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By: Jase Peeples
Long before out animated couples like American Dad’s Greg and Terry were a part of pop culture, gays had to find representation on television through innuendo and subtext. Thankfully the animated shows of yesterday had no shortage of men whose relationships suggested there was a lot more going on off camera — and between the sheets.
The following is a list of 20 couples who paved the way for the cartoon characters of today to say, “It’s OK to be gay.”
This cub and daddy were two animated pioneers of the bear community long before we were putting our paws up in pride parades. Living together in (KY) Jellystone National Park, Yogi and Boo Boo were nudists — with the exception of their Chippendales-like ties — who seemed far more interested in having picnics together than spending any time with Cindy Bear, the only female to be found in Jellystone.
We don’t know who this villainous couple thought they were fooling, but it was obvious they were more than roommates in the Rainbow Brite animated series.
These closet cases were always trying to upgrade their accessories by stealing Rainbow Brite’s color belt and desperately wanted to take over Rainbow Land. Plus, in the animated movie Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, Murky reveals his obsession with jewelry and lets his inner drama queen shine bright when he learns there’s an entire planet made of diamonds called Spectra.
The Decepticon leader and his second in command, Starscream, may have seemed like they were at each other’s throats, but a look beneath the surface reveals this relationship was all about BDSM — especially during first two seasons of the original series.
There was some serious dominant-submissive roleplay between these two, with Megatron usually slapping Starscream around until he begged (on his knees) to be forgiven. If Megatron didn’t enjoy Starscream’s company, we wonder why Megatron when he transformed into a gun most often chose the vain Decepticon Air Commander to pull his trigger?
It’s no secret Cobra Commander had a thing for several of the men in his terrorist organization. (That’s why he made our original list of Gayest Cartoon Characters Ever.) However, the ones he seemed most fond of were the pretty-boy twins, Tomax and Xamont, whom he bestowed the honor of leading his elite Crimson Guard.
Whether they were dressing up in suits and drag to escape capture, or throwing shade and bitchy comments at each other, Cobra’s first gay thruple gave us plenty of clues as to what was going on behind the doors of the Commander’s private quarters.
We’re confident Beavis and Butt-Head would’ve come out of the closet by now — that is, if they were smart enough to figure out they were in there in the first place.
Inseparable, both halves of this dimwitted duo are obsessed with penis (“Huh, huh, he said wood”) and laugh uncontrollably around attractive women. Whether they’re dining together (“Nachos rule!”) or cuddling on the couch while they take in some TV, it’s clear that next to one another is the only place these teens want to be.
Fans of The Ren & Stimpy Show suspected the show’s stars were getting it from each other on the regular for years, but when the short-lived spinoff series Ren & Stimpy “Adult Party Cartoon” aired on Spike TV in 2003, the intimate nature of the psychotic Chihuahua and dimwitted cat’s relationship was confirmed.
The Dynamic Duo’s questionable relationship is legendary among scholars of subtext. From training in tight little shorts and tank tops in the Batcave to sliding down the batpole in perfect unison, these costumed crime fighters are a little too cozy to simply be buddies.
For more on the inner workings of the Caped Crusaders' relationship, be sure to check our collection of original comic book panels, EXPOSED: The (Not So) Secret Gay Life of Batman and Robin.
Batman Beyond was a wonderful peek into one possible future for the heroes and villains of Gotham City.
In the series we were treated to a future where a Bruce Wayne in his senior years mentored and passed the mantle of the Batman onto the insanely good-looking Terry McGinnis.
Thanks to this animated series — which ran for three seasons — we now know Mr. Wayne’s adoration of twinks only grows stronger with age.
For more on the inner workings of the Caped Crusaders' relationship, be sure to check out our collection of original comic book panels, EXPOSED: The (Not So) Secret Gay Life of Batman and Robin.
While you could argue that Bugs flirted with just about any guy who crossed his path, Ms. Bunny had an affinity for Elmer Fudd that dwarfed all others.
Bugs never passed up an opportunity to cuddle, kiss, or dance with Elmer and Mr. Fudd certainly didn’t seem to mind. After all, though he’d pretend to be upset at the discovery, you can’t tell us Elmer didn’t recognize Bugs in drag after all those years. We’re guessing Fudd was more than a little fond of the T-Girls.
Talk about a bad romance!
The villainous duo Skeletor and Hordak were obviously past lovers. They once lived together in Snake Mountain (yes, even the name of their humble abode was dripping with subtext) until Hordak ran off to another planet with the baby (Princess Adora) they planned to steal and raise together.
Since Hordak was a military man, we’re guessing the Horde Army had a "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy in place, and the shape-shifting future nemesis of She-Ra didn’t want to give up his career for his bone-faced boyfriend with abs of steel — which totally explains Skeletor’s “Hell hath no fury…” type attitude each time he runs into his old flame.
For more on the queer side of Etheria, read The 10 Gayest Things About She-Ra.
In the mid-1980s, with Mr. T at the peak of his popularity, an animated series named after and starring the mohawked man made its way to Saturday morning television. The show followed the adventures of T and the team of gymnasts he coached as they traveled the world racking up medals in gymnastics competitions and solving mysteries.
