Though the London Pride parade has been cancelled this year, Pride Month is as vibrant as ever, with people finding ways to celebrate queer culture even in lockdown. One way to appreciate and acknowledge the importance of LGBTQ+ voices from your home is to stream some of the decade’s definitive shows.
Ru Paul’s Drag Race
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an Amen?”
This reality show is more quotable than Oscar Wilde – and just as witty. It’s almost impossible not to chant along as Ru Paul, the reigning queen of the LGTBQ+ community, takes twelve contestants and puts them through a series of singing, dancing, acting, fashion and comedy challenges in order to determine who is drag’s next superstar, polishing up their proud personas in the process. The show is fierce, but under all the shade there is a deep sense of sisterhood and a reminder that families aren’t just built on blood.
If you love Ru Paul – or even if you’ve never watched a drag show in your life – this is a must-watch. Set in 80s New York, the show immortalises an important renaissance in queer culture, strutting into the balls that shaped the vibrant scene we see today – complete with voguing, “realness” and eleganza galore. The series also delves into the darker underbelly of this social sphere, exploring the impact of the AIDS epidemic as well as the personal cost of prejudice and discrimination, with a particular focus on the struggles of trans people to be accepted into the LGTBQ+ community itself.
This is more than a makeover; it’s a do-over. In this reality show the Fab Five – grooming guru Jonathan, culture-conscious Karamo, designer Bobbi, stylist Tan and food expert Antoni – work their magic in order to give strangers across the US (and Japan) a new chance at self-discovery. Individually, their target areas are small and specialised, but together their warm chemistry, open-minded attitude and fearless flamboyance transform both lifestyles and life mantras, encouraging people to love themselves and in turn those around them.
Schitt’s Creek is the small-scale Canadian sitcom that unexpectedly stormed the globe – for good reason. Following the tale of a wealthy family who lose all their assets save the deed to the titular backwater town, it’s a delightful fable of riches to rags. While the Roses begin as insufferably selfish, gradually these eccentric characters reveal their softer, more sensitive sides (without losing the snobbery that makes them so believable). At the heart of the series is David Rose’s gay romance in a town refreshingly free from homosexuality. It’s like the world we all want to live in, and it’s glorious.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tina Fey’s sitcom is quirky, colourful and confrontational. In true Fey fashion, the characters are wild and wacky, but their battles, however surreal, are all grounded in reality. Titus Andromedon is as savage and sassy as they come – stealing scenes left, right and centre – but his seemingly stereotypical role as the “gay best friend” is constantly subverted with sharp satire, and their relationship becomes the driving force of the show, outshining the romantic subplots.