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Film and TV

Dolly Parton’s new Netflix series is giving the gays everything they want with an emotional same-sex love story

Reiss Smith November 25, 2019
A gay couple kissing, Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton's Heartstrings tells the story of a young gay couple. (Netflix)

Dolly Parton’s new Netflix series Heartstrings is giving us all the feelings.

The country music legend and gay icon is the driving force between Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, an anthology series which retells “the stories, memories and inspirations behind some of her most beloved songs”.

One episode, ‘Two Doors Down’, recasts the heartbreak of one of Parton’s defining anthems as a gay love story.

Broadway star Andy Mientus plays Tyler, a closeted man in love with his mother’s assistant Cole (GBF’s Michael J Willett).

As Tyler attends his sister’s wedding, a number of secrets begin to come out, leading to a painful clash with his mother (Oscar-winner Melissa Leo).

Parton reveals in the episode how she was inspired to write the song in 1977 by her on-the-road family, which included “all kinds of people”.

“Different colours, gay, lesbian, transgender and all different faiths,” she explains.

“It didn’t matter, as long as we got along.

“What it all comes down to is love is love, in road families and real families.

“Life might not always be a party, but you’re better off if you can just enjoy yourself and accept and love the people around you.”

The episode went down a storm on LGBT+ Twitter, which had many, many emotions.

Of course, this being real life and not a Dolly Parton-fuelled fever dream, certain individuals were outraged by the show’s acknowledgement that LGBT+ people exist.

A number of people walked out of a screening in Dollywood, which the episode’s screenwriter Mark B Perry acknowledged he wasn’t surprised at.

“Well, I grew up in the South, so I call myself an expat Southerner, and I felt that I had a chance to write fairly and authentically about some of the attitudes in the South about being gay,” he told NewNowNext.

“So I was not surprised when I heard that some people got up and walked out. But it did make me a little sad [because] there’s nothing offensive in my episode, as far as I’m concerned.

“You know, it’s too bad that we’re still at a point in time where there are people who can be offended enough by that, that they would deprive themselves of what ultimately is a joyous experience.”

Perry said that “Dolly herself wanted to do an LGBTQ-inclusive episode based on the fact that she has such a universal appeal.”

The singer is known for being a staunch LGBT+ ally, not just because she recently revealed that she has an unreleased dance song called ‘Just A Wee Bit Gay’. 

More: Dolly Parton, Heartstrings, netflix

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