‘Teen Wolf’ goes after the gays
‘Teen Wolf’ may just be the gayest show currently airing on television –- and that’s a good thing. The stories of werewolves hiding who they really are — even from the ones they love most — have a tendency to win the hearts of many gays.
In the series, boys flirt with boys as well as girls and the mythical creatures they turn into aren’t solely a metaphor for coming out of the closet, they literally run into gay clubs full of dancing shirtless hotties. The creative minds behind Teen Wolf aren’t simply using gay elements to infuse the show with gay appeal, they’re ramping up the gay appeal of the show to court a young audience – a fact the cast openly acknowledges.
“I think layering a show like that is always good and it’s nice when people notice,” says Tyler Hoechlin who plays the show’s current alpha werewolf, Derek Hale. “We have great writers that – even though Teen Wolf is a TV show – the depth of the story feels more like a film and it’s because of the multiple layers, the subtext woven into each episode, that it feels that way. I hope we see more of it.”
In addition, ‘Teen Wolf’ is also changing the way gays are featured on television. Not simply by including an out gay teen in the form of Beacon Hills High Lacrosse goalie Danny Mahealani (Keahu Kahuanui), but by evolving the way every other character reacts to him.
In ‘Teen Wolf’, homosexuality isn’t simply tolerated, it’s absolutely normal. This approach is a monumental shift for television and is highlighted by Danny’s relationship with Jackson Whittemore (Colton Haynes), the star athlete of Beacon Hills High.
“When I was in school, the asshole jocks would make fun of the gay kids, but Jackson’s character is best friends with Danny and I love that,” says Haynes. “There’s a clear message in Teen Wolf that says it’s okay to be who you are – that it’s okay to embrace who you are.”
Haynes has seen the positive impact Teen Wolf is having on gay youth.
“I love being able to go on Twitter and see how many gay teenagers enjoy watching the show because we’re giving them a voice,” says Haynes. “I think that’s the smartest thing (show creator) Jeff Davis could’ve done. Instead of brushing off a huge demographic of our viewers, we’re embracing it and making it fun for everyone. We’ve had such a great reaction to that. I’m so proud to be a part of a show isn’t afraid to be an innovator.”