Queerness is Different in 2022, Says 'QAF' Producer and Writer Jaclyn Moore

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday June 29, 2022
Originally published on June 27, 2022

Queerness is Different in 2022, Says 'QAF' Producer and Writer Jaclyn Moore

The Peacock reboot of "Queer as Folk"

Jaclyn Moore became a writer and executive producer on Peacock's "Queer as Folk" reboot through, of all shows, "Seinfeld." She had run a Twitter account with "Desus & Mero" producer-writer Josh Gondelman, called @SeinfeldToday in which they contemporarized classic Seinfeld episodes. According to Entertainment Weekly, the Twitter account caught the attention of agents and she landed a writing gig on the short-lived 2014 remake of the British comedy "Gavin & Stacey," and then on HBO Max's "Love Life." Next came work on Netflix's "Dear White People," where she started as a writer-producer before becoming co-showrunner for the fourth and final season. 

When the show's new creator Stephen Dunn put together the team for his re-imagining of the Showtime series, he turned to Moore to run the writers' room and serve as an executive producer. One of their goals of the New Orleans-based reboot was for the show to be more inclusive than its earlier versions, which also include the three-part British miniseries the American version was based on. She also was aware of how important positive representation is. "What we wanted to do was give our queer characters the dignity that we allow straight characters. They make mistakes and are still worthy of being at the center of the frame," she told EW.

EDGE's Steven Duffy spoke to Moore, who was initially reluctant to take part in the show because she didn't feel the world needed another version of "Queer as Folk." But upon writing the script, she changed her mind.

EDGE (Steven Duffy): Could you tell us how you got involved with it?

Jaclyn Moore: My team came to me and said, "How would you be interested in helping run the new version of 'Queer as Folk?'" And I said, "No, absolutely not. We don't need a new version of 'Queer as Folk.' And then she (her team member) yelled at me a (and) told me to read the damn script. And I said, "You know what, that's fair. And so I read the script and then about halfway through I fell in love with it."And was like" "This is incredible. I need to be a part of this."

And I very quickly remembered which is... I'm a theater kid and like, revivals are a huge part of what makes good storytelling/ Who doesn't want seeing each generation getting their own version of George and Martha. That play means something different each time. And I think similarly "Queer as Folk." Queerness needs something different in 2020 than I did in 1989 or 2000. I am so privileged and honored to get to be a part of telling that version of the story. The story means something different now.

EDGE (Steven Duffy): And "Queer as Folk." That was 20 years ago and I was 30. It was groundbreaking right for me as a gay man. How does this version continue to break ground?

Jaclyn Moore: The original versions of the show meant a lot to me as a young closeted, queer person. But at the same time, I was a young, closeted trans person too and that wasn't what the show was about, nor should necessarily have been its own thing. But I think now the idea of what queerness means and the kind of queer stories we can tell are a lot broader. Or I guess I should say actually a lot more specific, and cover a lot broader cross-section of stories. And so in this version of the show, we have multiple queer characters with disabilities. We have people — all different people of color, white people, trans people, nonbinary folks. It feels like it's a much more wide-ranging depiction of queerness, while at the same time, I like to think diving pretty deeply into all of those things. And diving into each of those characters and giving them their own kind of journeys and, you know, complications.

EDGE (Steven Duffy): Even looking back, the original was mostly Caucasian, but the great thing was that it was telling or showing somewhat realistically what gay life was like, right? And so, as the pendulum moves for change, we're seeing different versions of gay life and we're getting to hear different stories... So the show is made where people for queer people to watch, but why should straight people watch it?

Jaclyn Moore: I think I would say I'm probably gonna go see whatever the next Marvel movie is or "Top Gun," and that's not necessarily about trans people. But I think beyond that we should watch stories about all kinds of people, I think this show is really engaging and compelling and has a lot of personal drama and emotions. And I think, Yes, will there be a certain segment of the audience it is more educational for than others? Yeah. But one of the magical things about art is that you get to live a life that isn't yours for a little bit. You get to dive into something. I'll never know what it's like to like go to space, but I can watch "Apollo 13," and for two and a half hours, I'm sitting there either with Tom Hanks in the rocket or Ed Harris in mission control. And I feel like I'm there and I get to experience some of that. I think a lot of ways art writ large, but I certainly think television and film are empathy machines. They let us live a life that isn't ours and see the world a little bit differently. And I think that's a magical thing, regardless of what that topic is. and so, yeah, I think for a straight person to look and say, "that's not for me," it would be to deny sort of a magical experience of getting to see a world that's maybe a little different than yours.