'GCB' introduces concept of 'a white marriage'

Monday, 12 March 2012 01:00 AM Written by 

blake_on_GCBOn his last prime-time series, Fox's short-lived "Lone Star," Pleasant Hills native Mark Deklin scowled his way through playing the show's nominal villain. On his new show, ABC's "GCB" (10 p.m. Sunday, WTAE), the actor gets to smile. A lot.

In last night's episode Deklin's Blake even managed to smile through some personal sadness as the show's writers revelaed the extent of his wife's knowledge about his sexual orientation. The premiere episode of "GCB" clued viewers in that Blake is gay and last night's episode revealed Blake's wife, Cricket (Miriam Shor), signed on to the marriage with the understanding that he'd be having sex with men on the side. The couple even share opposite sides of an extra-wide bed.

"One of the things people discover about Blake is despite the fact he has his own secrets and hypocrisies, his heart is good," said Deklin, a 1986 graduate of Thomas Jefferson, in a phone interview last month. "His secrets are human flaws but there's no malice there. He's going to turn out to be one of the most solid and trustworthy people in that entire community and I think, unless I'm giving myself too much credit, the audience will fall in love with Blake a little bit and even the sort of unconventional nature of Blake's marriage to Cricket. As the series unfolds, we really explore that marriage and weirdly enough it's a great and really functional marriage. These two people adore one another and they're a great little team. It's a little unconventional and some people might have a difficult time swallowing it but it will be interesting to see what the reaction is."

This coming Sunday's episode, "Love is Patient," was written by Aaron Harberts and Franklin Park native Gretchen Berg, and includes a church relationship seminar that Blake and Cricket attend (pictured above).

Read more after the jump. ...

deklin_blogDeklin said when he signed on to appear in "GCB" he wasn't sure how to approach Blake and his relationship with Cricket.

"I have 100 or so gay friends and they're all out. I don't know anyone in the closet," he said. So he consulted executive producer Robert Harling. "Bobby said there's this peculiar thing in the South called a 'white marriage,' it's an open secret, almost like the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell. Husbands and wives who grew up together and are from dynastic, wealthy families, and they decide to get married and have 'our little secret' and they won't talk about it. Bobby said he was always fascinated by that dynamic. I was very naive. I thoughht it was something nobody did anymore and I've since learned it's more common than we think."

Deklin (pictured above, photo by Angelo Kritikos) said he and co-star Miriam Shor have bonded off-camera as well -- Shor has a child who is two weeks younger than Deklin's daughter -- and he appreciates the opportunity to play against type.

"I found I usually make a living in a suit with a square jaw and I can do tech jargon for you. That's my bread and butter and it paid the bills," Deklin said. "But as an actor, you're always looking for something more well-rounded and dimensional and that's why I'm loving this character."

Deklin has already filmed the 10-episode first season of "GCB" but he acknowleged  a fleeting moment of hesitation about playing a gay character.

"Immediately I didn't in the sense that here's this guy who has a secret, who has layers, which you're always looking for as an actor. That interested me from the beginning. And I love my gay community so that was not an issue for me," Deklin said. "But I did have a moment where I asked myself if this is the best career move for me. I think it was a fair question to ask but at the same time, I felt almost ashamed of myself for even asking the question. I thought, that's just ridiculous. I'm taking this role. That's the stupidest thing. It should be a non-issue and it's sad to me that there are gay actors in Hollywood who are afraid to be openly gay because they're afraid it will hurt their careers because it doesn't need to be like that. I've played despicable characters -- Nazis and murderers -- and you never stop to go, 'Oh no, what if people really think I'm a murderer and I never work again and it ruins my career?' It really should be a non-issue. I embrace it and was very glad to play Blake. I'm telling all my friends I should have played a gay cowboy years ago. It's turned out to be one of my favorite roles."

Vote to retain or dismiss "GCB" in the Post-Gazette's annual Keep or Cancel? poll through April 22.

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