Even before sneaking in episodes of Queer as Folk (the British version) late at night after everyone had gone to bed, before Will & Grace, before Ellen, BEFORE the Internet, I found my first gay icon. Where does a suburban kid growing up and grappling with “OMG am I gay?” go for his gay fix? Melrose Place! To be fair, David Chokachi on Baywatch was my first real crush, but he wasn’t gay. That doesn’t count.
Before Desperate Housewives, Doug Savant was “Matt Fielding” – the gay social worker who had lots of boyfriends, but never got it on. Not that we saw anyways. It didn’t matter. The mere thought of Matt and his hot manly sailor Jeffrey sneaking glances at each other, or hugging each other, was enough for a little 13 year old like me.
Matt had the swooping 90s bangs and always dated up. And best of all, he and his gay self stood up to Marcia Cross’ Kimberly like no one else could. Case in point… I present… the wig. Amazing.
Poor Matt. Like all Melrose Placers, life was hard. He didn’t get any action in Season 1. Lame. He was always getting fired or gay bashed and then fighting the justice system. Sketchy. He did marry a Russian immigrant once so she and her daughter could stay in America. That was nice. Then he started dating Jeffrey the sailor in Season 2. Hot. Matt convinced Jeffery to come out and then he got dismissed from the Navy and left him. Shoot. In Season 3, Jeffrey came back… with HIV. Sad. They got back together and broke up. Argh. Then Matt started dating the new plastic surgeon Paul, who had a wife. Of course. Paul then murdered his wife and set Matt up to take the fall. That’s love. In Season 4, Paul confesses and lets Matt off the hook. Phew. Matt then becomes a drug addict. Obviously. In Season 5, Matt gets his act together and gets custody of his niece. Awww. In Season 6, Matt leaves for San Francisco to work in an AIDS clinic. Good for him. In Season 7, he died in a car accident. Shoot. But! He left behind a journal with everybody’s dirty little secrets. That’s how the gays roll!
Maybe I should have stuck with David Chokachi… more on that later. ;)