It comes as not-so-shocking news that Queer
as Folk's fifth season, debuting on Showtime in May, will be
its last. (That sound you hear is the red states rejoicing.)
However, executive producers Daniel Lipman and Ron Cowen say
they've already written a can't-miss finale for the groundbreaking
gay drama's die-hard fans. "We can't speak for everyone,"
Lipman says, "but we're happy with how we tie things up.
was designed to be a five-year show," he adds. "Everyone
feels we have successfully fulfilled what we set out to do,
based on our original intention. We have other projects in the
works, so hopefully we'll cause as much controversy as Queer
has, but there will never be another show on TV like Queer as
Folk — ever."
One much-anticipated story line is Rosie
O'Donnell's three-episode arc, details of which are being kept
hush-hush. "Rosie will blow you away," Lipman promises.
"When we found out she was a huge fan of the show, we crafted
her a fantastic story line involving Sharon Gless (Debbie)."
the cast looks forward to saying goodbye to their fictional
lives in Toronto, er... we mean Pittsburgh. TV Guide Online
spoke to the cast — minus the extremely press-shy Gale Harold
(Brian) — about the bittersweet news...
Peter Paige (Emmett):
"My emotions are mixed. After five years of investigating
one character, I am obviously excited about changing things
up creatively. That being said, this is a very melancholy time.
But I'm not sure I would make it another season in those leather
pants! I want to continue acting, but I've got the directing
bug bad. Ideally, I'd like to see myself in another series situation,
with a substantial role, [while] directing episodes and [dictating]
story. The next few months will be about getting my new movie,
Say Uncle, and myself out there. After that, my production company
has been developing a couple of TV series and another movie."
Lowell (Ted): "I will definitely be happy to say 'so long'
to Ted. While he's a character I have a great deal of affection
for, the psychological weight of playing him has taken its toll
over the past five years. I mean, there's only so much unhappiness,
torture and humiliation one man can go through!"
Gill (Lindsay): "We had an idea the series wouldn't [last
longer than] five seasons. I'm kind of distancing myself from
thinking of taping the final episode because, once the show
is over, I'll go through a severe depression. Only down the
road will [we see] how important and influential this show really
was to the social and creative landscape. It's changed a lot
of people's lives. Which is why part of me wants to look at
the Hollywood system as unfair. Why haven't we been nominated
for an Emmy Award? Part of me says it is homophobia. Of course,
the other half says it's fair and we just didn't make the cut.
But take our stronger episodes and compare them to The Sopranos
and Six Feet Under, and we're right up there in all those aspects,
especially the acting. Our show is one of the best on TV, so
it just baffles me [we never got recognition from our peers]."
Gant (Ben): "I have a production company with actor Chad
Allen (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), so this is an opportunity
to pursue other movie and TV roles. I'm lucky that I came onto
the show later on [in the series], so I don't think I'll be
as identified with my role as much as the [original] cast [will
probably be]. I'm hoping I won't be seen as 'that gay actor
on that gay series.' I want to play all kinds of roles, straight
and gay. Having said that, this was an important show that brought
the word 'queer' to TV, long before there was a Queer Eye for
the Straight Guy. I doubt it will be respected for its achievements
now, but down the road, people will really see what trailblazers
Sharon Gless (Debbie): "I love working
in Toronto, but I won't miss it because I plan on still living
here. I really fell in love with the city and made a lot of
great friends. Working with Rosie O'Donnell as my costar this
season was definitely one of the highlights, and I hope she
brings more attention to the show, especially in its last season.
Fans are going to love the story line we have for her. I love
this show, and I never understood why it wasn't respected or
recognized by the industry. I'll miss Debbie, for sure — but
I'll always carry her in my heart."
(Justin): "I planned on saying goodbye regardless if the
series was renewed. Justin finally grows up and gains some self-confidence
this season, which I think he has been lacking. I'm passionate
about theater, and I'm looking forward to tackling the stage
full-time. I feel most comfortable in that medium, as well as
Hal Sparks (Michael): "There
is a genuinely proud feeling of completing a [show with this
kind of social relevance], but I'm certainly looking forward
to tackling new roles and projects. People who know me know
I always have irons in the fire. Thanks to Queer and VH1, several
of them are getting hot at once. I would [ideally] like to move
into action and comedy features. It will happen."