Mar 1, 2024

John Stamos

Gay boys all but ignored 20-year old John Stamos when he was playing streetwise Blackie on General Hospital (1983-84).  Not many watched soap operas, and his pleasantly slender physique seemed bit too androgynous as Nautilus-toned man-mountains came into style. Besides, he had a girlfriend.

Some started to notice when John starred as aspiring rock star Gino Minnelli on Dreams (1984-85), which aired after Charles in Charge on Wednesday nights.  It offered lots of shirtless shots -- by this time John had joined a gym -- plus buddy-bonding episodes like "Friends" and "Boys are the Best."  But it only lasted for 12 episodes.

After 25 episodes of You Again? (1986-87), playing Jack Klugman's estranged teenage son -- which was switched around so often that no one saw it -- John finally found a place in gay teenagers' hearts in Full House (1987-95) on the TGIF ("Thank God it's Friday) block of kid-friendly Friday-night shows. 

He played Uncle Jesse, who moved in with his brother-in-law Danny (Bob Saget) and another male friend, Dave (Joey Gladstone), to help raise Danny's three daughters after his wife died.  

Alternative families are a standby on tv, but aside from the basic non-heteronormative family structure -- and John's smile -- there was little for gay teenagers to like.

He rarely took off a shirt -- when he did, the moments were mostly cute rather than hot. Only one episode showed him in a swimsuit.

 Nor did the friendships result in much buddy-bonding.  The guys all got girlfriends, and the daughters got boyfriends, and gay people were not mentioned, ever, even though the show was set in gay mecca San Francisco.  

In an Advocate interview, John states that he wasn't really aware that he had gay fan at the time -- "people weren't as out back then."  But he's made up for it since, as one of the most gay-friendly actors in Hollywood, even when depicted in TV Guide.  He played a gay wedding planner in the tv-movie Wedding Wars (2006).  He engaged in a same-sex kiss for charity at the GLAAD Awards.  

When The Office refused to air a joke in which a character pretends to be gay by imagining that he was "in a steam room with John Stamos," the blogosphere assumed that the screen hunk had objected -- but he quickly proclaimed that he had nothing to do with it, he loved the joke, and he would be more than happy to film any attendant fantasy sequence.

1 comment:

  1. What I find interesting is that enough guys would still object that people imagine John Stamos would. (I mean, I grew up in the era of gay panic. I may have had a circle jerk going in high school, but we didn't let just anyone join BECAUSE of what the white boys were doing over in Nebraska.) But people still think Kiefer Sutherland is as right-wing as the people who insist his character's interrogation techniques actually work. (Spoiler: He isn't.) Or that country music is all right-wing. (Willie Nelson worked on the McGovern campaign. Martina McBride does a lot of work with domestic violence, and, yeah, has one of the most well-known feminist murder ballads. Johnny Cash advocated prison reform and criticized US imperialism.) Moral: The only true stereotype is that people who think in stereotype are morons.

    Yeah, Full House always struck me as just the classic extended family. And they should've had two boys to go with the three girls just for a poker pun.


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