30th birthday, when Cameron gets him a more impressive present: "I have never been so upstaged!"
  • Jerkass: Stuart, what with his constant sleeping around, blowing off and insulting his friends, and neglecting his son. He intentionally shags men that Vince fancies, just to prove he can, as well as making a pass at Vince's boyfriend. He hosts Vince's 30th birthday party, then invites a work colleague who has a massive crush on him so she can discover that he is gay in the most humiliating manner possible.
  • Land Down Under: Alexander on meeting Vince's boyfriend Cameron, and seizing an opportunity to make many Double Entendres: "Australian? Very nice! Down Under, mammals with pouches... loads of material!"
  • Manipulative Bastard: Stuart in the way he convinces Nathan to send Romy and Lisa's love letters to the Home Office, exposing Romy and Lance's wedding as a Citizenship Marriage.
  • Monochrome Casting: Borderline case. Most of the cast are White, except for Donna and a Japanese boyfriend.
  • Most Important Person: Vince and Stuart, so much. So much that the notoriously promiscuous (and insensitive Jerkass) Stuart eventually goes on record explaining to Vince's mum why he's never slept with Vince: because the love between them is so intense and unique that a sexual relationship would seem almost trivial by comparison.
    Stuart: You've gotta fancy 'em. Never mind love. Love can fuck off. If you fancy him, there's blood, there's a hard-on. If you just love him...
  • Pet Homosexual: Lampshaded by Hazel:
    Nathan's Mother: "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."
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Vince with his Doctor Who obsession, which possibly makes him an Author Avatar for Russell T Davies.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title is derived from a Northern British phrase "there's nowt so queer as folk", meaning roughly "there's nothing stranger than people," additionally playing on its phonetic similarity to "queer as fuck" (which Russell T Davies confirmed was the show's working title).
  • Race for Your Love: The final ten minutes of the series, in what probably cements Vince and Stuart as the official romance of the show. Their tempestuous relationship had finally convinced Stuart to split for London, and Vince being too delusional or too stubborn to make an effort to stop what would have undoubtedly spelled the end of their time together, the situation leads to Stuart actually packing up and on being the verge of leaving town. However, Vince's mom pulls all the stops in an effort to get Vince to Stuart before he leaves, and they end up reuniting and reconciling moments before Stuart drives off (and leaving town together, apparently for good.)
  • Romance and Sexuality Separation: Vince wonders if Cameron is now his boyfriend. Alex asks him if he thinks about him when he masturbates, Vince says no, and Alex says that means he is.
  • Sex at Work: Stuart flirts with a co-worker and receives oral sex from him in one of the staff toilet cubicles.
  • Shipper on Deck: Hazel for Stuart and Vince, so much.
  • Slow-Loading Internet Image: Stuart clicks on the online profile of a guy on a gay dating site. All we see is half of the guy's body (you can guess which half) and the picture hasn't even fully loaded before Stuart is out of the room, off to find the guy...
  • Stalker with a Crush: Nathan for the first few episodes. He dogs Stuart all over town, and even uses Stuart's taxi tab to do it. According to Vince, this isn't the first time Stuart's had this effect on a guy.
  • Straight Gay: Most of the main cast (except Alexander).
  • Transparent Closet: Nathan's mum claims to have realised her son was gay when he was just ten.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Invoked by Vince after he dumps Cameron (and spies an excuse to quote Doctor Who): "Unrequited love. It's fantastic, 'cause it never has to change, it never has to grow up and it never has to die!"
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Vince. Eventually. After a great deal of heartache, he finally rides off into the sunset with Stuart.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: The UST between Vince and Stuart fuels the entire series. Vince has been hopelessly in love with Stuart for years, and Stuart, while sleeping with a different guy every night of the week, never gets around to Vince. Apparently, they had an (interrupted) tryst as boys, and at one point in the show they actually check into a hotel room with the intention of resolving everything... but somehow, it just doesn't happen and they simply end up sharing the bed. As of the finale, after much emotional-rollercoastering the two of them have left everything else behind in favor of spending the rest of their lives together, but it is still uncertain whether their relationship will ever move beyond that of incredibly devoted friends.
    • It's worth noting that in any other series, their romantic relationship would probably count as canon (they kiss multiple times, hold hands, seriously consider sleeping together, and are obviously in love in their own ways), but compared to the many explicit sexual relationships between men in Queer as Folk, Stuart and Vince still fall into the UST category.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Alexander/Alice Band.