Today being the first day of Pride Week (here in New York anyway), we thought we’d use the occasion for a brief tribute to the historic situation comedy Love Sidney (1981-83).
Love, Sidney was the first network TV series to feature a gay character at its center (although it was only explicitly expressed in the TV movie that served as its pilot; on the series itself it was only indirectly alluded to and strongly hinted at). Tony Randall played the title character, a closeted gay man who takes in a struggling single mom (Swoozie Kurtz) and her daughter (Kaleena Kiff). Randall himself was straight, although he was dogged throughout his life and career by the common belief that he was otherwise. I’d say there was something brave about him taking this role under those circumstances, except it’s more like there was something more characteristic about it. It was reflective of his personality that he did not care; that’s why he was Tony Randall (with a Tony Randall personality) to begin with. Towards the end of the series’ second season the show began to be more explicit about Sidney’s sexual orientation. The show was not renewed for a third season, but it has secured its place in the history books.