In 2000, actor Kerr Smith made history when his Dawson's Creek character, Jack McPhee, was a part of TV's first gay kiss. Now in a new interview with Too Fab, Smith kisses and tells, dishing to the pop culture website what filming that historic smooch was like.
Now 47, Smith remembers the day that series creator Kevin Williamson pitched him the storyline over coffee: "He throws this idea, 'We want to go down a different avenue with Jack,' and I go, 'What does that mean?'"
When Smith found out what Williamson meant, Smith admits that wasn't sure he could live up to the huge responsibility. L.A. Law aired TV's first lesbian kiss in 1991, C.J. Lamb (Amanda Donohoe) and Abby Perkins (Michelle Greene), but despite gay weddings on Roseanne and Golden Girls, no gay male characters had been allowed to share a snog.
"It was an intense experience, and I remember calling everybody I respected and said, 'Hey should I do this?'" he recalls. Smith maintains he's "glad" thatDawson's Creek "did it" and that the moment "was a part of history."
Although Jack was briefly paired a love interest for Joey (Katie Holmes), Smith also says that Williamson "always had the intention of making one of his characters gay" and that the specific storyline was mostly written by Greg Berlanti of Riverdale. Both Williamson and Berlanti are gay.
While Smith says it's great to see how much the industry has evolved since then, he overestimates just how inclusive TV is today. "Look at every single show now, it's pretty amazing," he says. "There's always a gay storyline, a lesbian storyline, or whatever."
That's not exactly correct. According to GLAAD's Where We Are On TV report, LGBTQ+ characters made up only 8.8 percent of regular characters on Primetime Scripted shows in 2018. The numbers are better on cable and streaming platforms, but still LGBTQ+ characters only make up a fraction of overall characters on those shows.