The evolution of the gay best friend in romantic comedies

The GBF timeline overall is inescapably white. What Crazy Rich Asians’ Oliver proves is that this trend limits not only the kinds of queer faces put on screen, but queer experiences as well. Having grown up in Singapore, Oliver is forced to navigate a very conservative (and rich) world and assert his gay identity in subtle but empowering ways. He’s also flamboyant — which Santos says shouldn’t be seen as regressive. “I hate that femininity in a gay men is a ‘stereotype,’” says Santos, who is openly gay. “Femme people exist, and they are layered and they are complex and they are intelligent.” Indeed, he adds: “You don’t encounter characters like this ever.”

Every day until Valentine’s Day, Entertainment Weekly is celebrating our special romantic-comedy-themed Untold Stories issueCheck out all of our behind-the-scenes tidbits, reunions, and oral histories — and follow #LoveEWstyle on Twitter and Instagram.

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