Melanie Rachel Marcus is a main character in the Showtime drama series Queer as Folk. Mel is the domestic partner of Lindsay Peterson. Melanie is also the birth mother of JR, a daughter by way of artificial insemination from mutual friend Michael Novotny, and the adoptive mother of Gus, Lindsay's natural son by way of artificial insemination from Lindsay's longtime friend Brian Kinney.
Melanie is an attorney with a successful law firm, and from her numerous references to "the other partners" she is taken to be a partner as well. She was raised Jewish and insists that Jewish traditions be observed in her family life, but does not seem to have an active spiritual life and may consider herself Jewish in a strictly cultural sense. At the beginning of the series, she and Lindsey have been together for five years. Throughout the relationship Brian Kinney has been a source of stress and discord for the couple, but Melanie allows him to remain an active presence in their lives because of his longtime friendship with Lindsay. Melanie's negative feelings about Brian are only exacerbated as he repeatedly injects himself into decisions about Gus' upbringing and reneges on his promise to sign his parental rights over to Melanie.
She is an attractive, tomboyish and identifies as a lesbian.
While she can be blunt, sarcastic, argumentative, snarky, and harsh when it comes to others at times, deep down, she is compassionate, passionate, and very caring. She is a very ambitious and career-driven, strong-willed especially when it comes to LGBT rights. As the seasons progress, she mellows.
In the first season, examples of her masculinity are her Type A personality, snarky remarks (less as seasons progress), constant struggles of ego with Brian; including being quite insensitive to how he felt signing the parental rights, uncompromising and very goal orientated and material driven. In the last of the first season, she yields a bit more friendship with Brian due to his understanding when she mistakenly has an affair on Lindsey; they bonded on a masculine level in that instance.
In the second season, she yields a bit more friendship with Brian concerning their wedding and marriage. She comes to Brian for crying for help preparing the wedding. Once succeeded , she wanting to give him a hug, but being guarded, she shakes his hand with both of hers.
In the third season, she becomes more vulnerable. She is stood up to by Lindsey whom doesn’t want to be “barefoot and pregnant”. Debbie helps her understand that she is strong as any other woman in child baring. She insist on the insemination being very intimate as a woman wants (possibly what Lindsey insisted approximately four years prior for insemination for Gus). Once pregnant, she lightens her workload, found helping with cooking and sharing even more house chores with Lindsey, but struggles in control when her cases get taken over by her partner in the firm and she feels the dismay on multiple levels of discrimination of not just being a lesbian, but a woman in general.
In the fourth season, she is forced to become even more vulnerable while being pregnant. She stays home more often (possibly even taken time off work completely baring and caring for JR until she was 6 months old.) However, she struggles letting control go (as this contributes the fights with Michael of custody of JR in later seasons) and fights with Lindsey concerning the affair and the kids.
In the final season, she is very vulnerable having had JR and Lindsey’s affair. She is extremely sensitive when Lindsay is firm about their agreement to separate. She realizes she can’t do everything on her own which is shown where she lets Michael see JR (more to give her time to rest) and needs Lindsay to move back after the separation. With her loved ones, she has learned to release control.
She finally quotes Brian concerning the bombing and after Dusty’s funeral, upset and afraid (as Lindsey would in the past), while Lindsey at that time was composed and realistic in her stance. Last scenes, she catches Brian and Lindsey kissing before leaving for Toronto, but unlike before, she is understanding and even more compassionate about Lindsey female perspective towards Brian as she has finally become more feminine for herself, and she has now bonded with Brian on several levels for herself.
In the end, she knows how to be fierce advocate for human rights, but she after softening, become more compromising, even having a child herself and understanding more of the females roles, she has opened her heart, be vulnerable, and feel more empathy to her loved ones. She is a better woman than even the balanced, legendary Leda that helped her become a foundation she was when Melanie first debuted on the show.
