I'm Pretty Sure Balki Was Supposed to be Gay
Is it, like, horrible of me to say that I think Balki on Perfect Strangers was supposed to be gay? I mean, did you buy the straight part? Larry Appleton, okay. He was a straight guy who couldn't get women. That I could understand seeing as he was a total tool. But Balki straight? Balki "Dance of Joy" Bartokomous straight? Please. Head down to Pacific Street and they're doing that dance right now as I type this.
Why wasn't he allowed to come out? Why couldn't he have been the gay weird cousin as opposed to just the weird cousin? Were the 80s that repressed? That limiting? I suppose the answer is yes. I mean, the only gay character on television back then was Billy Crystal's character on Soap, and that was really more 70s than 80s. And we all know the 70s were much more open-minded than the decade of Reagan.
I'm pretty sure if given the chance Jo from Facts of Life would have come out of the closet. Definitely. I mean, she was the first celebrity crush of every lesbian I've ever met (with some of the older ladies groovin' Kristy McNichol style). Jo was hot and she was gay, and we all know it.
Dexter Stuffins on Silver Spoons. Remember? Edward's snooty accountant? You just know Dexter was so over Edward's ticky tacky extended adolescence décor including that ridiculous train that went through the living room. Remember the episode when Dexter kissed Whitney Houston? As painful to witness as a root canal. Why? Because Dexter Stuffins was obviously gay gay gay gay gay.
Mr. Furley? Gay. Sandy Duncan's spinster aunt Sandy Hogan in The Hogan Family? Gay. Monroe from Too Close for Comfort? OMG GAY! (Remember the episode where the two daughters are trying to hook him up with a woman so he can lose his virginity? Puh-lease. Even at 10 years old I saw the problems with that plot.)
Kit from Knight Rider? Totally gay also. The son on Small Wonder? Gonna be gay. Laverne DeFazio? Gay and hot for Shirley most likely.
The thing is, there was definitely a dearth of gay characters on television when I was growing up, and that's a real shame. I truly think 80s TV would have been so much more fun if characters had been allowed to just be themselves. And also, the apartment in Too Close for Comfort would have been much better decorated, ya know?