And thank god that’s the case, because otherwise it would have been pretty hard to make it through. But what were those bright spots of 2016? That’s the question I put to a group of gay podcasters on a recent episode of The Sewers of Paris. Normally I interview gay men about the entertainment that changed their life, but this week’s episode was a special roundup of the best of 2016. Here are some highlights:
Dan Savage loved Moonlight.
Dan told me he tends to think of homosexuality as an advantage conferred on people—like a little superpower that helps you rise above unfortunate circumstances. Moonlight was a reminder that sometimes being gay can’t get you out of harsh surroundings, but that even when times are tough, life can still get better if you don’t give up. “I was forced to confront my own privilege and bias and expectations,” Savage says of the film.
Cody Melcher watched a lot of Reba.
Wait, Reba didn’t come out this year! Well, no, but it sure made this year easier to stand for Melcher, host of Tomefoolery. Watching Reba was his form of self-care when 2016 got under his skin.
Kevin Allison became obsessed with Game of Thrones.
Kevin’s the host of RISK!, a storytelling podcast, and he picked this year to charge through all six seasons of Game of Thrones. He found it to be a love letter to atmosphere, from dark dungeons to lush gardens, but he was startled to find that he found the show’s concept of revenge intoxicating. It was a side of himself he wasn’t expecting to see.
Dave White and Alonso Duralde loved Cemetery of Splendor and Take Me to the River.
Both are semi-obscure, and both are pretty difficult to watch. Duralde noted that White can watch movies with decapitations and laugh, but the awkward family reunion of Take Me to the River had him squirming for an hour and a half. The duo hosts the Linoleum Knife podcast.
Bil Antoniou loved Isabelle Huppert in Elle.
One of the hosts of Bad Gay Movies/Bitchy Gay Men, Antoniou is obsessed with Huppert, loving her in all of her projects this year. He even got to meet her after a play—on, it just so happened, the same night as the Chelsea bomb scare. That night he saw the city shaken but soldiering on.
Daniel Krolik binged Difficult People.
Another BGM host, Krolik delighted in Billy Eichner’s realistic portrayal of gay sex lives on the Hulu series. Gay relationships can sometimes be sanitized for straight audiences, but this show didn’t shy away from the harsh/hilarious/painful realities of being gay. “I think it’s the most truthful depiction of what it is for a gay man to be single,” Krolik says.
Ryan O’Connor enjoyed Hello, My Name is Doris.
O’Connor is a co-host of LadyWatch, a podcast about women in entertainment over the age of Celine Dion. So naturally he loved some of the great dramatic work by actresses this year, especially Sally Field in Hello, My Name is Doris. It’s an upbeat self-discovery movie, and a reminder that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself or your surroundings. That’s good news for 2017.