Based on this comment: What are the minimal limits of Jeannie's power in I Dream of Jeannie?

Jeannie is always trying to get Major Nelson to marry her. As I remember, he plays some lip-service to the idea but I don't remember this happening. (granted, I probably never saw the ending of the series)

Are there are allusions or subtle suggestions through the show that would suggest that Major Nelson is gay?

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    There is also a film based on the series, which carries on the story IIRC. I remember from that they did get married in the end? I don't remember any gay overtones, not sure where you got the idea from. Masters being reluctant to marry their slaves isn't exactly evidence they aren't attracted to their slave. – Nick Nov 1 '12 at 18:01
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    A similar question to this with a similar amount of evidence was just rapidly closed, so I opened a meta question about questions like these. – user366 Nov 1 '12 at 22:53
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    Typical. A man rejects a woman therefore he must be gay. I wish people would stop jumping to conclusions. – chharvey Nov 3 '12 at 14:26
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    @TestSubject528491 No, a man rejects a stunningly beautiful woman and made me wonder if there was other evidence that he may have been meant to portray homosexuality at the time. Which the answers bear out to be untrue. I jumped to no conclusions, I jumped to a question. If you still think I'm a homophobe, ask the many valued gay members of our community in chat what they think. :) – DampeS8N Nov 4 '12 at 21:58
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    If they get married, the show ends. Glad I could be of service. – MrBoJangles Oct 8 '13 at 22:13

In the first episode of the I Dream of Jeannie, Major Nelson has a fiancée, Melissa. She is the daughter of General Stone, Nelson's commanding officer. As a gay man in the 1960's this could be considered useful camouflage, but as an astronaut routinely being sent on dangerous missions, Nelson didn't need the camouflage or the entanglements that came with it. He certainly didn't need his CO's daughter complaining to her father that he was indifferent to her or couldn't perform in the sack. So Major Nelson being affianced to his commanding officer's daughter ultimately does not seem indicative of homosexuality.

Nelson's amazing restraint in not taking advantage of a willing slave woman despite years of provocation must be attributed to the sensibilities of the 1960's TV audience, I think. I'm amazed that the premise of the show made it past the television censors of the day. Nelson and Jeannie's relationship had to remain chaste else the carefully constructed innocent hilarity of the situation would immediately collapse into depravity.

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    Jeannie was allowed to co-habitate with Major Nelson strictly on the basis that she actually slept in her bottle instead of in the house. – Monty129 Nov 1 '12 at 19:25
  • Excellent analysis. – Kevin Howell Nov 1 '12 at 19:30
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    @Monty129 And her belly button was never revealed. – Agent_9191 Nov 2 '12 at 1:34
  • @Monty129 Do you have a source for this claim? – DCOPTimDowd Aug 20 '18 at 18:38
  • @Agent_9191 - Actually, it was occasionally visible until the 3rd season (somewhere in there), when it was mentioned to censors it was visible when the costume shifted. After that it was more strictly enforced. – JohnP Aug 20 '18 at 20:58

No, as far as we (the viewer) can tell, Major Nelson is not depicted as gay. I think his reluctance to marry Jeannie (even after he split from his first fiancée) stems from the fact that he's a stand up guy who doesn't want to take advantage of her. He does eventually fall for Jeannie, and they were married in the season five episode "The Wedding".

Major Nelson and Jeannie finally get married, with Major Healey as best man — but not without problems: Jeannie's image can't be photographed so Jeannie substitutes a mechanical mannequin for herself.

The series ended in 1970, but there were two TV movies, one in 1985 and one in 1991, so apparently the marriage lasted for quite some time. The first TV movie reveals that Tony and Jeannie have a teenage son.


While well-enough researched and presented, for the most part, these comments miss the point. It's not 'literal' gayness we're talking about here. The character Hagman portrays in 'Jeannie' is desperate not to be 'outed', and let's face it - that's pretty gay. Almost every episode revolves around anxiety that his secret will be revealed. That secret is Jeannie's presence in his life, not being gay, but she can be seen as a stand-in. Today most of us in the gay community see the closet receding rapidly in our rear view mirrors, and good riddance. But during the time this show was originally conceived and aired, people's lives could be ruined if the truth about their sexuality came out. The situations the show's characters get into are over the top and implausible, but the fundamental similarity remains that gay men sometimes went to absurd lengths to deflect suspicion and hide evidence - and inconvenient people - that could jeopardize their assumption of a straight identity.

