Feb 28, 2013
Lost: Charlie's Three Boyfriends
Early on, fans speculated that young surgeon Jack (Matthew Fox), the unofficial leader of the castaways, would be gay, but I knew that leaders on tv are never gay. To be gay is to be an eternal sidekick.
The Lord of the Rings), a has-been rock star and recovering heroin addict. During flashbacks to their lives before the plane crash, each of the fourteen main characters revealed a heterosexual romance, with a single exception: Charlie’s flashbacks were always about his brother.
Nor did Charlie exhibit the slightest romantic interest in the female castaways – he bonded with the pregnant Claire (Emilie de Ravin), but they never kissed or cuddled. Instead, he seemed thoroughly smitten with Locke (Terry O’Quinn), a bald, wiry wilderness expert who would not look out of place in a leather bar on Folsom Street.
I waited patiently for someone to mention Charlie’s gayness through all of the twenty-two episodes of the first season. Nothing.
In November 2005, a newly introduced castaway, haunted cop Anna Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez), asks amiable con artist Sawyer (Josh Holloway) the standard heterosexual ice-breaker, “Are you married?” He is not. She then asks, “Are you gay?” He responds, “Very funny!”
It struck me as a legitimate question, to be answered “Yes” or “No.” Why, I wondered, did Sawyer think she was joking? Why did he find it ridiculous? Because in the world of Lost, gay people are mythical creatures, denizens of fairy tales. Sawyer, gay? Anna Lucia might as well have asked, “Are you a hobbit?”
And sure enough, Charlie instantly dumped Locke to chase Eko around the island. The two were even shown sharing the same sleeping-mat. One often sees same-sex desire or romance on television, but same-sex practices, never! Charlie and Eko were living together, sleeping together, probably having sex – what more evidence was necessary? It wasn’t even a subtext – they were a gay couple.
Then came the season finale, on May 24, 2006. Eko abandons Charlie to pursue an odd spirit-quest on the other side of the island. After whining “You’re breaking up with me?” and being despondent for awhile, Charlie returns to buddy Claire – except now they share a brief, chaste kiss.
I could hear Carlton Cuse chuckling, “Fooled you! Charlie is straight after all! Gay people and hobbits do not exist!”
Eventually one of the hundred or so named characters on the island is“outed”: Tom Friendly (M. C. Gainey). But, like Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books, there are layers of erasure:
Tom is one of the evil Others
He's outed long after his death, and without Saying the Word.
Lost tells us that the real people, the people we deal with in everyday life, are always straight or pretending to be.
See also: Twin Peaks