Debbie NovotnyDrag queens look up to her. Twinks confide in her. Debbie Novtony is the most popular fag hag on Liberty Avenue, and yet her son often tries to avoid being seen with her. It's understandable considering the likelihood of his stepping out of the back room at Babylon some and and running right into her.
"Debbie is a character everyone loves," Daniel Lipman says proudly. "She doesn't have any boundaries, but to be Debbie's son must be difficult at times. She had Michael when she was very young and they're more like pals. Even in the pilot she's at Woody's having a drink and she's always intruding upon him. Some might even say she's a fag hag, but so what. I mean, every good gay community needs a fag hag."
"I think Debbie is a very complicated character," Ron Cowen adds. "Interestingly enough, a lot of gay men love Debbie. I think that's because a lot of gay men love their own mothers and have a very deep bond with them. When I talk to certain gay men, they say 'Oh, my mom's my best friend'. I'm not saying that straight men don't have that, too, but I think on the whole, gay men have a more complex relationship with their mothers."
Debbie is not just Michael's mother. She's also the matriarch of this Liberty Avenue family. Aside from taking Justin in, it's clear that on many occasions she was more of a mom to Brian than his own mother ever tried to be. She also has wonderfully touching moments with each of her other children - Ted, Emmett, Melanie, and Lindsay. And they give back to her as well (although none more intimately than Emmett with his oral tutorial).
As the mother, she is also often the voice of reason - or for what passes as reason in Debbie's mind. The things that come out of her mouth are often surprising, but always true. "She's very lovable and she's honest," Dan says. "I think that is a very redeeming quality in any character and any person. People respect honesty. And I think that's why they respect Debbie."
She has a close bond with her bother, but it's clear that Debbie often mothers him as well. The relationship between Debbie and Vic runs the emotional spectrums from fun banter to heartbreaking drama. It also goes to show what a fighter Debbie can be and how far she will go to protect a loved one. For all the bravado and the shocking behaviour, Debbie can also be insecure and gentle. She carried a lie for decades so that her son wouldn't know the complicated truth about his father. Her uncharacteristic response to finding out Michael was dating an HIV-positive man revealed that her maternal instincts took control in spite of any politically correct leanings. But it was her attempt at romance that allowed her to drop her guard and allow her real beauty to shine through.