The premise of the show was established in a TV movie aired earlier the same year, entitled Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend. Randall played the title character, a well-to-do gay New Yorker in his 50s, who befriends an unwed mother and the daughter she gives birth to, and then becomes the daughter's guardian when the mother leaves for California. The movie was fairly well-received, enough so that a series followed.
The series premise did not actively retcon that of the movie; the girl's mother (now played by a different actress, Swoosie Kurtz) was part of the regular cast, but it was explained that she had returned to New York when her marriage in California didn't work out. However, NBC had received complaints from special-interest groups upset about a positive portrayal of homosexuality, and so nothing in the series referred to its lead character's sexuality except oblique, coded hints. Thus, even though Love, Sidney was the first prime-time television series to have a gay character as its central lead (as opposed to one lead in an ensemble cast, like the character of Jody on Soap, or Vincent Schiavelli's character on the much earlier The Corner Bar) the character's orientation was hidden in "the closet" by network executives for all forty episodes of the show's run. Thus, while the show still represents a significant point in popular culture's portrayal of homosexuality, it is remembered today more for the risks it did not take.
Sidney's portraits of rulers in the New Arcadia reflect his sensitivity to the claims of each side, and what emerges most clearly from these portraits and from the incomplete plot is his belief that rulers must provoke the admiration of their subjects or lose all.
Sidney recognizes that how one seems to rule is at least as important as how one rules: quiet virtue may bring most credit in the private, ethical sphere, but political acts must be open to all eyes in order to have their proper effect.
Sidney both teaches his readers that spectacle is crucial to power and offers them lively images of the kind he describes in the Defence, moving readers to emulate or avoid the styles of rule they depict.
Although many of the sequences are predictable in their course of recitation, Sidney still finds a way to infuse a force and energy into his writing that causes the reader, not only to be caught by the paradoxical verses but also to question the entire psychoanalytical process of love.
He dissects, explores and analyses love in all its different facets and stages, laying bare to us the mechanism and etiology of love, essentially taking the reader on a tour of the lover’s mind and the psychological voyage that it induces upon all those that it wounds with it’s pointed arrow.
While this practice of the embodiment of the object of their desire as love itself was common among earlier poets, Sidney uses this convention, not to further glorify his love with wit and poetic prose, but rather uses it to employ an emphatic change from wit into grotesquerie and bitterness.
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