Throughout the Series
Lindsay and Melanie discuss and have Brian come over to sign insurance papers for Gus in case something should happen to him. They have a bris, unbeknown to Brian, which is a Jewish tradition for sons of Jewish households. Brian and some of the gang prevent this from happening to which Melanie gets angry, howvever, he signs the insurance forms for Gus.
Despite being angry about the bris and Lindsay seemingly not supporting her on account of Brian, Melanie crunches her finances and permits Lindsay take the year following Gus' birth on leave so that she can stay home, raise Gus, and take care of their home. The strain of being the family's sole breadwinner causes her to feel some resentment towards Lindsay.
Gus gets sick in the 9th episode of the first season, and Lindsey and Melanie take him to the hospital. At the hospital, they are told only the biological mother can tend to Gus. Seeing as Lindsey forgot his blanket, Melanie attempts to let the nurse know which the nurse gave her a rude, abrupt answer greatly offending Melanie. Melanie snaps back and calls her a cunt as Brian walks in to defend her. Melanie, emotional herself, calms Brian long enough to give Brian Gus's blanket and tells him to go back and give it to them since he is the biological father.
After the disaster at the hospital, Melanie and Lindsay talk and decide that the have to talk to Brian to avoid an incident like that again.
Lindsay and Melanie ask Brian if he can sign his right over. He initially agrees, but on the day he is about to sign, Gus is crying for no apparent reason and this sways Brian mind to not sign over his rights greatly disappointing Melanie and Lindsay. Lindsey and Melanie fall out again after 6 years of marriage; mostly due to Brian not signing over his parental rights.
Lindsey finally has enough and she finally speaks out instead of being the WASP and smiling lesbian in the middle saying Melanie expects too much leaving Melanie surprised and emotional that she came off so strong and unexpected.
During this period of instability in the relationship, Melanie has a one-night stand with a woman she meets at a friend's baby shower. After disclosing the affair to Lindsay, she moves in with her cousin Rita for several months. Lindsey moves Guillaume, an acquaintance gay man from France, into the house seeing the she needs help financially and he needs his green card to be permanent in the United States. All her friends confront her of their disapproval of him, especially Melanie and Brian.
The couple reconciles when, on the condition that they get back together and be loving parents to his son, Brian agrees to sign his parental rights over to Melanie.
She goes to her sister's third wedding having invited Emmett as her beard, and Ted as Melanie's so they don't "draw attention to themselves". After her certain remarks her sister made in confidence, Lindsey does the toast and decided to draw attention and ask Melanie if she would marry her. Despite Melanie not answering, Lindsey was in triumph that she finally was brave enough to do it in front of the entire family.
After a rebuff by Melanie, Melanie asks for her hand in marriage and after seeming dismissing the idea, Lindsey jumps overjoy in her arms and they embrace each other. When Lindsay and Melanie are talking about the intended wedding they want in Melanie's office, Leda storms in greeting Melanie and gains Lindsey's acquaintance and apprehensions.
Later, at the house, Leda discovers that Mel has covered her bike up in the garage. She attempts to persuade her to go for a ride, but she declines immediately upon Lindsay entering the room. Leda automatically senses some tension and accepts her answer. Leda and Lindsay later have a subtle confrontation each other about the motorcycle ending with Leda inclusive of her in possibly riding on a motorcycle in pride which makes her think. Lindsay, suited in biker attire, gives the baby to Brian to watch and gets on the motorcycle with Melanie and ride with her at pride.
Leda helps Melanie and Lindsay as she attempts to host a party in hopes her parents will show up and support her in her wedding. Melanie goes to Lindsay's parents house to see the excuse made by her father that his back was strained was a lie as he just came back from playing tennis. Melanie confronts them, and this ultimately drives them to reluctantly come to the party briefly.
Lindsay and Melanie were charmed by George on their first meeting and through him and Emmett, they had a blissful wedding day with all their friends. After many obstacles, including Melanie's old love interest, coming into town, they got married within George's event room with all their friend's contributions.
