So, Michel is now gay. Hallelujah.
Is it that ten years after the show went off the air it became acceptable to have a gay character? Are we as watchers supposed to assume his bisexuality throughout the series, despite a lack of evidence that he was ever attracted to men? It is certainly possible that we can look at Michel’s character as emblematic of the many queer people that came out later in life, but as a queer woman myself, it leaves me aching a bit for the always openly gay character.
Regardless, we have a gay character on Gilmore Girls, and for that it is assumed that we should be grateful. However, Michel’s portrayal in the revival leaves something to be desired and only partially because his partner, Frederic, is only referenced in conversation and never seen on the screen. In finally portraying an openly gay character, Gilmore Girls once again embraces a stereotype, albeit a newer one: the couple who, once indifferent to parenthood, changes their minds immediately following marriage.
According to Michel, “before we got married, Frederic was more indifferent to children than I am […] Twenty minutes after I do he lost his mind. Now all he talks about is, ‘Guess who’s pregnant?’ or ‘What school district is it in? You have to live in a good school district.’”
Is this added for the humor of Michel rearing children? Possibly, but I find it entirely unnecessary. For one, many gay couple chose to never have children. However, one finds that in television portrayals, they almost always chose to procreate. Perhaps gay men are less “dangerous” when they assume the role of father and husband, fulfilling heteronormative ideas of relationships. And of course, that leaves out the problematic reversal assumed of child-free people, gay and straight: they will eventually change their minds and come to understand that being a parent is the best thing they will ever do!
The only example of a prominent child-free couple in Gilmore Girls is Babette and Morey, and their child-free status is turned into a running joke about their relationships with their cats and gnomes. Even Paris and Doyle have children in the revival, and who would have seen that one coming! (Don’t even get me started on Rory’s big reveal at the end). I suppose I digress a bit, but still…
Why can’t Michel and his partner Frederic (who, to borrow a line from Rory herself, may be Michel’s Snuffleupagus), challenge the heteronormative relationship structure that has been placed on even queer couples in television? Can’t we have a strong couple that chooses to remain child-free? Or am I asking too much of even a ground-breaking show like Gilmore Girls? Perhaps I am: just look at the conversations regarding a Taylor’s sexuality…