The Ambiguously Gay Duo

Robert Smigel & J. J. Sedelmaier (1996)

The Ambiguously Gay Duo is an American animated comedy sketch that debuted on The Dana Carvey Show before moving to its permanent home on Saturday Night Live.

The Ambiguously Gay Duo follows the adventures of Ace and Gary, voiced by Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell, two superheroes whose sexual orientation is a matter of dispute, and a cavalcade of characters preoccupied with the question.

The Ambiguously Gay Duo is a parody of the stereotypical comic book superhero duo done in the style of Saturday morning cartoons like Super Friends. The characters are clad in matching pastel turquoise tights, dark blue domino masks, and bright yellow coordinated gauntlets, boots and shorts. The shorts were intended to satirize suggestions that early Batman comics implied a homosexual relationship between the eponymous title character and his field partner and protégé Robin, a charge most infamously leveled by Fredric Wertham in his 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, the research methodology for which was later discredited.

The typical episode usually begins with the duo’s arch-nemesis Bighead, a criminal mastermind with an abnormally large cranium. Bighead is usually briefing his henchmen on a plot for some grandiose plan for world domination, interrupted by a debate as to whether or not Ace and Gary are gay. Once the crime is in process, the police commissioner calls on the superheroes to save the day, often engaging in similar debates with the chief of police.

Ace and Gary set out to foil the evil plan, but not before calling attention to themselves with outrageous antics and innuendo, and behaving in ways perceived by other characters to be stereotypically homosexual.

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