After Melanie and Lindsay get married, after much struggle and apprehension from Lindsay, they hire her to design her attic as an art studio. Lindsay confronts her with her initial apprehension, but thanks her as she assures her that Melanie loves her and what they had was in the past.
Melanie and Lindsay confide in her about their "lesbian bed death". At first, Leda gives them a few suggestions which didn't work out, but when Lindsay and Leda bond through a massage one night, it make Melanie jealous which led to the couple arguing in earshot of Leda. Leda claims to have overhear and as she attempts to bid her farewell, she becomes amorous with both Lindsay and Melanie.
Leda continued to show up in their bedroom unannounced which began to annoy Melanie and Lindsay as they find excuses to evade her. Once Leda finishes the attic, they remind her of the agreement which in Leda doing the handiwork for them for free felt greatly offended and hurt.
Melanie stops her before she leaves and they have a few ugly words before talking rationally. Leda admits she couldn't help, but want to become apart of their union as she was becoming lonely. Melanie suggests to her finding a partner for herself wouldn't be such a bad idea. Leda smiles and says she just might do that this time. They embrace each other goodbye and she tells her to give Lindsay a sloppy kiss for her. Before she drives off, Melanie asks her to write them when she lands on her feet because they will be concern for her well being.
In Season three, Melanie admits that she is unable to have children due to her endometriosis. After having an operation to reverse her condition, she asks Michael to be the donor father. Michael impressed Melanie and Lindsay on handling Brian's nephew, John Kinney, and later Gus at their place, and they come to him with surprising news that they want him to father their next child. Michael is hurt when Melanie, remembering her struggles with Brian, creates a contract absolving Michael of his parental rights. Melanie eventually relents and lets Michael share parental rights.
After a few attempts, Michael arrives and gives his semen sample to Lindsay at their front door, Lindsay inseminates her within their bedroom, and Mel becomes pregnant with approximately two weeks on the first try.
Michael follows Melanie around knowing she is pregnant, and she find it annoying. he complains wondering why she didn't have the bagger take the groceries to the car for her. Melanie insist that he stop following her around, and Lindsay, seeing how adamant she was insists that he agrees. Michael makes a false agreement just to clear the air, and continues to follow her until she actually needs his help and he takes her to the hospital. After this, Michael and Lindsay struggle to keep her from working so hard while she is pregnant. She eventually starts to show.
She has issues of superstition when Lindsay buys her a gift before her first trimester is over. Melanie tells her story of a younger brother or sister she might've had if her parents didn't buy the gifts prior to the baby's birth. She goes on to explain it might have been a slight on God as to why her mother miscarried. Despite Melanie feeling this way, she holds the gift tightly. Melanie finishes her first trimester and they dance in the street in victory of Jim Stockwell being defeated in the votes.
She makes a remark on a howling noise that woke her and Melanie up in the middle of the night knowing he brought someone to their house. Before Emmett could apologize, she says she hopes he does it again just not here. This is where she suggest that getting his own place wouldn't be so bad.
Seeing Melanie distraught about her case being taken over, she brings Brian to talk to her and give her the truth based on the circumstances. Lindsay and Melanie have a small quarrel where she feels Lindsay is betraying her again, but Lindsay brings up valid points considering if Gus was being taken away from them, they do what it takes even if it meant firing a friend for their cause, but letting the friend know it wasn't personal.
She later confides in Melanie about Sam, and her appearance. Melanie reminds of what her and Brian told her when she was getting her case taken away. She has to learn to play the game as the men will not play her game. When he invites himself to her place to try her cooking, He meets Melanie. They all talk about Lindsay being a talented artist to her modesty. They both insist she show her work. Later on, Melanie stops by as she is drawing a portrait of him in nude and is amazed at what Lindsay managed to get him to do, and is glad that she has found inspiration again.
