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We've got all the key players and they'll answer your calls and criticisms. We're going to have the complete cast of "Queer as Folk" as our guests and a major discussion about that. KING: And are they going to have any kind of testimony other than them saying it? They don't have anything to corroborate what they have to say and they have a story that puts them right in the center of a case. But he said, you know, no one ever seriously said anything like that. And I'm sure the court will straighten it out eventually next month. And if you've seen any magazines, New York magazines with Randy Harrison -- he'll be with us in a little while -- on the cover. (END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We begin with, here in Los Angeles, Peter Paige. And here in Los Angeles is Hal Sparks who plays Michael Novotny, the son of Sharon Gless. The only two actual gay characters on the show are Peter Paige here in Los Angeles and Randy Harrison here in New York. PETER PAIGE, ACTOR: I've always been drawn to controversial projects. The full scope on the show that's stirring up a major fuss, next on LARRY KING LIVE. I'm somewhat skeptical because if someone ever solicited me to kill someone, I'd call the police. But right now, he's very concerned that the judge didn't just at least sign a temporary order giving Deli guardianship over Rose. All these magazines out, et cetera, et cetera, regular magazines, gay magazines, straight magazines have been talking about a television show. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "QUEER AS FOLK") UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter how long they're together, even if it's forever, they can never do it raw. I thought there was something really exciting, really dynamic here. And it was a great way to begin my professional career. And any time I can be 200th choice for something and actually get the part, I'm there. They just wouldn't take a lot of the roles that were offered in the show. It somehow gave the show, and myself, a sense of legitimacy.
Hal, as a straight actor, why did you take the role of a gay person? And the character was something that I really felt like I could resonate to and find a heart for. And very much a part of his persona, his personality is his sexual life. I knew that from the time I decided to go and test for the part.
I watched the premiere that night just as I would for many Sundays to come: with the volume down low and a nervous eye on the door, with one finger on the remote ready to change the channel should anyone enter the room.
But in that hour, I was transported to a world that excited me, scared me, and turned me on—and didn't expect me to feel bad about any of those feelings.
That show is "Queer As Folk," the most successful show on Showtime. What I think has caused so much of the controversy around this show is this combination of being about a group of gay men and women and its unapologetic use of sexuality as part of the dramatic storytelling.
And I just think those are really human, human components.
It didn't help that our representation in popular culture, TV especially, was at best, limited (and at worst, harmful) at this point.