Aug 15, 2012

Justin Berfield's Very Special Episode


I hate it when you watch a tv program for countless episodes under the impression that a character is gay, only to find out that he was straight all along -- or, more likely, the producers noticed the gay subtext and retconned the character to "correct" him.

On Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006), about a dysfunctional family, dimwitted hunk Reese (Justin Berfield) never expressed any interest in girls for five seasons, even though nearly every male teenager in mass media, including his brother Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), is scripted as indefatigably girl-crazy. 

 He was also over-emotional and interested in cooking, two gender-transgressive traits that could easily mark him as gay.  

To make matters worse, the scripts kept dropping unmistakable hints.  
Reese says “Sorry, I’m gay” to dissuade an amorous girl.

He “courts” an attractive male classmate.










He sells "his services” to neighborhood men and then blackmails them in an amazingly blatant parody of male prostitution (he even lounges at poolside in a swimsuit like a kept boy). 








Fans began to speculate that a special “coming out” episode was planned. Then, in the Season 5 finale in May 2004, Reese is distraught over a breakup with a never-before mentioned girlfriend. “You are mistaken!” the producers seemed to squeal. “Reese was straight all along!  There are no gay teenagers!”

Justin Berfield is the subject of gay rumors in real life, too, but he adamantly refuses to make any public statements.