March 22, 2005
A not-so-gay soiree to say sayonara: The Queer as Folks don't party like their TV selves
by Shinan Govani
After five seasons, 80-something episodes and more man-on-man action than you see on Super Bowl weekend, the gay-mazing cable show Queer as Folk wrapped forever over the weekend. Predictably, there was a party. Even more predictably, I was at the party.
"Never before will Toronto be mistaken for Pittsburgh again!" a nonplussed fan noted the day after, when I told him about the cast and crew bash I had attended the night before at Ultra Supper Club on Queen Street. He was referring to the city that we'd been standing in for all these years.
"I felt like a bit like I'd crashed a family funeral," I went on to tell him. "Everybody was hugging each other, and saying goodbye, and it was kind of emotional."
"Get over it! It's not M*A*S*H!" my phone-friend yelped. I couldn't help but chuckle merrily. Although, later, I did think that, love it or hate, this ground-breaking, show-it-all series, tracking the loves and battlegrounds of gay people, was indeed a kind of M*A*S*H for homos.
So, the party: Given that the show did clubbing scenes the way ER does bypass surgeries, it seemed a little lame at the beginning. Maybe people were tired, after working until 3 a.m. the night before. Or could it be that in real life, they were all just 12-hour party people? Things got groovier, still, though when more beverages were downed, and the Blondie and Beyonce came on. That's when we saw original cast member Hal Sparks doing a kind of Octopus move! With a girl! That's also when we saw fellow castie Michelle Clunie leading a kind of pseudo-sexy can-can line.
Clunie told me later that she was keeping her apartment in Toronto because she has a "love affair" with the city. Sharon Gless, too, seemed all weepy and huggy, and even appeared to be suffering from corneritis, a disease that celebrities sometimes suffer from at parties, which causes them to stand in the same corner the whole night. At one point, I noticed the honey mama apologizing to a crew member, Kim -- who she often got confused with another staffer, Kimberly. "I'm so sorry!" Gless was heard saying. Randy Harrison, who looks four, was seen talking intimately with his character's ex-beau, played by Fabrizzio Filippo, who looks five. Over in the other room, near the loo, another lead actor, Peter Paige, was being very gropey with a guy. Gale Harold, the show's resident jerk/hero, looked positively cozy too with his girlfriend, a diva-ish black chick. "Are you selling papers?" I asked him when we crossed paths, referring to the cute poor-boy cap he had on. "Yeah, you want one?" he snapped back.
Sometime after the place had played that new J.Lo hit the second time around, but before they played the inevitable I'm Coming Out song, but after we'd seen play-gay-wright Brad Fraser green-giant his way through the dance floor, someone told me about what happens on the final episode of the stud opera. I'd tell you, but since the fifth and last season has yet to air, that would just be cruel.
I did hear, though, that all the crew on the show got mini-iPods as end-of-series gifts. And that Cyndi Lauper has something to do with how it all ends.