Jeff and Woody were two of the talented young men on T’s team, and though they were often competitive rivals, we have no doubt they had their fair share of locker room harmony. However, this couple had a different dynamic than most of the other closeted cartoon characters on this list. While we’re certain the sensitive Woody eventually accepted his sexuality, the smartass Jeff was the type to harbor eternal self-hatred. He’d often loudly flirt with girls in front of Woody and generally put him down in order to feel better about himself.
Nevertheless, every time Jeff would come on to a girl it seemed like he was trying way too hard. As if he was saying, “See how straight I am.” However, Woody wasn’t fooled — and neither were we.
With his perfectly manicured nails, slim build, and affinity for fashion, there isn’t anyone who wouldn’t pick Eric Raymond off the homo tree in a second.
Although we don’t think the scheming manager of the Misfits was really the relationship type, we’re betting he and his “special friend” Techrat were spending more than a few nights together. Eric used any excuse he could to have Techrat around. And while the gifted guy of gizmos hated to have people near him, he never seemed to mind sharing his personal space with Eric.
Read Gay.net's interview with Samantha Newark, the original voice of Jem.
These two Autobots may have been robots in disguise, but the nature of their relationship was anything but.
This was never more obvious than in the season two episode “Auto Berserk.” Red Alert throws a bitch fit and storms off when Inferno refuses to stay by his side during an attack. He then teams up with Decepticon drama queen Starscream to start a new faction of Transformer before coming to his senses and ending up in his tall, red, and metallic lover’s arms by the episode’s end.
We’re not saying Bow and Kowl were boyfriends exactly, but you don’t need the knowledge of Grayskull to see these two queens were obviously gay besties. They’d often throw shade and read each other in the vein of Paris is Burning — “Because reading is fundamental” — but they obviously had a connection that ran deeper than those of the other bros in the Great Rebellion.
Also, they fall all over themselves when Prince Adam first comes to Etheria, and Bow wastes no time giving the beefy blonde a ride on his stallion. We’re betting Kowl couldn’t wait to have a kiki with his BFF the morning after the archer brought the Prince of Eternia back to the to the rebel camp for the night.
For more on the queer side of Etheria, read The 10 Gayest Things About She-Ra.
From the golden age of the Republic to the dark days of the Galactic Empire and back again, these cybernetic sweethearts have been through it all and are still going strong.
Of course we have a soft spot for R2D2 and C3PO because droids in the Star Wars universe endure many of the same discriminations as LGBT people (“We don’t serve their kind here!”). Despite that, this dramatic droid duo still struggles to have their relationship recognized under Republic law, and their love for one another has inspired us since we first laid eyes on them a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Actually, the entire cast of Winnie the Pooh is rather gay when you stop and think about it.
You’ve got the tail-bouncing Tigger, who's obviously a power bottom; Eeyore, the bitter and depressed gay; Rabbit's the drama queen; and then there’s the bear with a sweet tooth who spends all of his time with his (nasty) pig BFF.
Did we mention the fact that they all hang out with the same twink, Christopher Robin? Yeah, we’re certain there was a lot of communal love going on between adventures with this bunch, and Piglet and Pooh Bear were climbing more than trees together.
Photo: John Falcon
To come right out and say that Stewie and Brian Griffin are a couple would suck all the hilarity out of future situations in which these two will eventually find themselves, but do the creators of Family Guy really have to spell it out for us?
This twosome couldn’t get any gayer if they performed the opening musical number alongside Neil Patrick Harris and husband David Burtka at the next Out100 party — and we hope they never change.
Thundarr and Ookla were trailblazing the (futuristic) gay cowboy life long before Brokeback Mountain hit theatres.
These two muscle bears were living happily ever after until they were enslaved by the wizard Sabian. Thankfully, Princess Ariel, the young lady who would become their fruit fly, helped them escape. They’ve been tearing it up in a world full of people who look like the inhabitants of a circuit club at 5:59 AM ever since.
SpongeBob and Patrick would have us believe they’re simply a couple of bros who hang under the sea, but there’s definitely something fishy about this duo’s underwater escapades. They dance and sing like a couple of theatre queens and never fail to hold one another tight when danger is on the horizon.
Plus, they both starred in the SpongeBob SquarePants TV movie Truth or Square — an obvious nod to the classic Madonna flick. Who knew SpongeBob was such a fan of the Material Girl?
The amount of gay subtext found in the classic Jonny Quest animated series could fill a library. In fact, we’d go as far as saying the show featured the first gay family on network television.
Jonny’s dad, Dr. Benton Quest, and his tutor/bodyguard Race Bannon, spent more time together than they ever did with Jonny and his best bud, Hadji. Benton and Race often slept together in the same room when they were on adventures and, on a few occasions, had the boys pile in with them. The two adult men even share an eyebrow-raising sideways glance in the opening credits of the classic series that seems to say, “Just wait until the boys are asleep. Then we’ll have some fun.”
Of course, we aren’t the only ones to notice the finer points of Dr. Quest’s relationship with Mr. Bannon. Cartoon Network’s Harvey Birdman: Attorney-at-Law poked fun at the Quest clan in an episode where Race sued Benton for custody of Jonny and Hadji.
For more animated fun, check out The 20 Gayest Cartoon Characters EVER!