After the affair with Sam, Lindsay is embodied with guilt returning home, showers and subtly avoids conversation with Melanie out of shame. Sam, determined to win her over stops by to say goodbye, and they talk outside and he begs her to come with him, but she tells him that this is where she belongs and they could never be a couple. Having witnessed how emotionally driven the motions where from the inside, Melanie is devastated and despite Lindsay saying she still choses her over him, Melanie says out of anger and hurt that she isn't sure if she still choses her and walks away.
Lindsay and Melanie are struggling to get along once more, and Melanie is further in her pregnancy and more moody. Lindsay and Melanie argue briefly about Melanie being to bossy as she is not supposed to leave bedside for the sake of her and the baby's health. Lindsay goes to see Brian and vent about Melanie. Melanie goes to see them off for the Liberty Ride in 2004 and when she gets home, Lindsay is worried, upset and angry. Lindsay shows resolved in her stress in trying to make it up to Melanie and says she will only now stay until the baby is born. Despite staying resolved as well, Melanie's eyes water up as she attempts to hide how deeply hurt she really is about Lindsay new founded resolve.
Despite them struggling in their relationship, they still bond when Melanie is about to go into labor. Melanie ultimately doesn't want to have the baby alone and begs Lindsay to stay with her which she does. in the end, Lindsay reminds them of the agreement and the two remain cordial, yet holding in their feelings as Lindsay takes her things and leaves the hospital.
Michael throws them a surprise party in attempt to celebrate their tenth anniversary, despite them saying they were tired and subtly expressing they didn't want to celebrate. Melanie calls Lindsay over in panic and when she comes over with Gus, Lindsay is frustrated and forthright which angers Melanie about them no longer being together. Melanie later expresses to Lindsay that telling them makes it more official, saddening her.
For a brief time Lindsay's parents offer to have she and Gus move in with them. Her mother even tries to set her up with a man. However Lindsay reminds her mother that she is a lesbian and always will be. Nothing will ever change that. Lindsay goes back and talks to Melanie. Melanie, slowly starting to forgive her, moves her back into the house and they agree on an in-house separation.
At the end of the series and after a bomb explosion targeting a gay and lesbian convention takes the life of a fellow lesbian friend Dusty, Lindsay and Melanie decide to reconcile. Lindsay and Melanie's last appearance on the show reveals that they have decided to move to Toronto, Canada to avoid further government and personal persecution for being a homosexual couple.
Melanie's Case Load
Melanie's case load has included nearly all of her friends while some needing her assistance as an attorney more than once.
- Ted's Attorney - During Season One, she informed Brian at his office that he was to pull the plug for Ted in case something should happen in regards to his health. Ted survived and Brian didn't have to be the one to pull the plug.
- Defense Attorney for Brian - During Season One, she came to Brian's defense when Kip wanted to sue Brian for sexual harassment. Due to Justin's interference, the case was dropped which was a default win for Melanie as his defense.
- Defense Attorney for Vic - She aided Vic when he was wrongfully accuse of indecent exposure in the bathroom. She presented evidence of consistent false reports from police officer accusing him of the crime, and ultimately won the case.
- Defense for Emmett's Inheritance - Melanie helps Emmett in his case against George's family for his inheritance. Melanie settled the case, but refused to accept the money if he had to deny loving George. Melanie understood how Emmett felt, however, disappointed in him for not taking the settlement of $1 Million dollars.
- Defense for Ted's Pornsite Case - Melanie was Ted's attorney once more for his Pornsite during season two. She wasn't able to get him completely cleared as he had a fine and if he did anything remotely related to porn, they charge him with a felony and prison time.
- Defense for Hunter's Custody Hearing - She aided Michael and Ben against Hunter's mother for custody. She came in a sister's outfit and was hired by Hunter for one dollar. She presented a good case, but initially lost, but due to how his mother presented herself at court, she ultimately won the case granting custody to Michael and Ben.
Lindsay and Melanie act through most of the series as a token lesbian couple. They are longtime friends and domestic partners. While Melanie becomes more vulnerable as a woman, Lindsay, being her other half becomes more firm with more masculine energy. They balance each other completely at the end of the season making 10 years of their union.
