Queer as Folk
Queer as Folk was groundbreaking in every sense of the word. The acclaimed drama brought gay issues to the forefront of American popular culture and allowed viewers to bring LGBTQ relationships (and sex!) into their homes. But it also practically invented the people pile. What is the people pile, you ask? It’s that very particular promotional photo that throws television cast members onto a bed/couch/bathtub together to form, you guessed it, a pile.
To celebrate EW’s Queer as Folk reunion and honor this most spectacular photograpic tradition, here are eight more perfectly hilarious versions.
This show is another pioneer of the people pile: If the Central Perk gang wasn’t splayed out on a bed during a promotional shoot, then something was wrong. The more practical head-to-toe layout employed here allows us to see every actor clearly and also offers plenty of stretching room. You’ll notice that one lucky cast member (Jennifer Aniston, that’s you!) is clad in nothing but a bedsheet.
This is the technique we’re going to call the Human Centipede, and if you don’t know why, there’s nothing else we can do for you.
How I Met Your Mother
An important lesson: Not every people pile requires a bed. The casual atmosphere of a grimy old couch better suits the HIMYM gang anyway.
Coordinated outfits are a cornerstone of the people pile. But not matching outfits — never matching.
One Tree Hill
While all people piles are inherently sexual, the overt hand placements are, in the best versions, saved for the castmates with the most onscreen chemistry.
Will & Grace
To anyone who thinks people piles died off in the aughts, think again. The best way to revive a sitcom is to revive the photo shoot too. And no outfit is more coordinated than no outfit at all.
Sex and the City
Is any pose more perfectly 1999 than this? You’ll notice that the elements that take it from “sleepover photo shoot” to “professional people pile” are the expertly curated head tilts and hand placements.
The show may have died a tragically early death, but this pile lives on.