Nov 8, 2017

The 10 Most Gay-Positive Nickelodeon Shows

Guys my age and older are always talking about a golden age, back when things were nicer, kinder, simpler, more innocent, interesting, authentic, creative, humane.  They usually mean their childhoods, when selective memory erased the bad things, and nostalgia gave the good things a golden shimmer.  But I mean just a few years ago, when Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, and the Cartoon Network were overbrimming with gay-positive programs.

Nickelodeon first.

1. Zooey 101 (2005-2008).  Future pop diva Brittney Spears is a student at a private boarding school, with a coterie of friends and friendly enemies.  The "clues" about gay people come fast and furious.  A computer dating service pairs two boys.  The male characters get faux crushes on other boys. Everyone, regardless of gender, has a crush on Austin Butler.

2. True Jackson, VP (2008-2011).  High school girl (left) becomes vice president of a fashion company (sounds like a Disney Channel plotline).  The receptionist is a gay-coded swishy stereotype.  He'd be retro, except that everybody knows he's gay.  Including the kids.  On a kids' show!

3. Supah Ninjas (2011-2013).  Mega gay-positive Ryan Potter and his friend become supah-ninjas.  They are scripted as absurdly girl-crazy, but they have enough gay-subtext chemistry to rival Drake and Josh.

4. Max and Shred (2014-2015).  Snowboarding champion (left) and teen nerd (right) share a bedroom.

5. Kenan and Kel (1996-2000).  Ambiguously gay duo gets into scrapes.  Kenan likes girls sometimes, but Kel likes only Kenan.

6. The Thundermans (2013-2016).  A family of superheroes, with Jack Griffo (right, with friend) as a supervillain in training, as gay-coded as you can get without wearing a sign.

7. Sam and Kat (2013-2014).  After breaking up with girlfriend Carly (ICarly), Sam Puckett rides her motorcycle to L.A., where she runs into Kat of Victorious.  The two move in together and start a babysitting service, although presumably they're still in high school.  The show couldn't be more clear in presenting them as a lesbian couple.

ICarly (2008-2012) had a lot of gay references also, but it doesn't get on the list because they were mostly homophobic.

8. Salute Your Shorts (1991-1992).  Mismatched kids in an ineptly-run summer camp. One was gay in real life, and played his character as gay as possible, given the homophobia at Nickeodeon in the 1990s.

9. Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide (2004-2007).  Golden boy Ned and his two friends, one feminine, one a girl, offer tips on how to survive junior high.  There is same-sex dating, a gay-inclusive "life skills" class, male puberty without girl-craziness, and two bullies,

10. Drake and Josh (2004-2007).   By far the most gay-positive teencom Nickelodeon has ever broadcast.   Foster brothers who knew precisely what a gay subtext is, and play it to the hilt. Plus they have two friends, Craig and Erik, who are a gay couple in all but the name.

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