Dec 12, 2015

Drake and Josh and Craig and Eric

Drake and Josh (2004-2007) was a Nickelodeon teencom about two high school stepbrothers.

The scheming underachiever, Drake (Drake Bell).

And the shy intellectual, Josh (Josh Peck).  He only started getting buff in the last season.

Like The Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite of Life of Zack and Cody, the program was not shy about subtexts.  While both dated girls, Drake and Josh shared a physicality, an emotional connection, and an exclusivity that would elsewhere mark them definitively as romantic partners.

And there was an even more overt gay couple.

Network censorship forbade the nerds Craig and Eric (Alec Medlock, Scott Halberstadt) from being explicitly identified as a gay couple -- not on a program aimed at a teenage audience -- but they were as open as they could be without actually Wearing a Sign.

They danced together at a wedding.
They went on a double date with a heterosexual couple.
They bemoaned the loss of their pictures taken at Niagara Falls (a stereotypic honeymoon destination).
They broke up, realized how much they care for each other, and reconciled (while Drake sang “Beautiful Dreamer").
 In the series finale, the tv-movie Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh (2008), they were shown holding hands.

In a 2007 episode, Drake comes very close to saying the word "gay."   In a feeble, half-hearted attempt to Be Discreet, Eric tells Drake, “Girls are nothing but trouble.  That’s why we don’t have girlfriends.”

Drake stares at him for a long moment, a curious self-satisfied grin on his face.  He is obviously dying to Say  the Word.  The studio audience goes crazy with excitement.  Will they finally hear it spoken aloud?

It looks for all the world like the actor is trying to decide whether he should stick to the script or say something like "You don't have girlfriends because you're gay," and risk a reshoot.

But, in the end, he sticks to the script:  “There are a lot of reasons why you two don’t have girlfriends,” leaving the viewer the option of pretending not to know what those reasons are.

Juvenile tv programs are often loaded down with hints and innuendos -- Even Stevens, Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and The Wizards of Waverly Place come to mind.

But we're still waiting for a program aimed at teenagers or children to break the silence.


  1. They were obviously a couple. Nickelodeon didn't even try to hide it.

  2. I heard that Drake Bell is gay in real life.

  3. Craig and Eric appeared on an episode of ICarly, at a convention for ICarly fans. They didn't look any older.

  4. There's a nude pic of Drake Bell online. I too have heard he's gay in real life and had a relationship with one of the writers on the show.

  5. "But we're still waiting for a program aimed at teenagers or children to break the silence."

    Do you not consider "Glee" to be aimed at teenagers? I do.

  6. No. If you count programs about teenagers, then the silence was broken on "Room 222" back in 1971, and there are lots of gay characters. But if you count programs aimed at a juvenile audience, such as those airing on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, there are no open statement about gay identity on American tv. "Victorious" came close, when a girl stated that she was going to visit her "uncle and uncle" in San Francisco.

  7. I think that Nickelodeon did a TV special (as part of a teen news series) about a girl and her two dads. This would have been around 2002. But, yeah the American sitcoms aimed at middle and high school kids, still get nervous about negative response from advertisers, parents, etc.

  8. It's years later after you posted this. I wonder what you think of what they've done with Cyrus of "Andi Mack."

    1. I don't have the Disney Channel anymore, so I'm not familiar with that program


No comments that use abusive or vulgar language or point out that a character is Not Wearing a Sign.


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