What Makes Siren"s Hank The Best Gay Character on Television?
What makes Hank, from the series Sirens, the most interesting gay character on television? Probably the fact that he's palyed by actor Kevin Daniels. Sirens is a buddy comedy set in the world of EMT's. Characters Hank and Johnny (played by Michael Mosley) drive around Chicago providing urgent relief to their personal problems on the way to help citizens in need. And, best, Hank happens to be gay.
The comedy doesn't treat Hank's sexuality as a plot point, but rather refreshingly incorporates it into the storyline. Kevin Daniels, who plays Hank, is an out actor, who is obviously perfectly comfortable with his sexuality and addresses his caracher with enthusiasm. As Hank tells a woman looking for a "gay best friend" early in the new season: “I’m not that type of gay… I do not go dancing. I do not go shopping. I do not watch Dance Moms and make bitchy comments.”
The two buddies, Hank and Johnny, enjoy their work as much as their day to day lives. For instance, they gym together and enjoy the experience and the clientele in very different ways. See the two in action in this funny clip here (video).
Even though Sirens is a comedy, Daniels doesn't take his character lightly. He explains the impact of playing Hank: "I think representation is important and I think people love to be able to see themselves and identify with characters on television and the fact that there are more gay characters on TV and I think it changes popular opinion and it makes people realize, ‘Oh, this is like my friend John’ or ‘this is like me.’ I think it’s great…"
It is interesting how Sirens avoids stereotypes in favour of a better, more inclusive and open, type of storytelling. First, Hank is butch, an ex-military man and sports fan. In many ways, he's the anti-gay character that's popular on many TV series.
Daniels goes on to say: "I’m so happy to get the chance to play this part. And it’s so well-written and it’s their top priority. ‘No, no, no, we’re not looking to promote more stereotypes. We’re not looking to be novel. We want to create a real, living, breathing guy who is ex-military, who is black and happens to be gay and has a best friend who’s straight."
Co-star Michael Mosley praises their relationship: "It has been a long journey and so we’ve grown pretty close."
Daniels isn't a first-timer on television. His credits also include roles as Longinus, in Modern Familyeven though he originaly auditioned for the role of Cam. "Chris [Lloyd, Co-Creator] and Steven [Levitan, Co-Creator] were really big fans of mine and they were like, ‘oh he’s really funny’ and they brought me in to test for it. It didn’t work out and they brought me in for a different role, for Pepper and then they got Nathan Lane to do it. Then they were like, ‘You know what, Kevin? We’re going to write something for you.’ And I’m like, ‘oh, yeah, sure you are.’ Everyone always says that and then they wrote Longinus. It was really kind of fantastic," Daniels describes.
It is great to see a talented actor being recognised for their talent, and Daniels is definitely that. Be sure to check him on Sirens and see for yourself why he's the best gay actor on television today.