Married now for seven years, writer/director Don Roos and actor Dan Bucatinsky are humbled to be honored with Pacific Pride’s first-ever Advocacy Award, which they will receive this Saturday, but they aren’t exactly sure why they’re getting it. “We’ve never done any work up here in Santa Barbara, though we are very aware of Pacific Pride and all the good it has done,” said Bucatinsky, who won an Emmy as James Novak in Scandal. “But we’ve also done a lot of advocacy work in Los Angeles. This is a wonderful surprise.”
They do have serious Santa Barbara ties, though, splitting their time between here and Los Angeles. “We’ve been coming to Santa Barbara almost as long as we’ve been together,” said Bucatinsky, who was set up on a date 23 years ago with Roos, best known for his work on The Opposite of Sex. “Don brought me to the San Ysidro Ranch on, like, our third date,” said Bucatinsky, “and that weekend, we went out looking for a place here to live.” Added Roos, “It took us two years, but we did it.”
They married officially in the brief, tricky window of availability in 2008, just before Proposition 8’s short-lived same-sex ban kicked in, mainly thinking of their kids. “We wanted them to have the most legal protection possible,” said Roos.
They’ve managed to stay together despite the scrutiny of being a New Diverse American Family as well as the stress of Hollywood, a world they’ve helped each other navigate. “Don was further on in his career when we met, but as time went on, it just grew into a partnership,” said Bucatinsky. “We grew separately, and then we were able to collaborate on things like Web Therapy.” Roos wrote the series with Lisa Kudrow, a friend they met working on the great, steamy dark film The Opposite of Sex.
They are also adept at balancing child-rearing and career-chasing, and Bucatinsky even wrote a book about parenting, called Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? Confessions of a Gay Dad. “I wrote it because it was the book that I was looking for to read,” he said.
Pacific Pride says that the honor is going to Roos and Bucatinsky because they have “changed the scope” of LGBTQ representation in films, that they are exemplary role models as out celebrities, and that they have “inspirational families.” All is true, but maybe they’ve earned the honor because they balance a strong approach to gay topics with a desire to make universal work, ultimately relying on expressing the shared human condition. In that sense, the opposite of sex is something like compassion, and the best kind of family value.