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Showtime took a great first step with this series based on the coming out of
a gay character. He has two brothers (hence the title) and they live in
Philadelphia (city of brotherly love).
Long before ELLEN and WILL AND GRACE, this series tackled the thorny issues of a gay character struggling with himself and society. The situations are played for comedy, but there are serious issues of prejudice, self-acceptance, and AIDS, among others, interwoven into the plots.
The two sides of the gay spectrum are represented by the straight-acting character who comes out at his own wedding (a la IN & OUT) in the first episode, and the flamboyant queen who also has a more serious side as he offers advice and help to the young man who is coming out. It is an enjoyable and ground-breaking series.
It is a shame that time and a limited viewing audience has all but buried "Brothers." If you didn't have Showtime in the 80s you missed out on a show that had as much heart and humor as "Will and Grace" back in atime when AIDS made a gay series untouchable for a TV network. Showtime took the risk and the result is a wonderful series that I saw as a young man but can remember certain scenes vividly and can still hum the a-capella theme song. Modern day viewers will rake the Donald character as being too stereotypical but he was no sissy. He was proud and strong and that should be seen as a plus. The rapport between the brothers was excellent as they try to understand the gay world after the youngest of the 3 comes out. Who can forget gruff Lou trying to blend into the gay scene sitting a park growling: "Hey babe, nice legs!" or Joe responding the his brother's attraction to a Russian when told that he's big and sleek and foreign by saying "so get a Volvo!" Has this show been released on VHS or DVD? If not it should. This is a groundbreaking series that should be resurrected for a new generation to enjoy and share and laugh.
BROTHERS was first presented in the United States by Showtime, Inc. on a premium channel. I have not known of the series being re-run by any other channel, though there is no surprise there! As I recall, it told of a family of brothers, one of whom has "come out." Of course, it treated the situation in a broad comedic manner. I remember the comedy was sometimes forced and sophomoric, but it was a daring breakthrough for its' day, and as such, deserves another look! SHOWTIME....where are you when we need you? You have presented what is possibly the most blatantly gay drama ever, and yet you have forgotten your own pioneering effort. Look in your vaults, and dust the tapes off.
Today this show would probably make it onto network TV, and would be considered far too "tame" for a cable series. Yet I believe that this Showtime series was the first to not only contain openly gay characters, but deal with homosexuality in an even-handed non-sensational manner. The Donald Maltbie character, labeled "too flamboyant" in those semi-Neanderthal days of early cable, was a successful businessman and a decorated Air Force veteran - a far cry from Jack McFarland on "Will and Grace," who has almost no redeeming characteristics whatsoever, and feeds right into negative Right Wing stereotypes. If Showtime were to re-broadcast this series today it would be a smash hit, what with such a larger percentage of the viewing audience willing to watch "gay comedy." But it WOULDN'T be considered "sexy." Just funny as hell.
Thank you for contacting Showtime about "Brothers" on DVD, I can see it left a big impression on them, since here it is over a year later, and still no sign of "Brothers" on DVD. It was a wonderfully funny series and groundbreaking in it's depiction of gay men. Not to mention one of the finest ensemble casts ever. I collected the entire series on Video tape and have watched them over and over. But the quality on the tapes is pretty awful, and pretty soon I won't have a VHS player anymore (Remember those?) It's never too late, so please, please release it on DVD, Showtime! I'm ready to relive the laughter over and over again. I also think it would be interesting to hear commentary from the Cast.
This was a TV series about three brothers--2 straight and 1 gay. Back in
1984 gay characters were almost completely absent from TV shows.
changed all that. At first it was shopped around to the major
networks--none of them would touch it. It finally ended up on Showtime
it enjoyed a healthy 5 year run.
It dealt with many taboo subjects: gay rights, AIDS, gay sex, lesbianism. All the characters were presented fairly and non-exploitavely. Donald, a gay character, was originally attacked as being way too flamboyent...but he was treated much more sympathetically than anyone else (and not in a condescending way). Also the show was sometimes VERY funny. Aside from a few minor instances of swearing there was nothing really extreme in the show--no nudity, sex or violence. There was one gay kiss (the audience reaction was a few screams).
This show has disappeared--Showtime really should bring it back. Much better than "Will & Grace".
Originally aired on Showtime, then syndicated, it ran for 8 (?) seasons, and was ground-breaking for having the first openly gay *proud* character (Cliff) from the premiere episode, albeit not the main character (Joe). Played with sensitivity and great humor, Cliff was a real gay man - not a stereotype, not hung up about being gay, and never "redeemed" by seeming to be straight. His foils were his construction worker brother, Lou (not too bright, but deep down loved his baby brother) and his best friend, Donald Maltby, who *verged* on stereotype, but because of extraordinary acting always managed to turn the character on its ear and show you something more than just a caricature (notably his brilliant speech about blame and AIDS in one episode, which was very knowledgeable and forthright anyway, despite it being so very early in the epidemic). I'm sure the show will never air again, and it might not even ever be available as a Columbia House collectible series, but if you ever get the chance, watch those old episodes! (And, being from Philadelphia, where the show is supposedly set, maybe someone will be able to explain to me how very good-looking Cliff ever went for 8 years with only two boyfriends for four episodes!)
This Showtime TV Series was one of the most Brilliant and Sensitive TV Sit-Coms ever written. The rapport between the flamy Donald, and the homophobic Lou was hysterical. It's a shame the episodes are not more completely documented here on IMDb. The acting by Star Robert Walden as Joe Waters may have been his best, tho he is obviously better known for his more serious role as Joe Rossi in the Lou Grant series. Philip Charles MacKenzie as Donald Maulpey may be playing this flaming gay role as Stereotypical, but is always the character with the most brilliant answers to life's common problems. Hallie Todd, as Joe's daughter Penny, was not in every episode, but unforgettable when she was. It is a true measure of comic genius, when the writers and actors who can make you laugh hysterically episode after episode, can also make you cry. I miss this series and wish I had Every Season on DVD or VHS or Reel to Reel. It is more than entertainment, it is great education in human relations and gay issues.
Showtime says they are going to release season 1 Aug 29 2006. I wrote them a few weeks back. It has taken 10 years but finally. Lets hope lots of people buy it so we can have all seasons released. I wrote them like 5 or 6 times and this was the first time I received a release date for the show. They still have not given a price for the set as of yet. I also see no listing on the showtime site. They also gave me no more info on what if any extras will be in the set. Just excited to see it coming out. Hope that they will have some of the cast doing commentary. I have about 5 shows on DVD and they all still are as funny as the first time I saw them. Thank you Showtime and lets hope that it is released on the date I was told.
People who subscribe to PrideVision, the Canadian GLBT channel, have the chance to see reruns of this great TV series. A friend of mine had taped a few episodes for me a while ago, but I hadn't had the chance of seeing more episodes. I can now catch up, with great pleasure!
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