They share a close friendship (possibly bonded due to their Type A personalities). They are so close that often times people mistake them for a clean-cut heterosexual couple. They barter between each other's professions often as he does her (and Lindsay's) financial porfolio while he relies on her legal counsel and defense. In the first season, she helps Ted employ Blake as a legal assistant despite him ending up getting fired.
They are good friends as well as the biological parents for Jenny Rebecca Novotny-Marcus. They grow a closer bond when they become parents together.
Melanie and Michael have great fall out about their daughter, but when both parties realize its about their daughter and not them, they reconcile their differences. Melanie lets her guard down mostly due to exhaustion and need the help to take care of their daughter as she is seen at Michael's housewarming. Michael eventually agrees to Melanie caring primarily for her until she get older towards the last episodes.
Brian and Melanie have much tension from the start of the series. Brian would insult and humiliate her to attempt to rid of her, but as the series unfolds, their relationship inproves...
At first, Melanie loathes Brian, but tolerates him around solely because of his connections of Lindsey. Brian fights with her mainly when it concerns Gus as he denied signing the parental rights at first. When Melanie and Lindsey seperate the first time, Brian tells her not to beat herself up when she cheat on Lindsey, gives up parental rights for her, and gets them married, they become more "frienemies". When Brian has helped them, Melanie can be seen surprised and where she wants to hug him, knowing the tensions, she will grasp his hands with both of hers.
In the middle seasons, she is friendlier towards him, will even inquire about his trips at times, and even take his constructive criticism when Lindsey told him about her case being taken over by "one of the boys".
Towards the end of the season, they've realize how much they share in common and have a standard friendship, and they have embraced each other as she no longer minds and is actually happy seeing Brian bond with Gus. Their natural tension prior, strong wills, and having so much in common keeps a rivalry alive within the friendship, but it's healthier. They are "frienemies" to some degree, but they have a solid friendship at the end of the series.
Melanie's Ex girlfriend.
While it is unknown why they broke up, It is hinted, that Leda was once what Melanie was to Lindsey; She was her first Lesbian relationship and helped Melanie develop into the foundation she was before Law School and meeting Lindsey.
She bonds with Melanie on several occasions. Melanie helps her when Vic is in trouble with the Law. Debbie encourages her in her aspirations to become a mother, helps her when she becomes pregnant and also has her say in regards to her not only being a mother, but grandmother of her child. It is very likely Debbie considers Melanie as somewhat of an illegitimate daughter in law as she is mother of her son's child.
They are at odds at first because of him liking the name "Gus" and disagreeing that Brian should give his parental rights away to her, however, besides these facts, she adores Justin and with Lindsey takes care of him from time to time. She is very quick to defend him in spite of Brian.
Despite being so different, they have a fun loving friendship. They playfully tease each other, and have great laughs. Melanie also defends him in his lawsuit when George's family tries to take his inheritance.
The biggest fall out they've had was when Emmett supported Ted in telling the truth about Melanie and Lindsay's finances which an angry Melanie lashed out on Emmett calling him a "silly faggot" which he was greatly offended and retaliated in calling her a "cunt" unforgivingly. They later make up when Ted kicks him out and has nowhere to go. Melanie then apologizes, tells him she admires how he stood up for his partner, and lets him stay with them. They keep a great friendship as the series progressed.
They are friends. She aided Vic when he was wrongfully accuse of indecent exposure in the bathroom. She presented evidence of consistent false reports from police officer accusing him of the crime, and ultimately won the case.
- She is portrayed by Michelle Clunie.
- She is Jewish.
- She is the main lesbian of the series. She is neither "lipstick" or "butch", but she is a Chapstick Lesbian predominately, but she is a varied combination of lesbian types. She even resembles a bit of a Butch lesbian in later series.
- She embodies more masculine traits mainly being more of a "provider" and being more ambitious and career motivated.