rom coms but make it queer: tv show edition


illustration: evelyn ciafre

With the rise of TikTok Gen Z, we have been gifted with an opportunity most generations did not have: a centralized place to discuss and explore our gender and sexualities. With more and more people identifying on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, there is a call for more representation in what we consume. It is natural for television shows and media to reflect the identity of the masses. With this renaissance of queerness, we are demanding representation in the shows that we watch. Lucky for us, writers, actors and networks alike have answered to our terms. So I, A Mag’s resident queer media connoisseur, am here with another list of my top five favorite queer romance TV shows. 


5.“Steven Universe” (2013-2019, 5 seasons on Hulu, HBO Max)

Rebecca Sugar’s hit animated series premiered on Cartoon Network in May of 2013 and became a pioneer in its field. This beautifully animated cartoon follows human-gem hybrid Steven and his adventures with the intergalactic beings known as The Crystal Gems. At the start of the show, it seems to be fun one-shot adventures but as it goes on, it becomes so much more. “Steven Universe” introduces the concept of being non-binary in a way that is easy to understand for anybody. It also has Cartoon Network’s first queer marriage on screen. Sugar broaches the topics of identity, heartbreak, forgiveness and so many more in a simple yet profound way. Although it is technically for children, I think that Steven Universe is a must watch for anyone who enjoys beautiful art styles, a dynamic plot and a god tier soundtrack. 


4.“Schitt’s Creek” (2015-2020, 6 seasons on Netflix)

If you are familiar with “Schitt’s Creek,” you might think that this is not an inherently queer show. But I beg to differ. When the wealthy Rose family finds themselves with no money after tax trouble, they are forced to leave their home. All they have left is a town called Schitt’s Creek that Johnny jokingly bought for his son. They are left with no choice but to set up shop there and learn to live their lives in a new way. This show is poignantly funny and witty with undeniably charismatic characters. Dan Levy (David Rose), one of the show’s creators and main cast members alongside his father, being queer and able to bring his lived experiences to the writing makes all the difference. David’s pansexuality is rightfully treated as a part of David and not used as a plot point to antagonize his character. The queer relationships in this show are treated with respect and care, and the acceptance and normalization of these relationships is important to the plot while not being the main story. This show was an instant favorite of mine. 


3.“Please Like Me” ( 2013-2018, 4 seasons on Hulu)

“Please Like Me” is written, starred in and produced by Australian comedian Josh Thomas. It follows Josh as he is recently dumped by his girlfriend and is also newly out as gay. It follows Josh in his tumultuous and ever-changing life. As the viewer, we get to experience life, love and friendship along with Josh as he navigates his twenties. This show covers a lot of important topics like coming out, severe mental illness and death so please look at the trigger warnings before you start it. With that being said, “Please Like Me” deals with these topics with respect. And just like in life alongside these heavier themes there is still humor, candor and downright silliness in the show. There is always a good laugh in every episode. Josh is a very humanized and relatable character, and his friends are also very relatable and loveable. But, my favorite thing by far in this series is the development of Josh’s relationship with his father as he comes to terms with his son being gay. In fact, though they stumble at times, Josh’s parents are a great representation of unconditional familial love. It is a very beautiful thing to watch. If you love to laugh, cry and have some good moments, “Please Like Me” is the show for you.


2.“Heartstopper” (2022, 8 episodes on Netflix)

If you read the book edition of this series, this title may sound familiar. That’s right, my number four book recommendation has made its way to Netflix. First, a quick “Heartstopper” recap: Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson are the epitome of wholesomeness as they explore what it means to be not only queer but also in love. There are so many adorable scenes of the two testing the waters of being in a new relationship and not always succeeding while navigating highschool. The Netflix show has captured every bit of sweetness that Alice Oseman, the author and creator of “Heartstopper,” is so good at delivering. We get a more in-depth look at the side characters and there are even touches of the beloved art style in the show. The actors are the embodiment of the characters they play. This series has captured everything that is good about the books and somehow gives us just a bit more. 


1.“Our Flag Means Death” (2022, 10 episodes on HBO Max)

And now, last but most certainly not least, we have our number one recommendation. If you like pirates, adventure and fun then this show is right up your alley. “Our Flag Means Death” follows Stede Bonnet, an aristocrat who has abandoned his life in exchange for one on the high seas. Bonnet forms a crew of ragtag yet loveable pirates for his ship, The Revenge, and sets out to make his name as, the self proclaimed, Gentleman Pirate. Somehow he manages to cross paths with Blackbeard himself and from there, shenanigans ensue. This show gave me nothing but belly laughs and butterflies. Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi’s chemistry is just unparalleled. Watching them interact as Bonnet and Blackbeard was the highlight of my day. The misadventures of the crew were consistently entertaining and the more you get to know about the crew, the more you fall in love with them. The open way in which queerness of all kind was portrayed was so refreshing. It was not seen as something to be hidden or shied away from. But more like what it actually is just a part of our lives. Vico Ortiz plays the non-binary pirate Jim and it is so rewarding and satisfying seeing the role of a non-binary person taken on by a non-binary actor. This queer swashbuckling romantic comedy is by far my favorite show of the year. And with the cliffhanger in the end, fingers crossed it gets renewed for season two. 


I love to immerse myself in stories and worlds as a form of escapism and sometimes just plain entertainment. Finding good and respectful representation in the media can be especially hard as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. As queer people, we deserve to see ourselves in these fictional worlds and idealized situations as well. That’s why I’ve extended my mission of finding the most queer rom coms to the television screen as well.


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