Friday, April 17, 2020

Love, Sidney

Love, Sidney is an American sitcom television series which aired two seasons on NBC, from October 28, 1981 to June 6, 1983. It stars Tony Randall as Sidney Shorr (a single, closeted gay man), Swoosie Kurtz as Laurie Morgan (a single mother with whom he shares his home), and Kaleena Kiff as Patti Morgan (Laurie's young daughter). It was the first program on American television to feature a gay character as the central character, although his sexual orientation was carefully downplayed for most of the series' duration.

The series was based on a short story by Marilyn Cantor Baker, which was adapted as the TV movie Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend, which NBC aired a few weeks before the series premiered. It was produced by Warner Bros. Television.

The storyline begins with the television movie Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend. Randall plays the title character, a well-to-do gay New Yorker in his 50s, who befriends a single woman, Laurie Morgan (originally played by Lorna Patterson) and Patti, her young daughter. Laurie is an aspiring actress, and at the end of the movie, Sidney is brokenhearted when she and Patti move to California. Patti is played in the later stages of the movie (once time lapses to her being five years old) by Kaleena Kiff, who retains the role in Love, Sidney.

With the debut of the series, Laurie Morgan (now played by Swoosie Kurtz) and Patti return to New York, following the failure of Laurie's marriage in California. The three characters return to sharing Sidney's Manhattan apartment. Laurie has established herself as an actress in commercials and television roles, and resumes her career in New York, appearing as vixen "Gloria Trenell" on the (fictional) daytime soap opera As Thus We Are. Sidney continues to be a doting father figure to precocious Patti, whose innocence fills his life with sunshine, and provides him with the child he has never had.

Although it is openly acknowledged in the TV movie that Sidney was gay, and had previously been in a relationship with a man, in the series these facts are not stated directly. Instead his sexual orientation is ambiguous and only hinted at, and the "couple" of Laurie and Sidney behave platonically, with only fleeting displays of affection that might be interpreted as romantic.[citation needed]

Sidney speaks at times about his long deceased mother, consistently referring to her as "that terrible woman".

The series depicts Sidney's career as a professional illustrator; his frequent business deals are made with young ad agency director Jason Stoller (Chip Zien), who works at Graham & Ludwig, Sidney's biggest account. Another recurring character in the first season is Sidney's friend and neighbor judge Mort Harris (Alan North). In the second season, their most prominent neighbor is busybody Mrs. Gaffney (Barbara Bryne), wife of the building's superintendent, who seeks to gain Sidney's affections. Also added to the cast that season is Nancy (Lynne Thigpen), Jason's secretary at Graham & Ludwig.

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