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    +1 for an interesting take on the question that I had not considered. I'd assumed Nelson was hiding Jeannie because keeping her was immoral, and of course there's the matter of him freeing a near omnipotent being to wreak havoc on the world if she chooses. – Kyle Jones Jan 4 '13 at 4:37
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    @KyleJones about Jeannie wreaking havoc... youtube.com/watch?v=stqslRR-YM0 – steveha Feb 16 '14 at 9:49
  • "...and let's face it..." I read this as Reggie Watts. – MrBoJangles Aug 20 '18 at 20:58

The show is an allegory of what it was like to be gay in the 60s, particularly if you were in the military. In an allegory everything is symbolic. So don't take Jeannie literally. She doesn't even exist. She is just a symbol of Tony and Roger's homosexuality. They need to hide Jeannie from the base psychologist so they can continue being Air Force officers and also astronauts. Their goal is to eventually walk on the moon. This will never happen if Dr. Bellows discovers that they have a genie. The same thing would happen if Dr. Bellows discovered that they were gay. They would be out of the military, and their dream of walking on the moon would be over. Just look at the fear the two men suffer anytime Dr.. Bellows is close to discovering Jeannie's existence. This is the same fear any gay man in the military would have if the base psychologist was close to realizing that they were gay. One of the first things that Jeannie ever says to Tony when she's in his house in Cocoa Beach is, "What you need is a beard." The expression "a beard" can mean the woman a gay man dates so no one will suspect that he is gay.

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    I think you might be overthinking it. Or maybe not. American Network TV is a very murky business. – Valorum Aug 19 '18 at 13:37
  • @Valorum - Not sure why this is getting downvoted, when JohnnyO's answer says essentially the same thing. – JohnP Aug 20 '18 at 21:00
  • @JohnP - It seems very speculative. So does his, but at least his had novelty when he posted it :-) – Valorum Aug 20 '18 at 21:21
  • It could be a metaphor for being gay, but maybe not. There's a ton of secrets that could have ruined someone's career at that point in time: being gay, cross-dressing, open adultery (the more obvious metaphor), being a Communist, etc. Going back perhaps a bit further, having non-white (particularly African) ancestry and concealing it could also put someone at risk of ruin. And, of course, a fictional show doesn't have to limit itself to being metaphorical at all. – Adamant Aug 20 '18 at 22:04
  • Anyway, the whole premise of the question is a bit off: the implicit assumption, with many such questions, is usually that a heterosexual man should see any good-looking woman as a sex object and by eager to have sex with her no matter what ("a man rejects a stunningly beautiful woman"), and sometimes there is even a slight side implication that there's something wrong with them if they don't (and thus with being gay). – Adamant Aug 20 '18 at 22:09

I've been watching this show on itunes and came to a much different conclusion, though I think I may have liked it if the Tony stood for a gay character. Many of the episodes revolve around Jeannie's jealousy of the other women Tony dates. Rather than showing lots of restraint, I find that Tony doesn't have that much, though he does follow a strict kind of an honor code. He and Roger oggle every young woman that walks past them, and although I understand that Jeannie inserted herself into his life against his wishes, they are often seen making out and dating - he is apparently attracted to her and cares for her. Yet he coldly continues to remind her that she may not keep him from dating other women, and ironically seems OK with attempting to keep her in her bottle for days or weeks at a time. Yeah, I get it that it's coming from the Master/Jeannie situation comedy, to paint her as the impulsive trouble maker to his straight-laced career aspirations, but I bring it up to conclude that yes, the "secret" of having a Jeannie in a bottle is symbolic, but it is symbolic of the secret of living with a woman he's not married to, which was not as socially acceptable then. If I understand correctly they get married in the last season, which most likely released the most significant tension and lead to the end of the show.

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