I've been progressively re-watching my favorite show, Queer as Folk
, on DVD. I just put in a hold at the library for Season 3 and so I thought it was a good time to reflect on Season 2—otherwise I'd forget what all belonged to which season. My ruminations are also prompted by a conversation I had with the librarian when I picked up Season 2 at the library. After we gushed about the fact that we both just love the show, she told me that she thought that Season 1
and Season 3
were the best and that Season 2 couldn't quite stand up to the quality of the preceding and ensuing seasons.
With this in mind, I watched Season 2 with an eye toward where this season might have stumbled in comparison to Season 1. Though, I suppose I'll have to wait until Season 3 comes in to make a fair comparison on that front (worry not—you'll see it in blogs to come). As Season 2 opens, Justin is just recovering from the bashing he suffered in the season finale of the first season, and Michael has just returned from Portland, the cross-country move having been too much for his and David's relationship to bear. Perhaps if you're particularly interested in the Brian and Justin relationship, then this season might be a disappointment. It didn't really have many satisfying moments for the hopeless romantics (unless you count Justin's passionate affair with a violinist wherein he cheats on Brian)—but I've never been one to care about the success or failure of a TV relationship. I'm interested in how it's handled by the characters, not whether they find true love. Perhaps if you were looking for lots of hot sex, this season would be a disappointment. Now, there's always at least some hot sex in Queer as Folk, but perhaps not as much as in the first season where the show endeavored to introduce itself as racy and edgy. Perhaps the only truly regrettable thing about Season 2 is that is does not provide terribly much challenging character conflict for my favorite character, Brian Kinney
Ultimately, though, there are lots of things in my mind to recommend Season 2 and not terribly many to recommend against it. One of my favorite things about Season 2 is the plotline wherein one of my least favorite characters, Ted Schmidt, stops being such a sad sack and takes control of his life by putting his accounting talents to work in a new small business enterprise—he starts a porn website. A potentially seedy story that turns into a nerdy fun story by virtue of Ted's character—and even better, he's doing something positive in his life and not being a sad sack like in previous and later seasons. This season is also where Michael meets Ben, the CMU gay studies professor, who is so handsome that even Brian slept with him once many years ago. But by the time in his life when he meets Michael, he has contracted HIV. Michael's conflict over whether to continue dating Ben despite the dangers is compounded by his mother's instinctual and surprisingly un-PC reaction. Perhaps the more sparkling highlight of this season is the character development of Emmett. I didn't find his character especially endearing throughout most of Season 1—though there were some hints of what was to come—but the progression of this character throughout Season 2 takes him on a challenging character-arc and really brings out the simultaneously sweet and tenacious core than continues to define his character for seasons to come.
All in all, there's a lot to recommend Season 2. Despite fewer challenging plotlines for Brian, this season provides plenty of opportunity for the other characters to shine.