The phrase "gay icon" gets tossed around a lot, but what does that really mean? Welcome to Gay Iconography, a new feature where we present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts. This week we look at an iconic (though divisive) television performance on which even the Vice President has an opinion.
For many, Sean Hayes' Emmy-winning portrayal of Jack McFarland on Will & Grace is one of the most important gay television characters of all time. Some argue that he helped introduce gay men to a huge portion of the population, while others believe "Just Jack" reduced gay men to the usual stereotypes.
Will & Grace premiered in 1998 on NBC and immediately grabbed headlines for featuring openly-gay lead characters. The show lasted for eight seasons, with Sean Hayes' Jack (along with Megan Mullally's Karen) at the center of the show's most memorable moments. The show was nominated for 83 Primetime Emmy Awards and won 16.
While Jack's antics may have endeared him to mainstream audiences, some in the gay community were less amused. Hayes' portrayal of Jack has been criticized for reinforcing stereotypes, particularly the image of the theater-loving, campy gay man.
Since Will & Grace, Hayes has continued to have an impact in television, on- and off-camera. Relive moments from Hayes' work on Will & Grace, as well as his recent work,
AFTER THE JUMP …