Aug 8, 2015

One Day at a Time

Why would gay teenage boys like One Day at a Time (1975-1984), the sitcom about Indianapolis divorcee Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin) and her two teenage daughters?  Sure, it was hip and "with it," one of the stable of realistic comedy-dramas that Norman Lear trotted out -- All in the Family, The Boomerersons, Sanford and Son, Alice, Maude -- for audiences sick of 1960s fantasy and hillbilly fare.

But there were no gay characters.  No "mistaken for gay" episodes.  No episodes where regulars discover that their brother/college buddy/coworker/coach is gay -- even Alice had one of those.  For all its hipness, nothing but weeks and months and years of dreary heteronormativity.

So what was the attraction?

1. The endless parade of boyfriends.  Practically every hunk in Hollywood over age 30 played one of Ms. Romano's beaus, and practically every Tiger Beat fave rave guest starred as Barbara or Julie's dates.  Two long-running teen dreams were Chuck (William Kirby Cullen) for Julie:





And Cliff (Scott Colomby) for Barbara (standing next to competition John Putch).  Colomby later played the slim, androgynous Tony in Caddyshack.













Eventually Julie married the hunky Max Horvath (Michael Lembeck, center), and Barbara married stick-in-the-mud Mark Royer (Boyd Gaines, left)











2. In 1980, after Ann's boyfriend dies, she adopts his 14-year old son, Alex Handris (Glenn Scarpelli).  Usually end-of-series cast additions are a disaster, but Alex brought wit, style, and humor to the doddering series.

And a decided lack of interest in girls, in spite of the "I'm so into girls!" lines that the scripts made him say.




















Glenn Scarpelli came out a few years after the show ended.  Today he runs a public tv station in Sedona, Arizona with partner Jude Belanger. He also seems to have joined a gym:



7 comments:

  1. I actually liked when Glenn Scarpelli joined the cast too (Julie, the only interesting thing about the show, was thrown off; Barbara was grown up; Bonnie Franklin was a complete bore; Schneider gave me the creeps). I wasn't attracted to Glenn at all, but there was just something about his vibe that I liked. It wasn't until I got a computer that I discovered he was gay and realized I was probably, on some subconscious level, recognizing he was gay and identifying with him.

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  2. Wow...William Kirby Cullen was just amazing on "One Day At A Time" as Chuck, Julie's bf. Too bad he was only on one episode because he was the hottest guy on that show, ever. A close second is tall, hunky, husky suit and tie man David Kane (Richard Masur). A shame they let him go after the first season. He was the only reason I watched ODAAT in the first place.

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  3. William Kirby Cullen was actually in 5 episodes, if you count the "runaway with Julie" 4-parter as 4 different episodes. Unfortunately, he wasn't in much else, and nothing listed on imdb since 1985.

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  4. Wow...where was I?? lol--I only remembered him from that one episode "All The Way". My gosh was he hot...I couldn't get my eyes off of him!!

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  5. I loved William Kirby Cullen he never married I wonder if he is Gay?

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  6. All of the above. I even thought John Putch was cute, even though his character was kind of nerdy. [The teenage Pat Boone]

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  7. Michael Lemberck was a hottie as Max. Boyd Gaines was cute especially when he wore his leather jacket but Max had nice stage presence.

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