Love, Sidney was a 1981-1983 comedy television series
which starred Tony Randall. The show is remembered best as a milestone in
the progress toward public acceptance of homosexual characters on
television, but often regarded as a seriously flawed one.
The premise of the show was established in a TV movie aired earlier the
same year, entitled Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend. Randall
played the title character, a well-to-do gay New Yorker in his 50s, who
befriends an unwed mother and the daughter she gives birth to, and then
becomes the daughter's guardian when the mother leaves for California. The
movie was fairly well-received, enough so that a series followed.
The series premise did not actively retcon that of the movie; the
girl's mother (now played by a different actress, Swoosie Kurtz) was part
of the regular cast, but it was explained that she had returned to New
York when her marriage in California didn't work out. However, NBC had
received a few complaints from wacko special-interest groups upset about a
positive portrayal of homosexuality, and so nothing in the series referred
to its lead character's sexuality except oblique, coded hints.
Thus, even though Love, Sidney was the first prime-time
television series to have a gay character as its central lead (as opposed
to one lead in an ensemble cast, like the character of Jody on Soap,
or Vincent Schiavelli's character on the much earlier The
Corner Bar) the character's orientation was hidden in "the
closet"for all forty episodes of the show's run. Thus, while the show
is still remembered as a significant point in popular culture's portrayal
of homosexuality, it is also remembered for the risks it did not take.We've not had time to write about this TV show yet. If you were a fan, we'd love to have you help us out by writing a synopsis or review!