The New TV Gay Character: Just One Of The Guys On NBC’s ‘Undateable’

by | June 4, 2014 at 8:56 AM | Cougar Town, LGBT

David Fynn as Brett in 'Undateable' (NBC)

The new NBC comedy “Undateable” features a group of single men who are more than a little clueless about dating and women in general. Enter Danny (Chris D’Elia), who has seen all his friends get married and essentially needs new friends, hence our group that hangs out at a local bar.

One of the ‘undateable’ guys is the newly out of the closet Brett, who is just as clueless about dating as the others and, in a sign of the times, he’s treated just like one of the guys.

“What I think is always nerve-wracking when you do a show is that you don’t want to ever be somebody that is, like ‘oh, you know, you have this cliché, you have this gay character, or something that people have seen before,’” said Executive Producer Bill Lawrence (“Cougar Town,” “Scrubs”) on a recent press call about the new series, which was created by Adam Sztykiel.

Lawrence explained that one of the other producers on the show, Randall Winston, is “my longest adult relationship. He’s a gay man himself…[and] we all hit him up for stories about when he was first coming out and how awkward it was to deal with his buddies and kind of how awkward and weird it felt for him to be part of a gang of friends when in his head everything had changed and in their heads, things hadn’t changed. It was just kind of a funny story generator for us.”

On the same call, D’Elia added, “Danny said it doesn’t matter what sex you prefer, just [you’ve] got to be you and you’ve got to find your strengths and ignore your weaknesses and try and attract who you want to attract. Doesn’t matter what – if they have appendages or not, you know what I mean?”

More than likely, the show may point out that things are not that different for gay and straight people to date but Lawrence may not be fully convinced it’s that similar. “Randall and I really used to argue,” he said. “The one fight we always had was I always felt that it would be much easier for a single gay guy to go out and hook up than it was for a single straight guy, and he told me that was not the case. And I maintain to this day that he was lying.” (I see a future storyline here, don’t you?)

I also had some time to chat with actor David Fynn, who plays Brett on the series, to get his take. Here’s what he had to say on playing the character.

Brett isn’t necessarily a stereotype, is he? Do you see it that way?

David Fynn: Yeah, that was my intention always when approaching the character because I think that gave it the most depth because it makes it harder for him because he just looks like a regular guy who just works in a bar in Detroit. So he maybe hasn’t moved in the LGBT circles before or at all so that makes it all the more daunting and it makes it a big hill to climb and also it kind of gives the character more of a journey, it gives him a further distance to travel before he can really get in the game.

(l-r) Ron Funches, Bianca Kajlich, Brent Morin, Chris D'Elia, Fynn & Rick Glassman (NBC)

What will we see with Brett and other men?

There’s a hot electrician character that comes into the bar and he really tries, but to no avail. And I think sometimes Danny’s advice, the Chris D’Elia character, he kind of projects his advice on us that has always worked for him [but] it backfires and I think a lot of the comedy of the show comes from that. From Danny trying to be The Fonz and trying to show us the ways and it doesn’t quite work out. None of us are as cool or as confident as he is, so it’s obviously not going to work for us.

I’m just curious because these guys, despite all their dating woes, they are tight friends so what will happen if one of them does end up kind of coupling? Do we see that at all in season one?

DF: Well, at the moment, the friendship group is very intact but I think that if they do couple off, I think it will be very much an outside character coming in as opposed to inside character going out and leaving the group. There is definitely some fun to be had with people. Sometimes when your friend gets a new boyfriend or girlfriend, and they go off the grid for awhile, and yeah, I think there’s definitely fun to be had there. I think at the moment, it’s still pretty tight knit because I think they still need each other. At the end of the day there’s a comfort to be had in a group, but I think that’s what rely on and that’s what they always fall back on.

I remember talking to Chris a year ago about the show. Is it safe to say all of you are kind of itching for people to finally see the show, since you’ve been working on it for awhile?

DF: Yeah. I wasn’t involved in the original pilot, I was lucky to be involved in the recast. But even my first audition for ‘Undateable’ was over a year ago, so it’s been quite a long process. And I’ve been kind of seeing things pop up from over here, kind of on Facebook and on Twitter and the billboard going up on Sunset Boulevard, the big posters outside the comedy store and all the guys going on Carson Daly and other kind of chat shows and stuff. So I can even fell the build up from here. So yeah, there’s a lot of anticipation involved, I think.

“Undateable” airs back-to-back episodes this week starting on Thursday at 9pm on NBC.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

Got a comment for the LGBT site? Tweet @JimHalterman with your question.