Sparks: ) changed American culture and opened the gates to a flood of gays on television.There was virtually nothing gay on American television before QAF, and even with the on-slot of “gay” shows, the characters on those shows take more cliché roles, or are presented as the token gays, only present to lure a gay audience seeking representation in the media.And it’s not even by choice on the part of the people that live there, it’s just habit. The writers themselves [were] just writing characters that they knew personally, representative characters.Instead of going, ‘Let’s be all things to all people,’ which is entirely impossible, they kinda went ‘I knew this kinda person growing up, I’m gonna write that.’ We never really had somebody on that was transgender. The exec producers and Showtime had always intended for it to have a limited run.It’s like, ‘I’m being nice, I’m being myself.’O&A: You started in the business back in 1986-87 around the age of 17. I won the “Funniest Teenager in Chicago Contest” when I was seventeen and that just opened up a lot of doors. Sparks: Let’s never underestimate the power of poverty and lack of education for creating a sense of humor.I didn’t have a TV until I moved to Chicago, so I grew up listening to comedy records.But one of the reasons why I think it’s healthy to constantly remind people is because the vast majority of straight people think gay is contagious.They think it’s either a bad choice, an immoral choice, or they think it’s something you catch, and that’s where their biggest fear comes from.
O&A: As a straight guy, are you tired of being related to gay culture?O&A: The show originally aired from late 2000 to 2005, a short five years while most others culturally significant series run for eight or nine years. The show it was bought from, the British show, only had 10 episodes all together.From Ron and Dan’s point of view, it couldn’t go on forever and show character growth. If they were to grow into being men, it had to stop at some point.Homophobia is largely rooted in the fear that you may become it yourself, or that it will take you over without your consent.I’ve been closer to it than probably any straight guy in the history of entertainment and in the end if I’m still myself; I’m still straight; I’m still me; then maybe that takes a bit of the fear away for those people.