[Let me preface this update by saying that I know no one else but me is probably interested in this at all]
I've been a fan of the North American QAF since my friend Thomas introduced me to it. I freely admit that I didn't even know of the show's existence before he showed me the first episode. Like most people I know, though, from about 2 minutes in, I was hooked. Though seasons 3 through 5 fell off for me, I still think of the show as a real high point.*
Recently, I've finally had a chance to watch the Russel T. Davies' UK series that came first. I was somewhat unprepared for how closely the North American series mirrored the original in its first season. The storylines were practically the same.
However, the main thing I'm finding myself confused about is this: Stuart, played by Aidan Gillen (pictured here):
Here's what confuses me: he's not hot. That sounds incredibly shallow, but consider for a moment that the Stuart character is the character that all the boys want. He's the character that is supposed to be so virile, so sexually potent, that he runs the town. I admit I'm not very well versed on how masculinity works in the UK, but consider for a moment the character Stuart's American counterpart, Brian played by Gale Harold (pictured here):
Pardon me for going below the belt here, but HOT. Hotness. When the American series presents this guy as ultra-masculine and cool and sexy, I buy it. Stuart spends most of his time whining (should I say whinging, given the venue?), and when he dances it's not hot. Not at all. Nor can he kiss very well. Yet when Brian dances or kisses I find it hot. Here, let me show you what I mean (both clips somewhat NSFW):
Brian dancing (after a moment of dialogue)
See what I mean?
So, overall, I have to say that while I respect that UK QAF came first, I don't get how I'm supposed to fall for Stuart in the same way that I fall for Brian. It might take more views, the same way it did for Brian, but somehow I doubt it. There's no smolder in the performance, really. I understand the characters are not supposed to be the same person, but they hold the same position in their respective cities/communities and I guess I just understand in one case, and not at all in the other.
* = I will also admit freely that for a while, though a big fan, the Brian Kinney character bugged me. Now that I'm older, though, and have watched the show a few more times, I get it. I get that non-assimilationist orientation. I get it.