Jan 26, 2016

The Unrequited Loves of Michael Welch

If you're fifteen years old, you're familiar with Michael Welch from the Twilight saga about a girl torn between vampire and werewolf boyfriends (Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner).  He plays a human who has an unrequited crush on her.

Michael has sharp features and striking eyes that make him look angelic, demonic, or alien, so he is often cast as a  gay-vague outsider, even if he sometimes experiences unrequited heterosexual passions.

He began his acting career at the age of 10 in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)  as Artim, a boy from a non-technological planet who bonds with the android Data.  His touching performance won him a Young Artist Award.

Next came a series of paranormal and science fiction roles, including a clone of Colonel Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) who just wants to be a normal teenager on Stargate SG-1.  

Michael also guest-starred in a number of sitcoms and dramatic series, including a memorable role as a new neighbor who falls for the brainy Malcolm in Malcolm in the Middle.

On Joan of Arcadia (2003-2005), he played Luke Girardi, younger brother of the girl who talks to God, who has a homoromantic buddy-bond with his best friend Friedman (Aaron Himmelstein), although he dates girls also.

He was also in many movies.  In The United States of Leland (2003), his mentally-challenged Ryan is murdered by classmate Leland (Ryan Gosling), who is dating his sister.

The Grind (2009) is about a grifter, Luke (C. Thomas Howell), who depends on his friends Josh and Courtney (Michael, Tanya Allen) to get him out of a jam. They start a sleazy website, but things go sour, and Luke has to rescue them from the Mexican mafia.

In Lost Dream (2009), college student Perry (Michael) falls for nihilistic free-spirit Giovanni (Shaun Sipos), who is involved in risky sex, drugs, and games of Russian roulette.  He must save Gio before it's too late.

Michael's many unrequited, doomed, and hopeless same-sex loves seem to be throwbacks to the 1960s and 1970s, where the gay guy was always depressed and usually doomed.  But, to be fair, his characters often have unrequited, doomed, and hopeless heterosexual loves, too.

Heterosexual in real life, he is a gay ally who publicly voices his support of gay marriage.

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