This article argues that the American series Queer as Folk (2000–2005) uses a combination of melodrama and realism to engage the viewer both emotionally and logically in the consideration of current issues significant to the gay community, in particular HIV/AIDS, gay parenting, and drug use and addiction. This hybrid genre draws on the emotional strength of melodrama to help viewers forge connections with characters and draws on the reasoned response that is elicited through realism to create sophisticated interpretations of the program's representations of social and political issues. This melodrama-realism hybrid ultimately establishes these political and social subjects as having vital importance, and the hybrid conveys the complexities of the issues more completely than either mode could do alone, allowing viewers to understand the issues from fresh points of view.

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